Justin Bettman Photography

Red House (Collaboration with Ryan Schude)

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I haven’t done an in depth blog post in a while but I feel like this series deserves one. A couple of months ago I came up with the idea of doing a photograph of parents fighting and a boy sitting outside in his parent’s view. I had been scouting for the perfect house to do it at and decided to put it on the backburner until I stumbled across a place that would work. I approached Ryan Schude about doing a collaboration of a drive in movie theatre scene. After we started discussing the idea more in depth we got off subject and I told him about the parents fighting idea. He liked it even more and it seemed to make more sense logistically so we decided to ditch the drive in scene and go with the parents fighting.

After deciding on the concept, we started location scouting. The first necessary criteria for the location was that it had a big window so we could photograph the parents fighting and still have the child in their view. Also, we wanted the house to look fairly All American. After two days of location scouting, we came upon a house that we knew was perfect. We knocked on their door to see if they would let us use it but they didn’t answer. So we left a note asking if we could shoot there and if they would call us back. After driving around for another hour to see if anything else would work, we got a call from the family saying we could shoot there.

After figuring out the location, we developed the concept a bit more. Ryan suggested having two children in the photo instead of one and so we decided to run with that. After a couple more meetings where we discussed casting the subjects and what props/equipment were needed, we were ready to shoot. We decided we definitely wanted a radio flyer so we found one on craigslist for $60 and picked it up.

For the actual shoot, we spent about 5 hours lighting and prepping. We ended up using 8 strobes in the final photograph, all of them out of frame. It’s convenient when you collaborate with someone else because you can pull your resources together and definitely get more bang for your buck (Ryan was able to get the Subuaru Brat for free from a friend). I’ll post a GoPro time lapse that we did of the whole day once we get around to uploading it.

The post production process was fairly simple since we did almost everything in camera. The only thing we comped was a darker sky on one half of the image. Aside from a bit of color correction and adjusting the texture, the photo looks pretty close to this out of camera.

Here is the final photograph:


(click to view larger)

Close up of the children:

And one of our assistants, Jack Strutz, took this polaroid at the end of the day:

Make sure to check out Ryan’s work. He’s awesome. Thanks to Tim Melido (assisting), Jason Peters (assisting), Jack Strutz (assisting), and Maggie Levin (MUA/Hair).

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May 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

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