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Epic Portrait \ Donald Trump

dc celebrity portrait photographers

Donald Trump – 5-27-2014

The Gear

Lens: Nikkor 58mm f/1.4

Camera: Nikon D4

Light Sources: 1 Einstein 640 WS by Paul C. Buff

Light Modifiers: Paul C Buff Parabolic Light Modifier

Technique: 3 Shot Brenizer Method

The Goal

Create a tasteful portrait while being stuck between a rock and a harder rock.

The Vision

Practice what I know.

The Story

At this point I’ve decided that I know my look for this series. I love the 3 shot stitched bokeh panorama and I’m sticking with it. It’s mine, and I plan to continue using it for many portraits in the future. As always, I was stuck in a fairly undesirable location, but using the parabolic light modifier I was able to create that  painterly light that I love so much. It’s all about feathering the light along the edge so that it has a harsher impact on the subject but a soft gradual falloff in the shadows.

I was introduced to Mr. Trump and a few moments later I was photographing a receiving line of 125 people. It’s really intense work doing this kind of thing, but I rather enjoy it.

The Lesson

Shoot what you’re compelled to shoot and your style will define itself over time. That’s what I’ve done with this series and I’m super happy with it.




Leave a Comment

  • Great photo, but saying that a three-shot stitch portrait is YOURS is a little arrogant. I’ve been / know many people who have been creating similar style portraits for a very long. I’m getting tired of people coining “techniques” and “methods” that are known well and have been used since the early years of digital photography and design.

    If people are so inclined to term more things that they “create” I challenge them to show people how they do it to show us what exactly is different about their method to make it “theirs”.

    • That’s a fine opinion to have but (as always i.e. prisming/lens chimping/freelensing) when people post something like this I ask to link to some examples of this technique being used in this style with this perspective. I’m not trying to be arrogant at all. I’m trying to own my style.

  • Paul….Sam clearly isnt making out that he invented it. I mean he even names it the Brenizer method for heavens sake. I think what hes saying is that it’s his style and he’s sticking with it. I would hardly call Sam arrogant, and even if he was, considering the work he puts out I think he has every right to be a bit smug about what he does

  • Love this portrait Sam! Can’t wait to see more!

  • Another great portrait Sam! Though I am sure you have no discouragement brought on by comments such as the one above, I’d just like to say that you do OWN your style! Love your work! I had a question for you. I read your review of the 58mm 1.4 and I see that’s what you used here. I have been wanting something that produces sharp images with something extra and this lens definitely seems to have it. I know that you said it was over priced but it provided character you cant get anywhere else. My question is, after this extended period, do you feel it’s worth it?

    There is a big difference between owning your style and owning something. Heck Amazon has the patent for white seamless backgrounds but they sure as heck didnt invent it, nor can they make it look as good as some photographers.

  • I have to say I’m intrigued by the 3 shot Brenizer portrait, I have to do it myself 🙂

  • Kai

    Hi! I really dig the 3 shot Brenizer style you devised here. One question: If you say “Shoot what you’re compelled to shoot…”, do you mean “Shoot what you have to shoot anyway…” or “Shoot what you like…”? I’m not natively English-speaking and I know that “compelling” can mean one or the other. Not so sure in this case though. Thank you very much! Kai