Earlier this month we launched the first ever RGG EDU Community Assignment in our private Facebook group. The assignment was to create a conceptual beverage image based on three randomly drawn narrative elements (a person, a cocktail, and a place). We received 17 great submissions, making it very difficult to choose a favorite image.
We finally decided on Edward Boe’s image of a rockstar drinking an old fashioned in a private eye’s office. Edward’s image was well-composed, had great mood and color, and a load of technical merit. Ultimately, the difference maker with Ed’s image was how well his unique concept was executed.
We caught up with Edward this week to ask him a few questions about his assignment submission:
RGG: You’ve been an active member in the community for a couple years now, but for anyone who doesn’t know you, tell us about yourself and your work.
EB: I’m from Chicago, IL (USA). I’m primarily a food/beverage and product photographer, however I do a fair bit of real estate and corporate photography and video as well as the odd headshot when needed.
RGG: What brought you to RGG EDU and what tutorials have you watched?
EB: I started with Rob's Editorial Food Photography and expanded to Tony Roslund's Product Photography, Erik Almas' Composite Photography, Sef McCullough's Commercial Retouching, and Rob's Beverage Tutorials. I also have the Jake Hicks Colored Gel Portraits Tutorial, though I haven't started it yet.
RGG: Tell us about your image. How did you build your concept?
EB: This particular image, which I've been calling Punk Rock P. I. (PRPI), was conceived entirely for this assignment, but a lot of what I create in my personal work are things pulled from decades watching, critiquing, and creating film and video work. PRPI stems specifically from sources like Blade Runner 2049, The Third Man, Brick, Jessica Jones, and other film noir stuff in general.
After drawing three variables from their respective hats, I went around to second hand shops, thrift stores, and salvage shops without much luck. The last place I visited happened to have a large table leaf that worked well for the desk surface, an era appropriate ashtray, and a full set of actual 60s era crime scene photos from the Chicago PD. Score! I pulled some old fashioned glasses I have in my collection, as well as a purchased bottle of Southern Comfort and the lamp I have on my desk. My wife supplied the dark jeans, and the combat boots of the “Rockstar.”
RGG: You definitely built an awesome concept. How did you execute it?
EB: Lighting-wise, I used a Profoto D1 with a 7" reflector w/ polarization over the top of the hero drink. I used another Profoto D2 with a 7" reflector w/o polarization from the back left of the scene shooting toward camera to act as the practical lamp light and separate the incense smoke and edging for the bottle and second glass. I also used two speed lights- one in a homemade snoot to light the wall on the back right side separating the legs a bit, and the other hitting the boots of our rockstar. Add in a few white reflector boards and gold cards to illuminate the liquids, and I ended up with 11 different exposures that went into the final version.
RGG: Did you learn anything new working on this image?
EB: The biggest takeaway from this image was that I need to slow down and take my time. I ended up shooting this setup twice. At first I was moving too quickly trying to pull everything together. I wasn’t double checking critical focus, making sure the hero glass was spotless, or thinking to add condensation to the glass. I was pretty unhappy with the final result, so I did everything again. The composition during the second shoot was much more appealing, gave the scene more depth, and ultimately more atmosphere.
RGG: What are you currently working on? What are your goals for 2018?
EB: Last year I took on a 365 project, which was great. However I found that even though I was putting out content every day, I was sacrificing quality for the sake of quantity. This year I am going for one project a week. I've written out a list of projects that will improve my skill set, my portfolio, or both. I'll be doing everything from food/beverage work in studio and on location, post processing/compositing heavy work, even cinemagraphs. It's going to be a busy year.
You can see more of Edward’s work on his website, www.edwardboe.com, on Instagram @edwardboephotography, and of course in the RGG EDU Facebook Community. If you have purchased a tutorial but haven't joined our private Facebook group, now is a great time to get in on our bi-weekly community assignments.