Another great community spotlight interview! Today we are feturing 22 year old portrait photographer JacobRoberts. "I am a 22 year old portrait and fashion photographer currently based in Louisville, Kentucky. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve fully discovered my own style yet. I do know that I love to shoot people, regardless of what type of photography it is. Whether its fashion, beauty, or portraiture, if there’s another person in front of my camera, i’m happy. I’m still experimenting quite a bit and shooting a lot of different things, which is a lot of fun, but if I had to choose one common quality that I always find myself gravitating towards, it would be an overall more dark, dramatic, and moody look and feel." - Jacob

Natalie Freebersyer by JacobRoberts

Abby Garrett by JacobRoberts

In one sentence what has photography done for you in your life?
It has become a driving force that constantly pushes me to create something, which is what I think we should all be doing on a daily basis.

When did you start taking photos and what inspired you to get started?
I first picked up a very small and cheap camcorder in 2010 to start making skateboarding videos with my friends to put online. I really enjoyed it and I got more and more into doing video. After a while I outgrew the camera I was using and wanted to upgrade, so I ended up buying a Canon Rebel T2i, which I think I made one video with before completely switching over to photography, which was almost by accident. I started taking portraits of my friends and shortly afterwards discovered off camera lighting. Once I began to experiment with lights and learn more about the technical side of things, I was completely hooked.

Abbey Bridges by JacobRoberts

What has been your favorite shoot and why?
My favorite shoot i’ve ever done was a portrait session with a local shoemaker in my small hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky. At the time I had mostly only shot a lot of my friends and other people that I knew, so photographing a true character like that was a real experience. It came about because on a daily basis I would pass this old shoe shop near my house, I never knew anything about it, but growing up in that town i’d always seen it and wanted go inside. It just so happened that photography was the thing that ended up pushing me to finally go there and meet the owner, Don Raines. That first day I went without my camera just to introduce myself, and we ended up talking for hours. He told me story after story about his family history and how he was a third generation shoemaker, and he proceeded to teach me how to repair and make leather shoes while showing me around his workshop, which was pretty amazing. I asked if I could come back the next day and take his photo, and he happily agreed. They aren’t the best photos i’ve ever taken, but to this day they are some of my favorites because of the story behind them and the unforgettable experience I had taking them.

Do you remember a difficult photo shoot session? What happened?
I always stress and worry about shoots before hand and way over prepare, so luckily up to this point i’ve managed to avoid anything too bad. Other than minor gear mishaps or silly mistakes on my part, nothing too terrible has happened. Hopefully it stays that way. I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of wonderful people, and i’m very thankful for that.

Hayley Fawn Hall by JacobRoberts

What do you carry in your camera bag?
Gear I do not leave home without:

Canon 5d mkiii
Canon 135mm f2
Canon 85mm 1.8
Fuji x100t
Mamiya 645E & Film
Batteries
SD/Flash Cards
Strobes (B800’s & Einsteins from Paul C. Buff)
Modifiers: Photek Softlighter II, reflectors, Beauty Dish, grids
Light stands, sand bags, flags
MacBook Pro

Abbey Bridges by JacobRoberts

Do you have a favorite location and time of the day to shoot?
Currently my favorite place to shoot is in the studio. I love shooting on location and the challenges that come with doing so, but playing and experimenting with light in a studio is what i’m really enjoying at the moment. If and when I do shoot on location, a lot of planning/scouting goes into it. Every shoot is different, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. I just try to choose a location that I think will work best for the photo i’m trying to make.

Cassandra Mastropaolo by JacobRoberts

Can you share three tips with your fellow photographers?
Shoot as often as possible. Shooting constantly is the best way to develop a vision and learn what you are drawn to and what your sensibilities are. Discovering what you truly enjoy shooting is the first step. Learn and consistently study lighting. Being able to see and really understand light and its qualities is an invaluable tool for a photographer. Collaboration is key. Reach out to and work with other artists or creatives that you admire. There is nothing better than working with a great team on a shoot. It will take you and your work to places you couldn’t go on your own.

Please share one of your favorite photos with us with a short tutorial:

Aaron Strunk by JacobRoberts

This was a collaboration with my friend and extremely talented makeup artist Isidro Valencia and stylist Raina Trimble. We wanted to do something story based that was dark and dramatic but bright and colorful at the same time.

Due to the amount of makeup, not much skin work was necessary with this photo. For color, I desaturated the entire image using a black and white adjustment layer and lowering the opacity, and then I went back with a hue/saturation adjustment layer and individually increased the saturation of specific colors in the makeup. I also did some dodging and burning to enhance certain colors and areas of the face. After that was just a very subtle color grade using a color balance adjustment layer, and some sharpening.

I used five lights:

Key light: Beauty dish with a 30 degree grid directly overhead pointing down.

Fill light: Light with a standard silver reflector in front of and below the subject at a slightly lower power than the key light.

Kickers: One light behind the subject on each side, silver reflector, raised very high and angled down, same power as the key light.

Background: One light modified with a strip soft box, on the floor pointed up at the background.

Equipment used in this photo:

Canon 5d mkiii
pocket wizards (x6)
Profoto D1 (x1)
AlienBee b800s (x3)
Einstein 640 (x1)
Silver reflectors, grids, softbox
Savage seamless paper

Please share some thoughts on your ViewBug experience as a photographer:

I just started using ViewBug, but so far i’m very impressed. I’m very much enjoying the engagement and response i’m getting from it thus far and how active the community is. I’m definitely looking forward to exploring it more!

Follow JacobRoberts on ViewBug and his social media:  Facebook and Instagram