If you don’t know, Art Ketchum was my mentor and friend. I miss Art every day and will always be indebted to him for opening my eyes to photography.

Art was always straight laced and honest in everything he did. Even when he ripped apart a photo of yours, he did it with a Grandfathers approach that didn’t terribly destroy you, but let you know that you could do better, that he expected better from you. Amazing feeling it is, to have someone of Art’s stature and value in the world, demanding more from you. It is my hopes that I instill even a fraction of that in my students.

Art taught me lighting ratios. He lived by them and his favorite ratio was a 3:1 setup. Art often used five lights:

Key light: Giant Softbox with setting of f/8
Fill light: Medium Softbox with setting of f/4.5
Hair light: X-small softbox with setting of: f/8 – f/16 (pending model hair color)
Back drop light: Parabolic reflector with 20degree grid f/8
Rim light: flagged with black cardboard: f/5.6

While this setup sounds simple, it’s pretty difficult as it requires expert metering, patience and awareness of your shooting environment. One is required to be mindful of the hair light and the backdrop light to know where the client should be at all times. This five light setup is amazing because it gives you professional quality photos every single time as well as giving you a unique look. The task I had was “borrowing” Art’s style and adding my own.

Here are a few photos I got with Art’s setup:

And here are a few of my own. My style borrows from Art greatly, with a few extra lights and reflectors thrown in to make it my own look:

Always create your own style! I would do a huge disservice to Art if I were to totally steal his style and not create my own.

9/11 Never forget.

Originally posted 9/11/2012

Leave a Reply