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Behind the lens: Ricardo DeArantanha photographs Selena Gomez

Behind the lens: Ricardo DeAratanha photographs Selena Gomez

By Ricardo De Aratanha, Los Angeles Times

Today’s assignment: Photograph singer/actress Selena Gomez.

When I read the assignment details, I was glad to see the location was at her home. She would be comfortable in her own surroundings, as compared to a celebrity shoot in a hospitality suite in a hotel. However, because her daily calendar was full, I understood that I would have only 15 minutes of shooting time.

Ideally, I will have three setups for visual variety, but for this shoot I had time for only two. While Gomez was being interviewed by the Times’ writer, I scouted the environment for possible shooting locations.1479052_ET_va_shakespeare_RRD

I believe that less is more when choosing locations. Minimal elements help keep the emphasis on the subject, so I like to choose my background first and then place my subject in the frame.

The living room couch and wall offered a neutral and clean background. Her skin tones and hair color offered the only color in the frame. The couch was next to a window facing the backyard, letting a dim light in.

To help avoid subject blur and improve the quality and direction of the light, I set up a strobe with a medium Chimera soft box in the backyard, shooting through the window. I would have liked to use a second strobe with a warming gel as a cross light to emphasize her hair, but, because of time limitations, I opted to use a gold reflector to fill in the shadow areas. The end result was pleasing.

For my second setup, Gomez’ front door attracted my attention just because of its color. My Brazilian aesthetic came alive when I saw her matching red nails and lipstick. Bingo! All I needed in this instance was a gold reflector to warm up the cool indirect ambient light entering the front porch. The resulting photos presented a stylized fashion look that I like.

In a very short period of time, Gomez gave me many poses and expressions to choose from. She is a natural beauty in front of the camera.

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