Posts

Orlando Videographer

Still Photographer

To me, being a still photographer on a video production means one thing:  Stay the hell out of the way, and do your job.

Being a set photographer is a challenge.  You’ll immediately recognize that you  are not the priority, which is difficult for most photographers to fathom. You need to stay out of the way of the video crew, make little noise, and deliver terrific photos.  Some of the normal angles you’re used to working from are most likely occupied by a videographer and audio guy.

Still photographers really need to speak up on set to get their needs fulfilled.  A set photographer may need a selection of portraits in each filming location.  If you don’t speak up, people will cruise on to the next location or scene.  You’ll want to work quickly.  Have a plan in place  to execute your ideas.

The photo above is a Golf Channel show with Hall of Fame golfer Raymond Floyd at Old Palm Golf Course in Palm Beach.  Two cameras on a tripod (one is also in background) and a camera on a jib.  If I remember correctly, Mr. Floyd was delivering lines into the camera during this particular set up.  You’ll also notice a lighting crew member holding a stand, which already has 10+ sandbags.  What you don’t see is many more crew members, consisting of jib operators, producers, director, makeup, audio, wardrobe, PA’s and grips.

Still photographers don’t usually show up when the crew does.  They spend hours setting up their cameras, scouting, calibrating and lighting.  I often get a call sheet, and my call time is 1 – 2 hours after the crew.  Let me be the first to tell you that you’ll be made fun of when showing up at 7am, when the video crew was there at 5.  I’d share my favorite come backs when this happens, but it’s best for you to learn on your own in this situation.

Here’s another tip:  Don’t mess with lunch!  Talent get cranky if they have to pose or take a few extra minutes right before their lunch break.

As a still photographer, get familiar with the lighting gear and crew.  Big productions bring in flags, scrims and generators to power their lighting.   Going back a paragraph, you’ll want to make friends with the lighting crew.  Once the crew calls “lunch” or “wrapped”, I can’t explain to you how quickly these lights shut down.  It’s milliseconds.   Make sure they know you’ll need these lights on for a few extra minutes.  They take several minutes to fire back up, and I can tell you first hand, that your subject will be GONE when they turn back on.

Which brings me to my last point.  Video crews work LONG days. They’re used to it.  Still photographers are not.  Get used to a 12 – 15 hour work day.  For a 15 hour work day, video crews may only create an hour long show.  There’s a lot of down time.

Feel free to email me any questions about being a set photographer.

follow me on instagram at :  @cycyrdotcom

 

Hank Haney

I first met Hank Haney on the set of his show with Hall of Fame football player Joe Namath.  It was being filmed at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida.

Hank Haney loves golf.

One thing that sticks in my mind from that day was seeing Mr. Haney through the window on the putting green, as the film crew was eating lunch.  You could sense that he was working on his game, always trying to improve his skills and his students.  He eventually joined the crew at the lunch table, but got in a few extra golf swings.

I worked with Mr. Haney again on the set of Golf Channel’s Haney Project in Sarasota, Florida with Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps in February 2013.  Again, I saw an incredible passion for golf.  Haney and Phelps have traveled around the world, working on Phelps’ golf game.  Haney is constantly telling Phelps to swing harder, have a consistent practice stroke and then physically moves Phelps into a proper swing position.  He’s also teaching Phelps about course maintenance and the mental game.

Follow photographer Cy Cyr on Instagram @sportsphotographer

 

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps for Golf Channel

Were you watching the 2012 Olympics too? After Michael Phelps won a record number of gold medals, a promo came on TV about him appearing on the next Hank Haney project on Golf Channel. A light bulb immediately went off.  I wanted to photograph Michael Phelps’ golf efforts.

I could only assume that the footage had not been created yet, given Michael’s Olympic schedule. I texted my Golf Channel contact and offered my photography services for the show. They would need behind the scenes pictures, portraits, show openers, end pages, etc. My text was acknowledged.

I got a text a few weeks later while I was on the 17th green at Sawgrass in Jacksonville. “What are you doing the month of October, and do you have your passport?” I responded that “this sounds interesting, I have my passport, and what’s up?”  She responded, “Phelps is going to Scotland, China and Vegas, more soon.”

I got pretty excited. When you’re a photographer, plans are created all the time. Throughout the years, I’ve learned not to share much information about exciting jobs because they change so much. Maybe they’re delayed or canceled entirely. Some of the common reasons are that the subject has changed plans, the client went with a different story or the budget. A good time to share info is after it actually happens!

