We got ‘In the BUFF’ with lifestyle and fashion photographer, Gregory Keith Metcalf! Shedding light on his inspirations, style, and more, Metcalf shares with us his influences, creative process, and how he went from hobby to profession with Paul C. Buff, Inc.
What sparked your interest in photography?
Oh man I was always interested in photography. When I was a child, I would look through my grandparents old photo albums and study the pictures. I would try and figure out how photos were made. Once I was a bit older I got a simple point and shoot camera that went on every adventure with me until college. My first job was actually in a photo lab, so somehow photography has been with me since the beginning. I’m so grateful that I was able to make a career out of my passion.
What made you choose Paul C. Buff, Inc. for your studio strobe needs?
I love Paul C. Buff, Inc. lights because they are lightweight, reliable, and powerful. I experimented with them in a studio space and since then, they have been my go to lighting.
When did photography turn into a business for you?
The first time I deposited a check for my art. That check was deposited in 2010.
Do you have a “Go To” lighting setup?
I love using the Einstein light on one side of me, positioned a little higher than my height, I’m 6’1”. I use a Foldable Octabox to spread the light and soften my shadows. I will either fill with a bounce board or an AlienBees flash unit in the distance.
What’s your creative process leading up to a shoot?
It really depends on the shoot. For a fashion shoot, I will put together mood boards based on the clients needs. Then working closely with the editor and stylist refine the mood boards for lighting, styling, hair, make-up, location, set-design, post-post-production, etc.
When working with a new musician, I love to sit and chat with them, listen to their album, and get a sense of their vibe. I love bringing what they are conveying in words into a photograph.
What/who influences you and your work?
I tend to look back at iconic fashion photographers like Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, and Herb Ritts. They really speak to my aesthetic and vibe. I love classic mixed with a bit of edge or drama.
What would be your dream photoshoot?
The Cover of Vogue Magazine, American, Italian, all of them!
Is there a photographer, either past or present, that inspires you?
I mentioned above that Hemut Newton, Avedon, and Herb Ritts inspire me greatly. I also love looking at Ruven Afanadors work, There is always so much texture and life to his photographs. I also love Mario Testino and Ellen Von Unwerth.
Do you have a favorite photograph you’ve taken so far in your career?
I have so many favorites. When I am looking at my work, I think about the experience, the people involved, the day of the shoot, and all the other details that made a particular photograph come to life. My favorites change from day to day, but there are definitely some that stick out.
What advice would you give a photographer that is just starting out with off-camera flash?
Because I am so interested and driven by the movement of light, I would say experiment. The on camera flash does not always need to pointed directly at your subject. Use it in all ways! Use it as a fill light to the sun, manipulate the light, bounce it. On camera flashes are sources of light, don’t be afraid to use it!
What are your goals for the future?
See above question regarding my dream shoot, haha! In addition to reaching my goal of shooting for Vogue; I am in the process of opening my own studio where I plan to continue to grow my body of work, offer some educational classes, a place for independent artists to shoot, and outreach in my community.
Photos by: Gregory Keith Metcalf
About Gregory Keith Metcalf
As a young boy I was always surrounded by photography in some way. I would look through my grandparents old photos fascinated by how pictures were made. I always had a camera in my hand, constantly taking photographs of anything and everything. Today, I’ve turned my childhood passion, fascination and natural curiosity into the work that I love. Combining my art with my other interests such as fashion, music and travel is where I find the complete happiness.
Gregory Keith is a native Californian and currently resides in Los Angeles.
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