Gary Duncan Photography: Blog en-us (C) Gary Duncan Photography (Gary Duncan Photography) Thu, 24 Sep 2020 05:19:00 GMT Thu, 24 Sep 2020 05:19:00 GMT Gary Duncan Photography: Blog 120 96 Corporate and Business Headshots with the Canon 5DMk III A photographer is in a position to provide corporate and business headshots to business owners.  A good, well-executed headshot means the difference between being perceived as a successful, professional enterprise or as an also-ran. How your business and corporate headshots look will have clients at every level looking to your services to provide something they can use as the face of their business. 

First, a word on equipment. Equipment will be a personal choice for every photographer. For the purpose of this article we’ll work with equipment that is guaranteed to produce professional results if used properly and is used by Gary Duncan Photography with their clientele.  The Canon 5D Mk III, a 70-200mm f2.8 lens, 22” beauty dish, hair light, and reflector. 


Canon 5D Mk III
The Canon 5D Mk III is a 22.1-megapixel full-frame camera. It is the "go to" professional DSLR used in all aspects of photography, producing large, dynamic pictures.  


70-200mm f2.8 Lens
Due to its versatile focal range and relatively fast aperture, a 70-200mm f2.8 lens is a relatively useful jack-of-all-trades lens. It’s wider end, around 70-80mm is better for portraits with less distortion and more compression. Shooting wide open, @ f2.8, for any focal length will help provide a shallower depth-of-field, the blurry background effect.


The Beauty Dish
Beauty dishes are fairly common in fashion photography where the type of light they provide is excellent for emphasizing detail. The beauty dish sits somewhere between an umbrella and a softbox. As a light modifier the beauty dish provides softer light than an umbrella, but not as soft a light as a softbox. Diffusion material over the front of the beauty dish will soften the light further.  Light from a beauty dish is very directional with a quick fall-off, meaning that it illuminates the subject well and the background not so much.


The Rim (or Hair) Light
Since a beauty dish will light the front of a subject so well it can be useful to add the addition of a rim or “hair” light. This type of accent light is used to place a specific highlight on the subject to a bit more dimension to the image.


The Reflector
A reflector is very useful for any photographer. Using a reflector will help you remove unwanted shadows from the subject and place more light exactly where you need it. A white reflector will have a softer effect than a silver one.


Lighting Setup
Understanding how to set up your lighting is vital to a good corporate or business headshot. Lighting needs to be simple and effective. 


Since the beauty dish is the main light it should be set fairly close and slightly above the subject. Make a note of where the catchlights appear in the eyes, it should appear in the upper area of the eye.


The rim light will be placed where it provides the highlight you want. For a hair light it should be on the opposite side of the beauty dish, beside or slightly behind the subject.


To lessen unwanted shadows the reflector should be placed below the beauty dish in front of the subject. It may need to angled to achieve the effect you want.


For indoor corporate or business backgrounds you have two options; a professional backdrop or an environmental backdrop.


A professional backdrop is a professional produced plain or painted backdrop specifically for photography. Professional backdrops provide a consistent appearance when photographing multiple portraits and will avoid cluttered backgrounds.


An environmental background can work if the environment is suitable for the professional being photographed such as a lawyer surrounded by law books in their office. The background should never compete with the subject for attention.


Shooting outside can be an option, but for professional corporate or business portraits it should be considered whether it is suitable for the profession. When shooting outdoors natural light and a reflector can work, but adding a beauty dish will mean balancing the light with daylight.

(Gary Duncan Photography) business canon corporate headshots photography Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:49:16 GMT
President Obama's Farewell Address I was honored and blessed to be a part of President Obama's Farewell Address at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL.  Not knowing exactly what to expect, I consulted some of my fellow photographer friends on Facebook for advice on lens choices.  The responses included more than just lens advice, which helped an awful lot.  This by no means guaranteed a perfect day, as I soon discovered while dropping off my equipment early in the a.m. for the media preset.  The media preset allows the secret service to do their security sweep before the event.  Other than falling on my rear on an unsalted sidewalk and being held up from entering by McCormick Place security, the day started off relatively smooth.  



