Project:  Wounded Healers (Book Cover)

Date:  07.2014

Client:  Carmine 'Blast' Azzato

Summary:  I was excited when Carmine Azzato approached me to work with him on the book cover for Wounded Healers.  He had a clear concept in mind, so I put together a plan to bring his concept to reality.  As I looked at his mock-up, two things jumped out at me:  1.)  We were going to have to work real hard to match the lighting, and angles of each portrait, in order to maintain a level of symmetry; and 2.)  I wanted to mimic the glow of the cross in the lighting for the portraits.  Below are some highlights of how we went from concept to final product. 

Concept

Carmine's Wounded Healers Book Cover Concept Carmine gave me this to show me exactly what he was looking for in the final product.  One key element was that he wanted not an exact profile but wanted his face turned just slightly in part to show more of the color on the opposite side of Blast's face.  

Carmine's Wounded Healers Book Cover Concept

Carmine gave me this to show me exactly what he was looking for in the final product.  One key element was that he wanted not an exact profile but wanted his face turned just slightly in part to show more of the color on the opposite side of Blast's face.  

Initial Lighting Diagram This was my initial lighting diagram.  Except for ultimately pulling out the white fill card we ended up sticking pretty close to this diagram.  We did later turn his chair and body toward the camera a few degrees.  The big challenge was that we had to flip the entire setup to get the other side of his face, so that left was left, and right was right.

Initial Lighting Diagram

This was my initial lighting diagram.  Except for ultimately pulling out the white fill card we ended up sticking pretty close to this diagram.  We did later turn his chair and body toward the camera a few degrees.  The big challenge was that we had to flip the entire setup to get the other side of his face, so that left was left, and right was right.

Self Portrait Test Shot This was my test of the lighting setup.  Going blind, and using a remote to trigger the camera, it took some time to get the angles and the fill to work.  I think I got it.

Self Portrait Test Shot

This was my test of the lighting setup.  Going blind, and using a remote to trigger the camera, it took some time to get the angles and the fill to work.  I think I got it.

Test & Mock-up of Carmine's Concept  For fun, giggles, and so that I had something with which to sit down with Carmine, and Sindy Feagan (his graphic artist), I did a full mock-up in Photoshop, even going so far as to Photoshop the Blast make-up onto myself for the full effect.  Carmine wanted a slight angle on the profiles, wanted the faces flip-flopped, wanted the faces to have unique expressions, and of course wanted real make-up.  This helped us solidify the concept, and make things run much smoother on production day.  

Test & Mock-up of Carmine's Concept 

For fun, giggles, and so that I had something with which to sit down with Carmine, and Sindy Feagan (his graphic artist), I did a full mock-up in Photoshop, even going so far as to Photoshop the Blast make-up onto myself for the full effect.  Carmine wanted a slight angle on the profiles, wanted the faces flip-flopped, wanted the faces to have unique expressions, and of course wanted real make-up.  This helped us solidify the concept, and make things run much smoother on production day.  

Planning & Production

Whiteboard Plan for Production Knowing there were critical check list items that we had to cover, and knowing that once he put the make-up on we couldn't go back, I planned things out on the day of the shoot so that we could make sure to cover all of our bases.  I made some lighting level adjustments the night before in further tests, and we were able to dial it in fairly easy at the shoot. 

Whiteboard Plan for Production

Knowing there were critical check list items that we had to cover, and knowing that once he put the make-up on we couldn't go back, I planned things out on the day of the shoot so that we could make sure to cover all of our bases.  I made some lighting level adjustments the night before in further tests, and we were able to dial it in fairly easy at the shoot. 

Production Setup for Shoot (1) I always get so into shooting that I almost forget to take behind the scenes shots.  However, I did snap a few before the shoot.  Unfortunately, because we needed to do Carmine's right side first, we had to flip the whole set right from the start.  

Production Setup for Shoot (1)

I always get so into shooting that I almost forget to take behind the scenes shots.  However, I did snap a few before the shoot.  Unfortunately, because we needed to do Carmine's right side first, we had to flip the whole set right from the start.  

Production Setup for Shoot (2) I had an SB700 behind the the Westcott RapidBox Octo.  I'm not a huge fan of the light that comes out of this.  It's not smooth, even with the beauty dish reflector inside, and the diffusion.  However it did the trick.  For the rim light I used an SB400 as a rear/rim light, with a gobo, to keep the light from spilling onto the lens.  Pocket Wizard TT1 & TT5s triggered my speed lights, and the AC3 Zone Controller by Pocket Wizard is invaluable.  I don't have a light meter yet; however, I use a grey card (zoomed close and tight) to help me find my light level, so that I can tweak it to where I need it to get the right effect.    

Production Setup for Shoot (2)

I had an SB700 behind the the Westcott RapidBox Octo.  I'm not a huge fan of the light that comes out of this.  It's not smooth, even with the beauty dish reflector inside, and the diffusion.  However it did the trick.  For the rim light I used an SB400 as a rear/rim light, with a gobo, to keep the light from spilling onto the lens.  Pocket Wizard TT1 & TT5s triggered my speed lights, and the AC3 Zone Controller by Pocket Wizard is invaluable.  I don't have a light meter yet; however, I use a grey card (zoomed close and tight) to help me find my light level, so that I can tweak it to where I need it to get the right effect.    

