When it comes to photography, I’ve always considered myself a meticulous planner. I spend a significant amount of time creating mood boards, designing light diagrams, sourcing props and wardrobe, and carefully considering storytelling and posing. But there’s a thrill in the unexpected, in the spontaneous. Like the last minute photoshoot I orchestrated with the wonderful David Terry in Vegas last March. 

The gear I had with me was limited to what I could fit in my suitcase. To some, it may have seemed like a lot, but to a lighting freak like me, it was a creative challenge waiting to be conquered. As I arrived at the house we were shooting at, I was greeted by gray walls. This unexpected canvas was a win in itself, and moving the furniture to the side opened up a world of creative possibilities. 

Let’s bring the color! I had an RGBWW Amaran 300c light in my suitcase, a spot attachment, a few gobos, and two Amaran RGBWW T2C tubes. I’m used to my RGB lighting tricks on white seamless paper or white walls, but the gray walls brought the most awesome saturation to the set! 

If you’re not familiar with RGB lighting techniques or colored shadows, it is a lighting technique that involves three lights, each in a different color: red, green, and blue. When these three colors are combined, they create the illusion of white light when they hit the subject. The shadows of the subjects take on the opposite color of the light that hits them. For example, red light will cast a cyan shadow, green light will cast a magenta shadow, and blue light will cast a yellow shadow. Then, you can play with the distance of your subject against the background; for example, the closer your subject is to the background, the sharper the shadows will be, and the farther away, the softer the shadows will look. Alternatively, you can play with the lights’ position and height to create different effects.

I only had one lightstand with me, so the second light was placed on a ladder and the third on a chair. But the different heights gave the shadows a little personality! And since I had a spotlight, I put it on the Amaran 300c. It was the cherry on top! It framed David to perfection and this shoot started to feel  serendipitous.


For the second look, I matched David’s 70’s vibes and his dose of nicotine with an Amaran 300c paired with a spotlight with a window blind gobo. We used the same gray wall as a backdrop, but as you can see, tiny changes such as using a gobo can make a significant impact. It was there when I realized David’s shadows were the main character of this photoshoot.


In comparing these images to the ones above, the differences are limited to David’s change of outfit and my color grading choice . Despite these changes, the setting remains the same, with gray walls and the continued use of the exact same lighting as in the black & white pictures above. Furthermore, in the two pictures below, I made the decision to remove the gobo and utilize a spotlight to illuminate David.


I couldn’t be happier with the pictures we got in such a short amount of time. It’s amazing what you can achieve by simply making slight changes on the light such as changing or removing a gobo or by applying different color grading treatments to images in post. 

Huge thanks to the amazing Joylynn Johnson who not only styled David for the photoshoot but also let us use her house and her wonderful gray walls for this photoshoot.