Washingtonian: Best Resturants Cover Shoot

chris crisman washingtonian cover best resturants

When our good friends at Washingtonian called with an assignment to shoot the cover of their Best Restaurants issue, it was an easy sell to get our team on-board. Travel down to DC and spend a day working (and possibly eating) in one of the best restaurants the city has to offer? Make a handful of awesome photos and create a truly inspiring cover? Hangout with some very talented award winning creatives? Sounds like something right up our alley.

As usual, our task at hand was a bit more challenging than first glance – turn a bright sunlight day into a warm and inviting winter evening in a cozy brasserie. How did we do it? Keep reading for a look behind the scenes…

chris crisman washingtonian cover best resturants

Our story starts with the shoot location – Le Diplomate. A new french restaurant in DC from the Philadelphia restauranteur Stephen Starr, this place was a beauty before we even setup any lights. On our location scout we explored a handful of different options and vignettes within the restaurant, but ultimately settled on the very classic and recognizable red booths for our cover shot.

chris crisman washingtonian cover best resturants

Even though we were both very hard at work assisting, Jared and I decided to take a moment and enjoy some lunch. It is worth noting that the food on the table was very real and very tasty. If you don’t notice any bites missing from the final shot, just chalk that up to good retouching.

chris crisman washingtonian cover best resturants

On a slightly more serious note, we worked through a handful of options throughout the day, rotating our models into different roles and different possible stories to tell on the cover.

One story in particular proved to be a bit difficult than the rest – translating the daylight from our shoot into the winter evening we had concepted for the shot. As you can see from the shots above we had to black out the windows to prevent daylight from spilling into our scene. Blocking out the sun, mixed with the top heavy lighting we worked with inside of the restaurant got us to the mood and feel we ultimately needed.

chris crisman washingtonian cover best resturants

After we nailed the lighting and found the right mix of talent, all of the other pieces fell quickly into place. After getting our hero shot for the models, it was just a matter of waiting until the sun began to set and we captured the right exposure for the winter twilight outside.

We may make it sound easy, but this great cover wouldn’t have been possible without the excellent creative collaboration of everyone involved – we owe a big thanks to the talent, stylists, location, and of course the creative minds behind Washingtonian for making this happen. Sometimes you just need to name names – Michael, Diane, Jeff, and Kelci at Washingtonian, hair and makeup by Kim Reyes, styling by Kate Bennett; models Jonah Taylor, Eduarda Silva, Kevin Beavers, and Irina Bartell for T H E Artist Agency. Thanks again everyone!

Questions, comments? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

4 replies to “Washingtonian: Best Resturants Cover Shoot”

  1. Congrats on the cover!! This is an awesome shot! Also love the lighting. I just have quick question about the lighting. Based on what I see in the window reflection I see 4 maybe 5 lights is that correct? Are you using 2 lights on the subjects and table area? Just curious why 2 when using such a large modifier.

  2. So you nailed the talent indoor light then waited for the sun setting exterior – is this a composite then?
    Great shot-great blog on it, thanks.

  3. Hey Joe, thanks for the question. We used 4 lights in that shot – 2 hair-lights outside (one for each subject) and 2 main lights inside the restaurant. The reason for two is that one of the octabanks has a grid which was channeling the light very specifically onto the models (to mimic overhead top down light). The other octa was functioning as more of an overall fill light.

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