I was very excited to get the call from Scientific Galaxian to photograph their cover story on the new First Order Stormtroopers. With the First Order’s advances across the galaxy, the magazine wanted to shoot in the desert of Jakku for it’s symbolic connection to the fall of the Empire. My assistant Josh and I jumped on a freighter to the planet and scouted the area. We loved the infamous star destroyer remains and knew that had to be the place to go. We also needed to get some seamless shots so we set up in the hotel room outside the small village we stayed in.
Josh got to try on an extra helmet for our light test.
The troopers themselves were really cool, named FN-2187 and TK-1478, though we weren’t allowed to photograph them out of uniform.
Our second day we headed out at dusk to the Star Destroyer site. It was a tricky shot to get as we didn’t have much time to get the remnants of the sunset while still being dark enough for a star field. Luckily everything worked out perfectly. Unfortunately we needed to shoot the TIE fighters separately and add them in post.
Thanks again to Camie who brought us in on this great project! Final layouts are below.
Happy Star Wars Day. May the Force be with you!
Read also: Darth Vader Photo Shoot
Recently I got the opportunity to do a bit of a dream shoot. I was commissioned by SPACE Magazine to photograph none other than THE Darth Vader for his recent cover story. The logistics of making this happen were by far the most complicated production I have undertaken. It was decided that I would photograph him aboard his Star Destroyer Executor while it was stationed outside of the Corellian system. I was picked up in an Imperial Shuttle and taken to the ship, which was 40,000 light years away (thank God for hyper drives). We were greeted by a whole squadron of Stormtroopers which of course required the obligatory Stormtrooper selfie.
We found a quiet out-of-the-way hallway to set up lights and a white seamless for our shots as well as a few around some of the nooks and crannies of the ship.
Lighting Vader’s black dome was a significant challenge in itself. It reacts very different to light than the average human face. I was hoping he would be comfortable enough to let his guard down for a few shots without the mask but that was probably a bit overambitious on my part. I did get to play with one of the backup lightsabers though!
We ran through a few different poses and ideas and fit in as much as we could into our allotted 10 minutes. I have heard horror stories of photographers who overstepped their bounds and ended up doing labor in the Spice Mines of Kessel. Luckily I only lost one assistant who unwisely questioned the ways of the force.
In the end they chose this one for the cover and a few more for the feature article. Very excited to see this on stands across the galaxy!
Camera Nerd Info:
Phase One 640 DF+ with P40+ back and Schneider 80mm LS lens.
3 PCB Einsteins with various gels, soft boxes and reflectors.