Russ Talks #9: Russ Harrington vs. the Portrait “Rules”

Russ Talks #9: Russ Harrington vs. the Portrait “Rules”

What happens, Photographer, when you arrive on location, you have extremely limited time, and the setting is wrong? Russ Talks episode #8 finds Russ Harrington again in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with photographer Heather Beadles.

Russ Harrington & Heather Beadles

Russ & Heather Beadles

Heather recently asked Russ to spend a day in her studio, shooting her clients, with her equipment. Their adventure led Russ to an Olympic-Champion, now wrestling coach, at Oklahoma State University. The day allowed Heather–and now us–the chance to see how Russ responds to traditional portrait photography “rules.”

You’ll also hear a behind-the-scenes conversation about Russ’ vision when he walks into a new studio.

  • How does he see it differently?
  • What 2 tips does he offer for using the backgrounds you already own?
  • You have large light-modifiers that aren’t sculpting as well as they should. Russ’ solution?
  • Russ Harrington’s advice to portrait photographers that he hasn’t met yet.
  • Why is flash recycle time so critical to Russ?

See more of the work that Heather is doing on her WEBSITE, on INSTAGRAM, or on FACEBOOK.

And be sure to follow Russ by clicking the logo:

Russ Harrington


Finally, here is a brief excerpt from my conversation with Heather and Russ. As I ask Heather about her continuing quest for education, I then ask . . .

BILL: What did you want? Why did you do it? You’ve got a good thing going–it’s not that you’re a novice at this. What did you hope to gain from bringing Russ to spend the day with you at your studio?

HEATHER: After studying with so many different Master Photographers: Greg Daniel, William Branson, Tim Kelly, Elizabeth Homan, Tim Walden, Ken Whitmire . . . I’ve studied with so many amazing Master Photographers and you learn their way of lighting. You learn the PPA rules of lighting and posing . . . . I know the rules, I’m a Certified Professional Photographer. When you learn from so many different people that have amazing photography–you have to translate that back to your studio. I just needed someone to come and help me work with [my gear] in my space and Russ did that. He challenged me to get out of the box and to even MOVE the box–literally move the soft boxes to a different spot and choose a different soft box just to help me get out of the groove of I have what I have been taught. He basically broke all the rules.

RUSS: My goal is to get 12 or 13 differently lit scenario locations of an artist. The 700 or so album covers I’ve shot, I’ve became known for: When we leave this shoot, the merchandising people are gonna be happy, the designers are gonna be happy, the A&R people, the promotions people–everyone’s gonna have these different images that they can promote the artist for a year or 18 months. I just became known for “I’m gonna break rules . . . .” I did a Tim McGraw record with two fluorescent lights from a K-Mart, and we put them on an old bus in Pennsylvania. And that was the album cover. Lit with two $10 shop lights.


Texas School of Professional Photography

Russ Harrington, Heather Beadles, & Tony Corbell

Russ Harrington, Heather Beadles, & Tony Corbell


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