Watch Drew Gurian’s Portrait Being Transformed Into a 40 Foot Mural | Profoto (IN)

Watch Drew Gurian’s Portrait Being Transformed Into a 40 Foot Mural

05 May, 2017

Written by: Drew Gurian

Drew Gurian is a young, up-and-coming portrait photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Each month, he’ll be bringing you a behind-the-scene perspective, navigating the freelance marketplace of one of the busiest photo markets in the world – New York City. This is the third part of his story.

I recently had the opportunity to collaborate on a very cool project with the elctro pop duo Denitia & Sene, Red Bull NYC, and Colossal Media.

One of the portraits I shot of Denitia & Sene was transformed into a hand-painted, photorealistic 20’x40′ mural by the amazing crew at Colossal Media, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It took a three person crew of painters five days to complete the mural, and I can’t express how amazing it is to see in person.

Check out the video above to see a behind-the-scenes look into the shoot itself, as well as a time-lapse of the painting.

As for the lighting itself, we set up three different scenarios throughout the day, and here’s the basics of each.

Freight Elevator


I absolutely love the look of a Softlight Reflector White with a grid, so I initially lit this scene with just that. Once reviewing the files, it was decided that the light was a touch too dramatic and that we needed to open up the shadows a bit. I did this with a 3×4′ soft box directly behind me, and above camera, dialed in again at very low power. By using a large wash of light like this at low power, it doesn’t change the overall feel of what the original light gave me, but instead, just opens up the shadows a bit.

High-Key White


The main light was a RFi Softbox  3×4‘, to camera left at about 45 degrees. Though this was a great quality of light, it was fairly far from Denitia & Sene, as I needed room to shoot full length portraits. Since it was so far, the gradation of highlight to shadow was a bit too harsh (this was supposed to be a clean, commercial set), so I used another soft box at much lower power as an on-camera fill.  In this case it happened to be a 7’ Octa, but it could have been a shoot through umbrella, or one of several other light shapers. The background was cross lit with two heads projected into reflected umbrellas to give an even wash of light.


Bright Blue Set


This was all about vibrant color, and the last thing I wanted was deep shadows, so I used the 7′ Octa as my main light, basically as a large frontal wash of very soft light. To make sure the background popped enough, we used another single flash head with a zoom reflector, and fired that just out of frame at the background.

Thanks so much to the crew at Red Bull, my entire team on the shoot itself, and to Colossal Media for making this project so much fun to be a part of.

Ps. I’d love to hear any questions or comments from you!

Drew Gurian

Drew’s website

Written by: Drew Gurian