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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Photoshoot at Adobe - Art Installations at Adobe Systems.

On assignment at Adobe Systems in Lehi UT, curator Andrew Ehninger takes interviewer Mariah Mellus and I on a tour of the facilities newest additions of on site art installations.

After taking us through security at Adobe Systems, we start by taking a stroll down the main floor corridor. In this wonderfully lit, open, inviting hallway, I am reminded that I can take photos of most everything, just not current displays, offices, or screens as we pass down the corridor.

Further along the hallways of Adobe we come upon some of the art work. Mainly hung along entryways in various open walkways, we receive information of the pieces themselves  as well as more about the process of picking the artists.

Using the site Behance. (, curator Andrew Ehninger takes submissions, multitudes reviewed per week.

Using QR coded name plates, artist information is easily accessible via a quick smart phone scan or Google search.


We take the elevator to the top floor of Adobe. Upon exiting, we view a permanent installation of a metal track, extending the height of the building, down the stairwell. 

Adobe employees and visitors can collect a ball pit style toy at the bottom on their way up, and opt to use this functional structure as a track for the ball to travel to the bottom.


Now, moving from the the main stairwell in Adobe,  discussing the mediums used, inspirations and the goal of this exhibition as well view more works floor after floor.

Providing more information on the artists as well as talking about his own pieces on the walls, Andrew Ehninger and Mariah Mellus discuss his personal creative process.

Andrew Ehninger poses for a photo next to his own piece in the stairwell of the Adobe Systems building.

We continue down the stairs and view floor after floor of work.

Ending the tour, Andrew and Mariah take to the upper floor of the common area/cafeteria.


A relaxing area including pool tables, free soda fountains, tables, cafeteria and even a small workout area. With another large installation opposite of this view that spans the length of the nearby stair bank.

As the interview of curator Andrew Ehninger comes to a close, I take a few more atmospheric images showing the scale of this main, windowed, naturally lit slice of architecture. 

The entire Adobe building is a great aesthetic and was a treat to get a look around, and the artwork that hangs within its walls provides a refreshing, creative atmosphere for the staff and visitors at the same time giving the artists some much appreciated exposure and sale opportunity.

To read the full piece from writer Mariah Mellus, check out or click the link below.


To see the art for yourself, see the Adobe/Behance page for info on their events, and below is an included map to their main building in Lehi, UT.


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