In mid-June, New York City-based photographer Adam Lerner was granted the opportunity to shoot portraits for Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino of the new Apple News Today program. As a lifelong Apple enthusiast, Adam was eager to impress his new client.
I’m such a crazy Apple fan. I feel like they’re a great company, and it’s a company I’d always wanted to work with.
The shoot took place in summer in a New York City studio during a time when the city was still employing fairly strict mask mandates and sanitation protocols. While this type of shoot would normally involve many people, Adam was limited in who he could have onsite due to social distancing regulations.
It was interesting because it still seemed like too soon. All of the typical things that we would normally have we didn’t have. No digital technician, no hair and makeup, no wardrobe.
The photographer also had to determine his own creative vision for the assignment, as there was no collaboration from Apple’s creative directors or art directors. Adam was only given one smartphone screenshot as inspiration for the images he was contracted to shoot.
It was hilarious. They sent me a smartphone screenshot of a couple of talent from the podcast where their heads were little avatars. That was the entire extent of the creative direction that I was given.
Knowing that he wanted to impress his client, Adam set to work with the talent. This posed yet another difficulty though because the talent weren’t allowed to talk to the photographer about the show they host.
I like to get at least a good understanding of why we’re shooting this. So, without having that knowledge, I had to really think outside of the box.
In a lightbulb moment, Adam asked the talent to get into the headspace of who they are when they’re presenting on their program. That directive immediately changed the disposition of both show hosts. Shumita and Duarte were able to leave behind the studio and get into their performer personas.
The face muscles relaxed, the connection with the eyes was so intense, everything clicked at once, and it was incredible. This technique really had a profoundly positive effect with both of these people.
After the shoot, Adam passed the photos along to the retouching team at North Volume Media. The photographer wanted the retouchers to push the limits with a “Hollywood” style retouch with cinematic quality.
That’s the kind of thing I felt I needed to do with these photos. I needed to take this, produce them, and elevate them to a higher level than what was asked of me because of the opportunity at hand. The end result is so far above and beyond what I was originally thinking.
Not only did Apple love the photos, Adam learned to get out of his comfort zone by following safety protocols, employing new techniques with talent, and taking risks on retouching. Adam’s photos of Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino can be found across Apple’s website promoting Apple News Today.
Retouchers: North Volume Media
Check out more of Adam’s work at adamlerner.net.
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