Client Shoot: Robert Calvert


Posted on May 14th, by Danny Santos II in Client Work. 8 comments

Robert Calvert - Graphic DesignerRobert Calvert - Graphic DesignerRobert Calvert - Graphic Designer

I’ve been shooting for 2 years, and a large bulk of it was shooting candids in the street. I got so used to capturing moments and faces so quickly that when I was asked to do a portrait shoot, I got excited… and nervous. I wasn’t used to directing a subject on what to do and where to pose.

I was commissioned by Robert Calvert for a portrait shoot to be used in an upcoming publication by Designers Association Singapore. He was invited to be featured in their book ‘Designers 250′ which will showcase the designers who make up the design industry in Singapore, with a focus on the person behind the designs. The book is scheduled to be launched by July 2010.

Rob hails from Wellington, New Zealand, and has been working as a graphic designer for about 10 years now. He moved here in Singapore about a year ago and is now working at Aedas as their in-house graphic designer, working on everything from t-shirt design to books and exhibition graphics.

When Rob first emailed me, the first thing I did was google him to check out his works online. Being a graphic designer myself, as I look into his design portfolio, I knew immediately that he was very professional, versatile, and had an excellent eye for great design. After a few more correspondence, we agreed to shoot on the coming weekend in Orchard Road (where else but my fave place, right?).

On the day of the shoot, I met up with Rob and his lovely wife. We had a friendly chat about him and his works, then we proceeded with the shoot. I tried out a lot of different locations and light situations: under the shade using the cemented ground as a big giant light reflector, close up headshots and waist up shots, shooting under the open light, and shooting among the crowd. The latter, I would say, is the most physically exhausting since I moved around quickly to try and frame Rob amidst the moving crowd. Some of my ideas for the shoot was derived from my long experience in shooting candids.

Robert Calvert - Graphic DesignerRobert Calvert - Graphic Designer

I loved this shoot because portraiture has always been what I wanted to focus on next. I’ve shot candids and impromptu portraits of strangers ever since I started photography. I was so used to stealing moments as they unfold in front of me that I actually found it uncomfortable having full control over how to shoot my subject. Getting into portraiture is stepping out of my comfort zone. My ongoing project Portraits of Strangers acts as a transition period from shooting candids to portraiture. I’m aiming to do more portrait shoots to hone my skills and expand my portfolio. I’m excited… and nervous at the same time. That’s a good thing in my book.





8 thoughts on “Client Shoot: Robert Calvert

  1. Grats on the commission. My guess is that the client selected the heads n shoulders shot with the black bg. Shrugs. Kudos on new direction. The excitement of a new journey…

  2. Congratulations on client projects, Danny! The pressure of an actual paid job is stressful, because you’re pressed by time and an actual subject waiting for your instructions! And a re-do is tough as well. I imagine it gets easier with practice, so hope you get more client shoots in the future!

    I shot a magazine cover a few months back, hardest money I’ve ever had to earn. Lost a few nights’ sleep as well. I think photo enthusiasts transitioning into professional photog have much to share! So thanks!

  3. Great job and transition, Danny! I’ve assisted pros on their portrait assignments and it is a really enlightening experience. These guys know exactly how to get the subjects and lighting right, usually with lights (you may have to start investing in some lighting equipment too)
    Shooting portraits on assignment is another ballgame, but can see your experience with candids can only help.
    (To be honest some of my candids are candids re-directed -whatever makes the shot better ;-)

  4. Danny, not sure if you’ll be able to get back to me or not, but I’m kind of in the same boat…I’m doing more and more portrait stuff and I do get nervous with “controlling the shoot”…definitely like candid stuff so much and being in charge puts a lot of pressure on you.

    How are you dealing with it now? Is it getting any better?

  5. Pingback: An interview with Danny Santos II | seconds2real - street photography from austria and germany

  6. Pingback: An interview with Danny Santos II – Seconds2Real – Street Photography

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