After dropping off my equipment and nervously looking back at my unguarded gear as I exited, I went home and got a couple of hours of sleep, before heading back for the address.  Once inside, I encountered a herd of attendees, dignitaries and media.  The secret service tactical team looked like something from Agents of Shield.  Too bad they didn't allow pictures.  I came back to the position which I had staked out earlier, only to find another photographer had moved my equipment and taken my spot.  After a brief conversation, he agreed to move over to give me the space I needed to setup my gear.  Aside from being there for the obvious, it was pretty cool to meet both new and familiar faces.  


One would think I'd be nervous, due to the magnitude of this event, but I felt like I've been preparing for this since I picked up my first DSLR camera. I have been told I have an eye for photographing live events.  I just remembered the thousands of pictures I've seen from all of the talented photographers who I've encountered over the years.  What is important?  Face, lighting and emotion.  Well, the first two were covered, so I just looked for key parts of the President's speech to photograph, from when he first greeted the crowd to when he came to tears while addressing the FLOTUS.  This was a great opportunity to record a great piece of history and I was truly humbled.  


(Gary Duncan Photography) #executivebranch #farewellobama #FLOTUS #obamafarewelladdress #POTUS #secretservice #USA #usgovt #whitehouse Sun, 22 Jan 2017 22:22:40 GMT
Chicago Auto Show -Media Preview 2016 I made a brief visit to the Chicago Auto Show Media Preview this past Friday and immediately noticed they had switched a lot of the car display locations. The Lexus, Cadillacs, Acuras, Alfa Romeos and a lot of the other high end cars had been switched with the other cars to the west end of the the Auto Show exhibits.  Looks like they were trying to change things up to keep it fresh for 2016.  This year I focused more on the concept cars along with other cars I did not photograph last year.  I found Perillos and Foley's car displays in the east end and immediately noticed the Blue 2016 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPE and Beige 2016 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GTC.  


The Rolls boasts a 6.8-liter V-12 engine that develops 453-horsepower and an amazing 531 -lb, ft. of torque to the rear wheels.  It goes from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds and has a top governed sped of 150-mph.  This luxury monster even has a hidden refrigerator and a set of monogrammed glasses beneath the teak floor of the picnic trunk.  MSRP $548,700

The Bentley is equipped with the same twin-turbo engine and luxury features as its coupe stable-mate, with the inclusion of open-top cruising.  It has a 626-horsepower V- 8 engine and a new eight-speed automatic transmission, which catapults it from 0-60 in just 4.7 seconds, with a top speed of 203-mph.  MSRP $288.005


(Gary Duncan Photography) (#cas16) Wed, 17 Feb 2016 11:24:57 GMT
2015 Chicago Auto Show - Media Preview Gary Duncan Photography has just finished the 2nd day of covering the 2015 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place off of Lake Shore Dr.  I was able to secure credentials this year, which allowed for unfettered access to all of the vehicles on display.  No crowds, running kids, or scuffed up vehicles. The cars were freshly detailed, lit and ready for prime time during the Media Preview that ran from Wednesday February 12th to Friday February 13th.  The events started off with the Concept Car Garage Preview for the media on Feb 11, which gave more access to the vehicles, and included test drives.  I was immediately drawn to the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat that was easily recognized just by the throaty roar of its 707 HP, Super charged 6.2L HEMI, SRT, V8 Engine.


The Media Preview for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show kicked off on Thursday, February 12th with the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast, where MAMA President Patrick Olsen presented the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year award and introduced keynote speaker Alan Batey, General Motors executive vice president and president, North America.  Between 9am and 3pm, various car companies presented their flagship 2016 models to the throng of photogs and other assembled media.  All in all, I had a great time, met new and old friends alike, and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience.  I am already looking forward to what #CAS16 has to offer.  





