There are no second chances in celebrity photographer Victoria Will’s line of work. For instance, she had only three minutes to get the shot with Al Pacino. But she nailed it. Read the story and learn how.
“This kind of shoots are always a challenge,” says Victoria. “They don’t tell me what kind of room we’ll shoot in, what clothes the subject will wear or how much time we’ll have. Well, they say ten minutes. They always say ten minutes. But you never get it. It’s like a final exam every single time.”
Victoria’s shoot with actor Al Pacino was no exception. All she knew beforehand was that the shoot would take place in a certain hotel at a certain time.
“So, I did what I always try to do. I showed up a couple of hours early. As it turned out, the shoot would be done in the penthouse in a very ornate, luxurious hotel. It looked like Versailles. This was a bit of a problem, as I wasn’t shooting Louis XIV. I was shooting Al Pacino. You don’t put Al Pacino against a floral fabric.”
Victoria immediately removed the unwanted fabrics and furniture and put up a seamless backdrop. She then unpacked the two D1 monolights she had brought. She mounted a gridded Softlight Reflector White on one and a gridded Softbox RFi 1×4’ on the other. The Softlight Reflector was her main light, placed high up on a stand on camera left. The softbox was her fill light, placed close to the floor on camera right.
“The D1 is just perfect for me,” says Victoria. “First of all, it’s portable and light. I’m not a big guy. I need a compact kit that I can carry on my own. Secondly, it’s very straightforward and intuitive. Just like my camera, it feels almost like an extension of my arm. Finally, I really like the Air Remote. Not only is it a great relief getting rid of the cords piling up on the floor, it also allows me to build several sets on the same location and switch between the setups on the fly with a simple button-press.”
When Al Pacino eventually entered the room, Victoria was as prepared as she could possible be, given the circumstances. The backdrop was in place, the lights were set and Victoria was good to go.
“I could immediately tell that he wanted nothing more than to be done with the shoot,” laughs Victoria. “So, the first thing I told him was that if he would just give me three minutes of his undivided attention, that would be it. He smiled and nodded. That’s how I got his attention.”
Three minutes later, Victoria told the actor she had her shot.
Below are a few more of Victoria’s shots, most of them shot with the D1.
You can see even more of her stunning portraits at her website.
Learn more about the D1 monolight at our website.