The London Lampshade Story! « Joe McNally Photography


I didn’t tell anyone, most of all Annie at first, but when I saw the scouting pictures of this location in south London, I knew I wanted to put a lampshade on Amber Tutton’s head.

For wardrobe direction, I was of course more specific. Given the pastel walls, I said I wanted her to look like a parfait. I believe I said something like, “Color-wise, you know, think of a scoop of gelato with legs and stilettos.” Annie and Lynn gave me a quizzical, time-honored head tilt, and, with that overwhelmingly precise type of direction, went forward with the styling.

An absolutely fun day of shooting proceeded. UK based photographer Jake Newell worked with me again. He is talented and super knowledgeable, and he introduced me to– reusable zip ties! Never knew about those. Wonderful, and that’s what he used to hang two Profoto C1 Plus units inside the lampshade. Amber, despite having this elaborate headdress on, was her usual sublime posing machine.

For me, a shoot like this just offers up further proof of the luxuriant technology we have at our fingertips. I needed the lampshade to glow (thank you C1 Plus units) but the overall lighting surrounding Amber to be subtle and dim. We used a combination of light shapers, from a Profoto gridded 4′ Octa, to a large deep translucent umbrella in shoot-thru fashion. Plus a bounce. Lights were Profoto A2 units and B10X Plus’s. For the banner pic, most of the flash lighting was outside on the lawn.

The beautiful thing is, operating the Profoto Connect Pro in Air Control 2 mode, I know exactly what my power levels are on the various lights at a glance. It’s super helpful at camera. The Air Remotes were good, but the Connect Pro really connects the dots on the Profoto system. And they upgraded the battery life on these. I use Maha Powerex rechargeable triple A’s, and you can shoot literally all day without changing out.

Wide-ish glass on my Nikon Z 9. Again, photo technology. The Z 9 has such a depth of detail (lots of pixels) and the glass is so sharp, I had the ability to really dial in the shadows, at camera, to a place I felt they needed to be, relative to the lamp light . Beautiful LCD on the camera, blinking highlights, and histogram readouts all came into play.

Thank you Amber for her patience in the midst of all these shenanigans. And to Sabrina Nicholson Beauty, for her wonderful hair and make-up artistry, and always a pleasure to work with. Jake Newell was terrific on set, and of course, Lynn and Annie at our studio. Annie was on set and shot all the BTS. And thanks to Profoto for supporting nutty ideas like the above!

And closing with the below, so Amber knows, I never tire of photographing her face! 🙂 We have worked together for years now, and when I popped the lampshade on her head, she was like….”So Joe, it’s come to this. You are tired of photographing my face?” And my reply, of course, was an emphatic “no” to that!

more tk….

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