I made it to one of those locations to photograph Michael, but didn’t need a passport. The video and stills for his show opener were done at TPC Las Vegas in late October.  The golf course was in great shape, and the views were fantastic.  Michael hit a bunch of golf balls on the range, chatted with the crew, hit some putts and delivered some lines for the show open.  We spent 2 hours with the greatest Olympian of all time.

I lit Michael for this portrait above with a Profoto 7B and medium soft box.  Michael was standing under a 10′ scrim to keep the sun off of him.  I had the lighting crew spin a HMI 5K around to give him the rim light.

Since I keep a portfolio on my phone, I was able to show Michael a picture from the first time I photographed him.  Athletes always seem to remember where and when a picture of themselves was taken.  He immediately zoomed into the goggles he posed with in the photo. He got the year correct, and I helped him with the location of the blue wall I used as a background at the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

I also photographed Michael’s appearance in the Sarasota, Florida area.  Michael played Laurel Oak Country Club on February 20, 2013, then went to the Orioles spring training camp on the following day.  Michael played 18 holes with Haney and a film crew.  The beautiful golf course was chosen because of its proximity to the Orioles camp, and its private facilities.

The Orioles welcomed Phelps and Haney with open arms the following day.  They took batting practice, got a tour of the facility, met with head coach Buck Showalter and signed autographs.  It’s always interesting to see a pro athlete signing an autograph for another pro athlete.  Late in the day at the Orioles camp, a clubhouse employee went up to see Phelps in a blue Speedo, and asked him to race in the pool.  It got quite a few laughs!

Here’s a gallery of my Michael Phelps images on GolfChannel.com.

Be sure to watch the Hank Haney Project with Michael Phelps on Golf Channel!

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @sportsphotographer and Facebook.

Michael Phelps

Michael PhelpsMichael PhelpsMichael PhelpsMichael PhelpsMichael Phelps

Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham for the Sunday Times

Mark Billingham for the Sunday Times

I was asked to make a portrait for the Sunday Times (London) of British crime writer Mark Billingham. Billingham has a vacation home in Sarasota, Florida for when he isn’t working in London. Excuse me… It’s a “Holiday” home. The Sunday Times editor sent me some great examples of past work for the Homes section, which I was working for. The magazine needed some portraits of Mark and his family and some interiors of the home.

I did some research for the photo shoot by visiting Mark’s website and finding the home on Google Maps.

I called Mark on the way down from Orlando to Sarasota. I left nice and early. We scheduled an 11am meeting at his home on Wednesday, July 25th. The Billingham’s couldn’t have been any more pleasant. I had to turn down multiple offers of tea. I felt bad, but I’ve never been a tea or coffee drinker.

Their home was beautifully decorated with a British and holiday theme. There were portraits of writers, the Queen, punk rockers and more. I loved the British flag over a couch and an antique sign they purchased at a yard sale over the master bed. They also had an older London subway map in the master bathroom. Claire, his wife, pointed out many decorations in the home including some Ringling Brothers art and statues of monks. Other things that caught my eye were a wooden chicken sitting atop the fireplace mantle, a colorful “Hamburgers, Ice Cream, Malts” sign and antique Pepsi memorabilia in the kitchen and a cow skull in the living room.

I asked Claire if it was weird having a photographer photograph every room in their home and she replied, “no, we’re used to it.” She even kicked her son out of his room so I could go in for a few minutes. (Sorry Jack!) I also asked Claire how many books Mark has sold. She didn’t know either, so she went to ask him. She returned and said “seven million.” I was really impressed with the figure, but Mark has another book coming out soon, and the number will rise.

Since I grew up in Maine, I brought up the only fiction crime writer I knew… Stephen King. I got the chance to photograph King before the start of a Rays and Red Sox game many years ago. King also has a home near the Billingham’s, and Claire said she’s seen him out and about a few times but has never said hello. (I’d love to get back to the Sarasota area to make a portrait of Mr. King! Hint Hint.)

I then made portraits with my Profoto 7B and Elinchrom Octobank of the family and Mark alone. We started in the kitchen, moved to the living area, then near the pool and finally in the front yard. We had a few wardrobe changes during the session much to Mark’s dismay. We also loosened up their French doors so they both open!

The clip is from the Sunday, August 5 edition of the Sunday Times in London, England.

Subscribe to the Sunday Times.

Visit Mark’s website or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Follow Cy Cyr on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram (@sportsphotographer)