(Gary Duncan Photography) Sat, 14 Feb 2015 00:13:06 GMT
2015 Chicago Auto Show - Media Preview Gary Duncan Photography will be covering the 107th Edition of the Annual Chicago Auto Show for 2015.  We wil be attending the two-Day Media Preview covered by approximately 3,000 registered media and an additional 1,500 invited influencers, shouters and followers.  Nissan-sponsored national and international media travel program for key auto journalists, bloggers and influencers. Social Media Preview, branded #SMP15, featuring structured events including WOMMA Social Media Award. Multiple national and regional television specials including ABC, WGN, Telemundo and Univision.

Media Preview:  Thursday, Feb. 12 - Friday, Feb 13.
We will be live tweeting under the hashtag of #CAS15!  Make sure to follow for live updates!
First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been presented more times than any other auto exposition in the world. The CATA has produced the Chicago Auto Show since 1935.
North America’s largest auto show, the 2015 Chicago Auto Show spans more than 1 million square feet of floor space of the McCormick Place complex and displays multiple world and North American introductions and a complete range of domestic and imported passenger cars, trucks, sport-utility vehicles, minivans and concept cars. In all, hundreds of different vehicles will be on display, plus hundreds of interactive, aftermarket, accessories and auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles, antique and collector cars. The Chicago Auto Show also features several indoor test tracks and outdoor ride-and-drive opportunities. More info at
McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60616
$12 for adults, $6 for seniors age 62 and older and children ages 7 – 12, Free for children age 0 – 6. Tickets available at show box office at McCormick Place and on Weekday discount vouchers ($6 off regular adult admission) available at area new-car dealers. Weekday group & school discounts available


(Gary Duncan Photography) Sat, 31 Jan 2015 03:37:35 GMT
Friday Night Lights



Updated 10/1/14

Well I was successful at focusing on filling the frame during some of my shots last Friday, which allowed me to minimize cropping in post.  I hope to continue building on this during the upcoming game in Minooka, IL this coming Friday. There is nothing like Football all over America on Friday nights!



I recently had the opportunity to shoot from the sidelines of a local high school football game this past Friday and I was able to come up with some of my best sports shots yet.  No more jostling for position behind the fences, trying to avoid the cheerleaders, band and bench players. This gave me the freedom to roam from sideline to sideline, both endzones uninhibited and concentrate on the flow of the game.

Being an avid football fan, having some knowledge of the game and the tendencies of the team being covered does have its advantages.  I was able to anticipate where the action was most likely to flow and capture the image as it unfolded.  I did incorporate the technique of zooming out and watching where the QB was looking before the pass, then zoom in and attempt to capture the image at the peak of the play. This next upcoming game, I hope to have access to the field again and will focus on filling the frame during the shot, therefore avoiding excessive cropping in post.  But it will be tough not to fall back on my habit of shooting wide and cropping in post, thereby losing image quality.  



(Gary Duncan Photography) Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:45:00 GMT
2014 Bears Training Camp The Chicago Bears, one of the NFL's charter franchises, has some of the most dedicated fans.  This is evident with thousands of Bears fans in attendance at the wildly popular Bears Training Camp, held annually in Bourbornnais, IL on the campus of Olivet Nazerene.  I made my initial trek to Bourbornais last year and was pleasantly surprised at the wide open area and the access being in close proximity to the side lines.  

I was able to walk right up and snap away at the action on the field.  If you are a fan who is willing to arrive early, wait in line for about 2 hours, and set up right up on the sidelines with a chair and cooler, you won't have to worry about having your view obstructed by hats and heads.  I just prefer to just wait in the car until the line dies down before going inside.  


(Gary Duncan Photography) Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:05:32 GMT
Family Fun at Silver Cross Field in Joliet There is a place in downtown Joliet, IL that is all about affordable summer family fun and entertainment.  It is Silver Cross Stadium, home to the Joliet Slammers.  And for $12.00 you can sit anywhere in the stadium and enjoy an afternoon or evening of exciting baseball.  This years team consists of a talented lineup that includes multi-tool players C J Epperson and Marquis Riley.  The Slammers are off to an 8-1 start this year which includes an 8-4 defeat today of the Normal Cornbelters.  The Cornbelters has a familiar name this year, Ozney Guillen.  Ozney is the Son of former White Sox player and manager Ozzie Guillen.  He did not play today but instead coached 1st base.  He is much bigger than his dad, standing at 6ft 3inches and weighing in at a robust 230lbs.  However he does share his dad's gift for gab.  I could often hear him chattering away with his bench from his coaches position at 1st.  I keyed on getting action shots in the field today and I thought I came up with two nice ones in particular, showing plays at 2nd base. 