Carmine 'Blast' Azzato Carmine does his own make-up, and couldn't be any steadier with his hand.  No need to Photoshop those lines.  He laid them straight on his own.  

Carmine 'Blast' Azzato

Carmine does his own make-up, and couldn't be any steadier with his hand.  No need to Photoshop those lines.  He laid them straight on his own.  

Shooting

Lori Sloderbeck We also took head shots of some of the team behind the book.  Lori is doing the writing.

Lori Sloderbeck

We also took head shots of some of the team behind the book.  Lori is doing the writing.

Sindy Feagan Sindy will be doing the cover design.  I'm handing my work over to her.

Sindy Feagan

Sindy will be doing the cover design.  I'm handing my work over to her.

Carmine Azzato And, well, Carmine, ...we went ahead and grabbed a quick head shot of him as well.  All these have been through post-processing.

Carmine Azzato

And, well, Carmine, ...we went ahead and grabbed a quick head shot of him as well.  All these have been through post-processing.

Carmine Azzato We dialed-in the lighting pretty quickly for this first shot.  We made sure the rear/rim light was going to give us enough to mimic the glow of the cross.  We dialed-up the Octo on the fill so that it didn't go too dark.  We paid keen attention to the angle of his face--allowing for just a hint of the rear eye.  We had Carmine focus on one 'point' so that we could replicate the lighting when we flipped the set.  

Carmine Azzato

We dialed-in the lighting pretty quickly for this first shot.  We made sure the rear/rim light was going to give us enough to mimic the glow of the cross.  We dialed-up the Octo on the fill so that it didn't go too dark.  We paid keen attention to the angle of his face--allowing for just a hint of the rear eye.  We had Carmine focus on one 'point' so that we could replicate the lighting when we flipped the set.  

Carmine 'Blast' Azzato By taking exact measurements, marking everything with gaffers tape, we were able to flip everything and duplicate the shot for Blast's right side.  We hit the lighting right on the money.  We worked several expressions and landed on this one.  I think our only shortcoming may be a slight tilt of the head that put the eyes at different angles (i.e., the left eye of Carmine appears higher than the right eye of Blast despite the fact that the top of the heads, and the bottoms of the chins are in line.  I guess we could have put his head in a vice, but that might have been a bit painful.  Although he's tough.  He could have taken it, and still smiled. 

Carmine 'Blast' Azzato

By taking exact measurements, marking everything with gaffers tape, we were able to flip everything and duplicate the shot for Blast's right side.  We hit the lighting right on the money.  We worked several expressions and landed on this one.  I think our only shortcoming may be a slight tilt of the head that put the eyes at different angles (i.e., the left eye of Carmine appears higher than the right eye of Blast despite the fact that the top of the heads, and the bottoms of the chins are in line.  I guess we could have put his head in a vice, but that might have been a bit painful.  Although he's tough.  He could have taken it, and still smiled. 

Post-Production

Wounded Healers Book Cover (Draft 1)

This is how it all came together.  I like the way this looks.  Even more, I like the fact that it came together exactly how Carmine (& Blast) imagined.  It's really cool how the glow of the cross seems to play on the rim lit faces.  I didn't know I'd be asked to recreate the cross, and the river from my original mock-up--I've not done much graphically in Photoshop, yet.  However, I think I pulled it off.  At least it resembles the look that Carmine wanted.   

Carmine 'Blast' Azzato (for signed 8x10s)

After we got the 'money shot' (so they say), we played around a little bit.  Carmine was hoping for a new shot that he could use for all the 8x10s he signs.  I snagged this shot in the nick of time.  I saw a bit of saliva stringing as he opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue, and I went for the shot and snagged it.  I cut Carmine out from his grey background and dropped him into some background shots that I keep around.  Originally I had him in front of brick, which was cool, but we opted for this version that leaves a nice neutral grey area that he can sign with a black Sharpie.  

Carmine 'Blast' Azzato (again)

I liked the brick version a bit better, so I just had to throw it in here.  It just won't work well for the 8x10s, because the bricks are too dark for his signature.

 

Results:  We were able to take Carmine 'Blast' Azzato's concept, and make it reality for his book cover.  I'm anxious to see it printed.  We matched the lighting for each of his two profiles.  We brought it all together by mimicking the glow of the cross on the rim of his two faces.  I even pulled-off some graphics with the cross and river.  And, we got Carmine a new shot for his 8x10s.  The next time you see Carmine, be sure and buy one of his 8x10s, right after you buy a copy of his book for yourself and a friend.  If I know Carmine, you'll truly be blessed, and your friends will be blessed, by what he has to say, about where the Lord Jesus Christ has led him.  It was an honor to bring my Creative eXpression into this project with Carmine 'Blast' Azzato.  If you have a creative idea for a book cover, album cover, poster, web page, or some other endeavor, ...please contact me, and let's make it a reality too.