Deconstructing the Shot | Brady Drobny

I feel like I spend all of my days either shooting, editing or sleeping; thankfully those are all of my favorite things. I work a lot and when I have nothing planned I get the urge to create. I am lucky enough to have an apartment full of creatives who are always down to make things. One evening I was looking the beginnings of my print portfolio and was figuring out what was missing or what could be better. I needed more creative environmental portraits which is where this idea began. 

I live with my boyfriend, Bryce, his younger brother, Brady, and my friend, Molly. Brady has always had a really cool vibe to him and I have photographed him a few times before but never felt that I have captured him honestly. 

CONCEPT | After bouncing around some ideas with everyone we came to the decision to photograph Brady fully clothed in his bathtub. Brady is quite a careless man so I wanted to create an image that portrayed that through the location and what he has around him. Molly staged his coffee, cigarettes, pills and alcohol around the bath and also made the bathtub look dirty with her makeup artistry magic. 

LIGHTING | For this photo, I wanted to create relatively natural lighting but still have there be dimension and shape on his face. This bathroom is tiny so fitting three bodies and my 47in umbrella in there was tricky. We made it work and the strobe was held by Bryce right above Brady with the undiffused silver umbrella. 

SHOOTING | I knew I wanted something slightly more overhead. My portfolio was certainly missing images with different angles. I decided to sit on top of a wobbly toilet and shoot down over him. I wanted him to make eye contact with me and just interact with the environment and items around him, keeping the pose fairly natural and candid. 

POST PRODUCTION | This is definitely one of the more simple edits I have done. Right off the bat I knew I wanted the image to lean more towards the green/yellow side. I wanted the image to feel grungy and dirty. So most of the work in post was perfecting the color while keeping the skin tones neutral but on the warmer side. Not much retouching went into this aside from removing unnatural streaks on the bathtub and his arms that just seemed too much.


Here is the final image:

On to the next one...




The Journey

I have been a photographer for about seven or eight years now; professionally, just over five years. I honestly don't know when and how my passion for photography formed. After my family and I moved from England to Colorado, my father decided to buy a whole lot of camera gear. All that I can remember is always wanting to take photographs and videos with this camera everywhere I went. From there it evolved into a love for portrait photography and photojournalism. In high school, I was on the yearbook staff and in many of the art clubs. Junior year I had started my own small photography business by photographing families, senior portraits, and weddings. By my senior year, I had skipped over three photography course levels and was submitted to the college level AP-2D Studio Art course that was offered. I was head photography editor of Castle View High School's award-winning yearbook as well as the President of our photography club. Looking back at that now, that's all pretty bad-ass. Photography had taken over my life and I was perfectly okay with it.

Once I got to college, the immense amount of confidence that was built up throughout high school had completely dissipated. That is a hard thing to lose so quickly. Now, I was studying photography at the University of Colorado Denver and was taking a couple intro photography courses but I had stopped freelancing and ultimately stopped shooting things I cared about. I started to compare the mediocre work I was creating to other photographers that were clearly ahead of me. I genuinely resented myself, I was very unhappy with where my photography career was headed and I really wanted to give up and search for something else. I was overwhelmed and confused. As I am writing this, I am starting to realize that this is actually something very few people knew about. Because I was painted as "one of the best photographers people knew,” this made me subconsciously big-headed. I felt as if I needed to exceed expectations, and because I knew that wasn't happening and I wasn't getting any better, my confidence was shattered. I knew I needed to do something about this, but it took a while for me to actually put my mind to it.

About a year and a half passed and I made the decision to drop everything and move to Chicago, attend the school Columbia College Chicago, and just completely start over. I needed the new environment, I needed different people and artists in my life and I needed another chance. With the advice from my good friend and fellow photographer, Sean Hagwell, I rid most of the work and ended up with only four of my best images in my portfolio. I told myself that I was only going to do work that I wanted to create and start re-branding myself as the photographer I wanted to be. This was an incredibly hard thing for me to do with still having zero confidence in myself and disliking almost every photo I took. 

Lack of confidence has been a huge factor in my work and business for the past three years, and it has taken its toll. But, during this past month, I overcame, and I am finally at a place where I am confident in myself and the work I do. Confident enough to share my thoughts, share what I know, and share what I learn. I have always loved inspiring people and supporting people and it's something I hope to always do. I have realized that I am good at what I do and that I need to just take that and continue to learn and grow and become the best I can be. I am no longer shy when shooting, I always have an idea of what I want and I am not afraid to share that idea. I have embraced my passion.

So where am I going from here? As of now, I am at a point where I am deciding what I truly want to focus on with photography. I do so many different photography styles but have found a reawakened love for portraiture. I have also found a new love editing and retouching as well as fashion and commercial photography. I work a lot and I absolutely love it. I am excited to see where this photography journey will take me. I am hoping that through my photography and this blog I inspire other photographers of all levels. I want this to become an outlet for me to share what I do and how I do it, as well as sharing anything else photography related going on in my life. I hope these posts can spark conversation and inspire.