Leigh Anne Tuohy

Leigh Anne Tuohy - The Blind Side

There are several stories in this press release, I got to shoot an incredible woman who is inspiring millions; I got to use my talents as a photographer to shoot Leigh Anne in an incredible portrait session that captured her love, emotion, and vision; and I got to use my talents that hopefully will help make a difference in someones life through purchasing Leigh Anne’s new book, as she is giving the profits to help young kids in need.

Earlier this year I had the honor of photographing Leigh Anne Tuohy, the inspiration behind the world acclaimed movie “The Blind Side” featuring Sandra Bullock. The photographs were used for Leigh Anne’s new book – Making it Happen, and for use on her website banner. The book is available online at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kindle and Nook. I received a call from her publicist in Hollywood asking I was available to do a session with Leigh Anne, and suggested we shoot in her home rather than the studio to give the session a lifestyle look. Shooting on location has some challenges, bringing lots of lighting and photography gear into someones home can be a huge undertaking. For this session I originally planned to use four 1k fresnels, scrims and flags, mixed with several flash units, but after scouting the house for the best locations, I was able to harness the sun by bouncing in through a huge picture window in Leigh Anne’s living room. The house was facing in the perfect direction to bounce in the bright, full sun. The outdoor reflector was a 4×5 oblong silver reflector mounted on a Cstand and angled to a precise spot in the room, from there I was able to set up another 4×6 california sun bounce reflector to soften the sunlight and gently light Leigh Anne for two separate locations in the room. I also used a third reflector to catch some side light and backlight.

I’ve shot with fresnels for years, but when I can use the power of the sun to shoot, I’ll opt for that. For a typical movie set shoot, I’ve used several 2k fresnels, but that requires lots of diffusion, extra power sources, and can take an hour to set up. Later in the afternoon we moved outside to a shaded area and again bounced a nice fill light from the massive 4×6 frame reflector on her to help the image pop a bit more than available light. For the cameras I used a Canon 5d and Canon 5d Mark II with a Canon 50 mm f 1.2 prime lens and outdoors I used a Canon 70-200mm f 2.8 IS lens. For both lenses I always shoot at f 2.8, and vary the shutter speed to achieve the perfect exposure. I also shoot at ISO 800, which helps act as a fill for darker backgrounds and shaded outdoor areas. I spent about 4 hours on location with my assistant, a makeup artist and a hairstylist, along with Leigh Anne’s assistant and her daughter Collins, who help style some of the shots with me. I find having someone that knows the subject is very helpful, they help point out personal details about the subject that I may not know about, like their favorite camera angle, and it helps the subject be a bit more relaxed, and having Collins on the shoot was a big plus. (Note: The photo of Sandra Bullock shown is not one of my photos, it is a theatrical movie poster image.) Below is one of my images from Leigh Anne Tuohy’s new book cover, using a shot from the session, click on the photo below to visit www.leighannetuohy.com