Gage Thompson, There and Back Again

January 21, 2010

Located a half-hour south of Salt Lake City, Utah, Gage Thompson has known what he’s wanted to do for a living since taking photography classes in high school. While shooting black and white film for high school functions, Thompson got a part-time job working for Cory Adams, “a high-volume portrait photographer,” Thompson explains. “He shoots schools and Little League teams. He shot all-digital Nikons, so I was able to learn about that world there.”

©Gage Thompson. Key light: beauty dish directly above model. Rim: two large softboxes on either side of model. Background: one standard reflector.

The part-time job not only solidified Thompson’s goal of becoming a professional photographer, but also gave him practical digital workflow experience. Higher education was calling, and Thompson began researching schools. He decided on Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Graduating in the top ten percent of the Class of 2009, he’s returned to his hometown to begin his career as a professional photographer.

©Gage Thompson. Key light: two white umbrellas on either side.

Shooting a wide variety of subject matter from slick product photography to gritty portraits, Thompson sees himself shooting movie posters or other commercial work in the future. Shooting all-digital now, Thompson uses a Nikon D700 body after formerly using Canon products.

©Gage Thompson. Tripod used. Key light: two parabolics on either side of model at 45 degree angles behind for rim but allowed to hit in front of his face to illuminate the smoke.

Currently, Thompson finds himself shooting for clients such as a high-end real estate photography company and the Canyons, a ski resort where he’s often “shooting family portraits on top of a mountain,” he says.

©Gage Thompson. All natural light.

At Hallmark, Thompson got hooked on using the lighting trifecta of Profoto, PocketWizard and Sekonic. He also shot with Mamiya medium format cameras. As he continues to build his own gear collection, one item which won’t get replaced soon is his Sekonic L-758DR meter. “I quickly found the light meters in-camera try their best, but often fail,” says Thompson. “The 758 does a great job. It’s the one with the spot meter and the incident meter. It has so much to it, I haven’t even finished the manual yet. I use it to set up all my lighting gear. I pop off a few exposures to make sure the ratios are all good, and I’m set for the shoot. I rely on it. It saves time of me looking goofy taking test shots, for sure, and you get perfect readings. I’ve had for a year and no problems so far. If it can live through a year at Hallmark of everyone dropping it, it’ll keep working fine for me.”

©Gage Thompson. One large softbox above and slightly forward of watch. Two smaller softboxes in front at 45 degree angles to the product.

“I do enjoy shooting everything,” says our young photographer at the beginning of his career. “Opening a studio would be nice, where I can have all my gear and do product photography or fashion work. My latest project is a 365 day shoot of self-portraits,” which can be seen on his blog.

©Gage Thompson. Tripod, Key light: beauty dish directly above model. Fill light: parabolic with white umbrella to camera left hitting torso. Foreground lighting: two 1x4 softboxes on either side of sweep hitting the foreground. BKG: two 3x4 softboxes on either side of background.

For now, Utah holds many photographic opportunities for Thompson. He honed his craft at Hallmark, and now the corporate clients and snowy slopes have called him back home. Stay tuned for more professional-caliber product photography and other assignments from a young talent simply interested in shooting everything.

All Thompson’s photos featured in this blog post were metered with the Sekonic L-758DR.

Gage Thompson Photography

Gage Thompson’s Blog

Gage Thompson on Twitter

Gage Thompson on Facebook

Gage Thompson on MySpace

Gage Thompson on Flickr

Written by Ron Egatz

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