I recently had the pleasure of creating campaign portraits for MSU Board of Trustees candidate Matt Clayson. I first met Matt in 2012. He was director of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center. I was an inaugural member of the DC3's Creative Ventures incubator project. I joined Creative Ventures under the auspices of a portrait project I created in 2010 called The People of Detroit.
I started TPOD at a counterpoint to Detroit-focused ruin porn. A pleasant side effect of the project is it also allowed me to meet lots of people who value evidence, reason, and the public good. Matt is one of these people. He also is a corporate compliance lawyer by trade. In the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, he is exactly the kind of leader MSU needs. Lend him your support: http://www.votemattclayson.com/.
My goal was to create my own version of the requisite candidate-with-family political portrait. Since I knew I wanted the family to be backlight, I scheduled the shoot for late afternoon. I also knew I wanted the family in a lush, green setting. Matt's neighborhood in downtown Detroit fit the bill. Once the location was in order, wardrobe was the next on the agenda. I created a palette on coloors.co. Green represents the scene. I asked the family to each wear one of the other four colors in the palette.
With that sorted, I choose my kit (I say "sorted" and "kit" because I am currently enamored with Britishisms). I knew I wanted a medium wide focal length and ability to shoots a shallow depth of field in bright sunlight. A Canon 6D, Canon 35mm f/1.4, and Orlit 610TTL into a shoot-thru umbrella fit the bit. The Orlit's high speed sync allowed me to shoot the 35mm at f/2.8 and well above the Canon 6D's maximum sync speed of 1/160th (most of these photos were shot with the shutter at 1/500th.
All that was left to do was put people in front of the camera and try to get children to do cute kid things. Speaking of, Cecelia's pose in the first photo was completely unscripted. Considering recent events at MSU, it also seems completely appropriate.