Seeing what is around you in a unique way – Billy the Bartender

These photos were not what I had planned.  I was out for the evening to photograph D.J. Sean O’Grady at Tracks, which I did.  But I also happened to see Billy the bartender at the beer bar sitting on top of the bar and couldn’t resist the opportunity the scene presented.

In the first shot, I exposed it for the lighting provided by the beer signs allowing all but the fine line of light outlining his face and body to fall to darkness.  It was the closest to how the scene actually looked.

Denver Photographer

Billy the Bartender, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved.

On this next shot, I adjusted the exposure to allow more light on the dark side of his face.  I then double exposed the image with another shot of the lazar light hitting the disco ball for a dramatic effect.

abstract portrait

Billy the bartender, copyright Mark Stout

In the third image here, his attitude on top of the bar reminded me a bit of James Dean and black and white seemed quite fitting.  The black and white and some special blending to make it a bit more moody were done in post production on this one.  It has been the most successful of them all, in fact I have been quite surprised to see just how fast this black and white photo went viral.

Mark Stout Photography

Billy the bartender, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved

I have to say this. It wasn’t just a matter of “seeing” the shots and taking them.  It is also what I like to call the professional difference.  A professional both sees the “shot” others miss, he knows his equipment cold, what it will do, what it won’t do, how to push it to get something more creative without having to stop and think about it and where the controls are without having to look.  The end difference is measured in quantum leaps.

I want to close this with a thanks to Billy Upchurch.  What a fantastic subject he was.  These weren’t posed, it was just Billy being Billy at work and it couldn’t have all come together more perfectly.

Thanks Billy.