Justin Bettman

In the woods

Comedian Rob Corddry

This summer, I had the opportunity to shoot comedian Rob Corddry for GQ. This assignment was quite different than most GQ assignments I’ve done in the past -- this one involved going camping for a night in the woods. Rob Corddry earned his Eagle Scout when he was younger and thought it would make for a fun story to go camping, so that’s exactly what we did. I wanted to get a few props before the shoot that would play off the camping and Boy Scout story so I brainstormed a list of different props that might work. I ended up settling on a ranger hat, a boy scout shirt, a fishing pole, a canteen, a bathrobe, a golf club, a cactus, and an ice cream cone.

 

 

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I drove to the location a few hours early with my assistant to scout some spots and prelight. When Rob arrived, the sun was quickly setting so we didn’t have much time for an introduction and quickly raced into our first set up. For this first set up, I pulled some inspiration from Moonrise Kingdom and photographed Rob outside of his tent in a Boy Scout shirt with a flat brim hat. Working with comedians are always fun since they have a lot of funny ideas to bring to the table. 

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I started out lighting this setup with a Siros L 800 and the Octabox 150 as it’s lightshaper.

I love this light set up because it’s portable and easy to set up but adds a lot of production value to the image so that it doesn’t feel just like natural light. 

After the first set up, I quickly pitched Rob on the idea of golfing in a bathrobe inspired by a famous Jack Nicholson photograph I had seen. We didn’t have much time since we were quickly losing light, but being the agreeable guy that Rob is, he didn’t question my vision. For this shot, I also used the Siros L 800 and the Octabox 150 off the right of the scene. Since the natural light was disappearing quickly, it was important to not “overlight” the scene and still make it feel somewhat realistic. 

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After the golfing shots, I lost the sun and decided it was time for us to call it a night and make dinner. We spent an hour or so getting the campfire going and cooked some burgers and potatoes for dinner. I knew I wanted to get one more set up, so the following morning I got up early with my assistant and tried lighting for one more set up. To keep things consistent, once again we used the Siros L 800 with the Octabox 150 to the left of the camera. We shot this one deeper into the woods so it was nice to have light to make him pop slightly from the shady background.

The Siros L 800 with the Octabox 150 was great for this shoot because it gave me soft even light on location without needing a pack or power. Overall I had a great time on this shoot despite the fact that I found a tick on my back when arriving home. 

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