For Canada's 150th birthday, Maclean's asked me to photograph our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I have been photographing portraits in Ottawa for this magazine over the past few years, shooting various individuals in the political arena and anyone else they are doing a story on. They approached me for this shoot as soon as they had confirmation, which was only two days before.
Our time would be tight as he was scheduled to do a video interview in the same short time block. Having looked at tons of photos of his office before the shoot, I decided I wanted to photograph him leaning on his desk, with part of the office blurred out behind him. If we had time, I would do an additional close-up setup.
I have been using Profoto equipment since 2013 and had no hesitation relying on their tools for such a high profile job. We set up a Profoto AcuteB2 pack and head with a Profoto Deep Medium White Umbrella with no diffusion, and angled it coming from the same direction as the window to give it proper motivation.
I wanted a punchy but flattering quality of light with a soft falloff, which this modifier is perfect for. I chose the AcuteB2 pack because I knew I could dial the power down very low which was needed for the wide open aperture I wanted to use. We played around with the window shutters as well, specifically to achieve a subtle natural rim light in the close up, and for a nice background in the first shot.
Although I only got about 4 minutes with the Prime Minister, I was able to capture two different portraits, and even geek out with him a little about his fantastic R2D2 Star Wars pen (which is actually on the desk in the first shot)!
Just recently I received an amazing surprise in the mail - a signed photo of myself shaking the PM's hand. A huge shoutout to the Prime Minister's photographer Adam Scotti for snapping those BTS images and sending me this special keepsake.