Metal and Glass: Patrick Heagney’s Sleek Portraits of Jezebel’s 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans
Patrick Heagney has plenty of experience photographing beauty in all forms in Atlanta. He’s even photographed Jezebel magazines 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans, Jezebel's biggest annual shoot, multiple times over the years.
My relationship has always been good with the magazine and the publisher, but it was my first time working with their new editor. Fortunately, we got along great and she did a wonderful job balancing direction and creative space for me.
Patrick specializes in editorial portraiture, and while his years-long track record with this client set him apart and instilled within the editor a certain level of confidence, his experience with fast-moving location shoots and ability to direct larger groups of people made him perfect for the job.
The magazine has adapted to the pandemic-induced decrease in ad revenue by shooting feature stories at specific locations, providing publicity for the properties and businesses located there.
This feature story was shot at Atlantic Station, an upscale mixed-use development in midtown Atlanta.
They had completed some new construction there recently and I was encouraged to feature that in the shots.
Luckily, they were areas Patrick would have chosen anyway, full of sleek, modern lines created by metal and glass.
The older parts of the retail areas feature a lot of brick, which is maybe my least favorite background.
With the locations hammered down, the subjects would all be young and classically attractive, but Patrick needed a way to keep the vibe edgy and interesting. He decided to find that edginess in the lighting, leaving behind his lovely, flattering mixture of hard and soft lights.
I decided on using only hard light from right above the camera to give the shots a crisp, almost paparazzi feel. It’s not an approach that I think would work for a lot of situations but I was really pleased with the results here.
Patrick likes keeping things dynamic and fluid. Shooting outdoors is itself a way to practice adaptability and spontaneity. Some of the locations he had scouted had to be abandoned because the sun had moved too quickly, while other locations were perpetually alternating between cloud coverage and bright rays beaming down from the heavens, changing the exposure every few minutes.
As frustrating as it can be at the time, I love how much the dynamic nature of outdoor shoots makes me stay on my toes.
A more constant frustration was the pandemic because, as we all know too well, even taking every precaution can still put you at risk. During this shoot they relied on a skeleton crew, everything was outdoors, socially distanced, and masks were required for everyone not on camera.
This was only a two-day shoot but after the first day I got a call that night informing me that there had been a positive test in the magazine’s office.
This meant that everyone who had been in the office in the last two weeks could not go to the next day's shoot, leaving the already-tiny crew shorter by four interns. The next day, the crew and Patrick kept even stricter distancing and all went to get tested, fortunately coming back negative.
It’s easy to get comfortable and slip into old habits on shoots but the current reality is that we all have to be constantly vigilant and make sure we are doing everything we possibly can to keep each other safe. Even if that means less chit chat, more shouting, and lonely lunches.
Of course, this shoot was more than just lonely lunches and shouting. There was also a giddy batch of the young and beautiful Atlantans who were not professional talent or very accustomed to being featured in widely known publications like Jezebel.
It was really fun to see how excited a lot of them were to be a part of a production and their enthusiasm was a great addition to the shoot.
See more of Patrick's work at patrickheagney.com.
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