Scott Uchida: Quick Portraits for a Best Selling Author

Duff Mc Kegan 1 590 444

OctoDome: Small w/Grid
HalfDome: Small

Getting to shoot a Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer, Grammy winning artist and New York Times best selling author (for his second book “How To Be A Man”) is always a challenge. To be honest, it was a rather quick shoot, and Duff McKagan is a photographer’s dream.

We had just completed a much larger scale shoot a couple days earlier, and I personally liked the images. But, it really wasn’t the vibe Duff was looking for with the book (had a very “hard rock” looking vibe). He asked if we could do another shoot at his residence in Los Angeles.

I thought about the shoot as I drove to his place. Duff can really pull off the suit and tie look, so I thought about doing a sort of GQ approach. I made sure I had my always-trustworthy Photoflex Triton heads (batteries charged of course), a small OctoDome, a small HalfDome, Pocket Wizards and my Nikon Df Df with a Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens.

When I arrived, Duff was pretty much dressed and we got his daughter Mae to do a light amount of make-up and fix his hair. While that was going on I looked through the house for a suitable spot. The McKagan’s have a great Spanish style home built in the 1920’s and I found two perfect spots. The first was a simple white wall, which is great for shooting the cover of a book. The second was a bench on the front porch I thought would be good for the inside cover or the “About the Author” section.

Since Duff is a pretty tall guy at about 6’3, I wanted to use the Photoflex Triton with a small OctoDome. I placed the OctoDome above his head and pointing down at about 11 o’clock. I wanted to get the wall really white (with a small shadow behind him), while still getting a nice fill on his face and shadows on the neck. I set the Triton to half power and ended up shooting at f4 at 125th on the shutter while shooting at 200 ISO.

We then moved to the front porch of his house for the second shot. I set up a Triton at quarter power with a small HalfDome and grid to his right. Another Triton at half power was placed to his left with a small OctoDome. The sun was still out and I wanted to achieve a look like he was waiting for one of his daughters to come home. The last step was to add one of his black Fender Signature bass guitars (like the ‘Social D’ Guns N’ Roses bass). The camera was set up at f4 at 125th shutter speed and 200 ISO.

For both set-ups, I only took about 10 frames. The cover of the book ended up being from the first setup. The back cover was from the bigger shoot a couple days earlier. That Image was shot with a Nikon D4S, Nikkor 50mm lens, F5.6, ISO 100, and a Photoflex Triton (no diffusion).

Based in Los Angeles, California, Scott Uchida spends most of his time shooting some of the biggest rock bands in the world. Scott is known for his no-nonsense approach to photography and for being particularly fast. His work has appeared in various artists’ record packaging, domestic and international print ads, and various magazine covers. See his extensive portfolio here:

Leave a Comment

Activate Popup

Let's Keep in Touch

Be the first to know about new lighting lessons, contests, events and promotions by signing up for the Photoflex monthly newsletter and updates from PromarkBRANDS.