ColorMax: Using Strobes and Color For A Different Headshot


All images by Art Dickinson. Used with permission.

“My interest in photography began when I inherited my uncle’s darkroom at age 14.” starts photographer Art Dickinson when telling us about his experimental headshot setup that he calls Colormax. Besides doing photojournalistic work, he photographed concerts by James Brown,Peter Paul and Mary, Jefferson Airplane and The Animals. Clearly, he’s been around the loops.

He began shooting full time in 1995 with a focus mostly on corporate headshots and environmental portraits. But he showed us his ColorMax portraits: which he describes as an offshoot of doing environmental portraits. If a pleasing environment is sort of bland I always gel a light or two in the background to perk things up.

The idea comes in use too as Art found himself in an office building doing a shoot and the only area e was given to shoot had no windows and just white walls. Art states that he uses three lights most of the time. “My main light is usually placed at camera right, an SB-800 in a 2×3 ft. soft box or shoot thru umbrella with a reflector on the opposite side for fill. The two background lights are also SB-800s. I have it on the floor at camera right and use an amber gel to simulate sunlight streaming in. I place a stem of artificial flowers in front of it as a gobo, this introduces a nice streak enhancing the sunlight effect.”

ColorMax came about when Art improvised using a potted plant in the office! “On camera left I place another SB-800 with the color of choice or in some cases a color in my clients color scheme.” He continued to state that it isn’t something for every client.

More samples showing off a different look than the one above are after the jump.

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