(Gary Duncan Photography) Mon, 26 May 2014 07:14:50 GMT
C2E2 2014 Chicago @ Mcormick Place 4/25 - 4/27 UPDATED 4/27 A great time was promised for all at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo and this year's Expo did not disappoint.  We were once again overwhelmed with the usual variety of cos-play characters along with numerous vendors and presentations.  As my friend stated, "this is capitalism in its purist form", in response to purchasing a $2.50 bottle of soda.








We're looking forward to attending this years Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Saturday 4/26 at the Mccormick Place in downtown Chicago.  This will be the 3rd year straight in which my Son and I have attended.  Yes we are comic book nerds.  This year we've invited a couple of friends along, while I of course will be busy photographing cos-play characters and hopefully a celebrity or two.  Speaking of celebrities, expected to attend this year includes Ernie Hudson from the Ghost Buster movies as well as the actors who play OSHA and HODOR from the Game of Thrones series on HBO.  But in order to see them one will have to purchase special VIP tickets for $175.00. Believe me, its not that serious, unless  there were going to be specific characters from the AMC's The Walking Dead in attendance.  

I'll be posting pictures from our fun filled day so Stay Tuned!!

(Gary Duncan Photography) Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:04:28 GMT
Lake Renwick Preserve - Heron Rookery Nature Preserve The Plainfield Heron Rookery Nature Preserve is starting to become more active this Spring with a variety of bird species along with nesting Egrets and Herons.  The easiest access point to observe all of this action is at the Copley Nature Park off of Plainfield Road, between Rt126 and Renwick Rd.  A short walk to a gazebo with mounted scopes allows for a direct view of a group of nesting Great Blue Herons across the lake.  These large majestic birds remind me of illustrations of the feathered dinosaurs from billions of years ago.  The large nests across the lake were just out of the range of my 70-300mm Tamron lens, but I was able to capture a few images of one Great Blue Heron who flew across and landed within range.  I've posted a few of my best images in my Birds Portfollio Gallery.


(Gary Duncan Photography) Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:37:54 GMT
Eagles of Starved Rock - Update 3/10/14 I was able to make it out to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL a few weeks ago, and there are a lot of Eagles out there from the North feeding from the Illinois River.  This was my first attempt to capture these wonderful raptors outside the zoo and I came away wanting more.  I took my shots with my Canon T3i, using a rented Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens from Calumet Photo in Oak Brook.  Once Jack Frost gives us a break I plan on making it back out there to attempt to capture more Eagles hunting and capturing fish.  I will be taking my (Craigslist) new Tamron 70-300mm F4,VC, USD, SP lens to compare performance with the Canon which is quadruple the cost of the Tamron.  


Updated 3/10/14

Well I and a photographer friend of mine made it back out to Starved Rock this past weekend but most of the Eagles had already left for the North.  I counted five Eagles, three of which were nested on the tiny Leopold Island, which placed them out of range of my 70-300mm Tamron lens.   A large juvenile did a fly by of the Starved Rock overlook where we were stationed.  But I was unable to capture it as it quickly flew out of range while I was still adjusting my camera settings (rookie mistake).  As we were about to leave disappointed, I did a final drive by of the campgrounds along the Illinois River and spotted a Bald Eagle perched in a tree.  I was able to squeeze off a few frames before it took off, and the early comparisons showed me why the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 is considered a L class lens and the Tamron is not.  I suspect the day being mostly overcast with limited sunlight did not help either.  But overall, I think the Tamron is an excellent lens and is a definite upgrade over my Canon 55-250mm.   We are planning to go to the lock and dam in Iowa, but this time we will remember to phone first.

(Gary Duncan Photography) Tue, 04 Feb 2014 19:28:00 GMT