Proper Portraits - Proper Brewing Co.

On location at Proper Brewing Co.

A newly opened brewery in downtown Salt Lake City. I have been asked by SLUG Magazine to get some portraits of the beer experts for the their Beer Issue.


I was given a date, time and address to show up and I was just unaware of the exact shooting conditions. I knew I had to capture portraits of three people, I brought...

- My giant Photek Softliter Umbrella 60"

Xplor 600 Monolight

Impact C-Stand with Arm

Kupo C-Stand Wheel Base for easier movement.

- My trusty Canon 5DIV

Canon 6D a (as a back-up)

- Canon 24-70 f2.8 II

I also always have a back-up lighting source with my Canon 600ex RT speedlight, always tucked away in the bag just in case the location is not large enough for the giant 60" light modifier. Additionally I had...

Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod

- Manfrotto 498RC2 ball-head if need be for a slower shutter speed and if not used for that, I could get some bts video with a simple Smartphone Tripod Mount. I keep and lug around all my camera gear inside a Lowepro AW 200 Messenger style bag (Awesome freaking bag). 

I was now prepared for 1. any lighting conditions with my large and smaller back up light source. 2. Zoomed in or wide shot to accommodate those same space variables with the 24-70 lens. And 3. With the 5D iv, and the dual pixel AF I could use the rear screen if needed to frame and focus any shot that placed me in a way that I was unable to use the viewfinder. 


Upon arrival I grabbed my gear and entered the building. The front of the building was an open bar/eatery set up and I gave a few seconds to access my options for a few shots....

Thinking to myself (ok... there is a pool table... arcade... open area... high, long table...)
**Note: After a few minutes I realized I had just been brainstorming in vain. This was not the pre-decided location for the shoot, but rather the rear of the building, with the brewing vats and other contextually accurate pieces for the shoot. Never the less, do not ever stop planning shoots in your head, looking at lighting, ideas! Always getting ideas!

I was greeted by my group of subjects and I was invited to see the location of the actual shoot down the hallway. I grabbed my C-stand and wheeled my gear down and into the back-room.

John Kern, one of my subjects makes sure there is no water on the floor and the room was ok to shoot in.

John Kern, one of my subjects makes sure there is no water on the floor and the room was ok to shoot in.

Chosen background with the direction of light from the windows across the room.

Chosen background with the direction of light from the windows across the room.

I really liked the angle at which they pushed away from where I would place the subjects, the light from the window in the other room giving a nice, cooler quality to the ambient light. I am ready to get some shots.


I tell my subject what I am thinking, that I would love a casual portrait of them sipping a little sample of beer with a slight 'cheers' gesture perhaps? They make a joke about posing like Captain Morgan with a leg up on a barrell and I take a few test shots. 

Captain Morga pose

Captain Morga pose

Test shot to get the lighting just right.

Test shot to get the lighting just right.

After a few shots, I have the light just where I want it. I gesture to my subjects to face towards me, continuing in what pose they have naturally come upon. (Final Images At The End Of The Post).

Shooting #2...

I push my light (on wheels, so nice!) into the adjacent room and place it next to a vat (on the right of what is pictured), this gives the light some direction, looking natural as it is coming from a similar space as the window light.

I tell my subject to place themselves as they wish, suggesting perhaps to utalize the stair case, railings etc.

I take a few test shots and get things where I want them. Taking a few more shots, I tell my subjects to repeat casually talking, looking at each other, and every few seconds instructing them to have "eyes one the camera". This gives a relaxed, comfortable feel as no one is simply staring into the lens, awkwardly for a few minutes.


Always with a "while we're all here, lights are already set-up" mentality, I figure I can get a few more shots even though I know I have my "Keepers" already. I have the subjects all stand and re-assemble into a sort of semicircle for a more head-shot look.

Shoot End... 

I had gotten what I need and my subjects were amazing, I thank them for their time and let them know I am done, and that I will be packing up my toys and heading out. We discuss beer for a minute and I tell them what my favorite qualities of my favorite brews are. I am graciously gifted a few recommended selections that Proper Brewing had recently been producing.

Again, thanking my subjects I gather my things and head to my car.

Final Images...

These following images were my final edits, final picks for submission to SLUG Magazine. I now just had to send them and await the issue to print. 


And here are the used images in the issue and online a few weeks later.

.pdf copy of final issue. 

.pdf copy of final issue. 

What are some of your experiences while shooting, do you plan? Overplan? Overpack, Overshoot? Be sure to reach out and let me know or leave a comment. 

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Pie & Beer Day @ Beer Bar! (a KRCL fundraiser)

Many people in Utah are fully aware and celebrate the weird, useless holiday of Pioneer day. The time when Brigham Young did... something... blah blah...

But this post is about what the sane people in the state have now embraced, a new kind of July 24th celebration.

Pie & Beer Day! - A much more delicious way to celebrate by imbibing  baked goods and  local brews.

Local establishment Beer Bar hosts an outlet for such a way of celebrating this newly adopted tradition. Having many brewers and bakeries from around the Salt Lake area, locals can buy tickets to this tasting and pairing mini festival and enjoy all the foods, beverages, music and dunk tank they can handle.

Below are images and video! From the experience, enjoy!


Thanks for looking.

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