Union 206 Studio: Old Town Alexandria

Union 206 is a premier full-service photography studio rental located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria.  The studio, owned by Charles Butler,  consists of two shooting facilities as well as rooftop space that overlooks the Potomac River.  Studio A is a 3000 sqft private studio space equipped with a 16′ x 16′ x 10′ cyc wall, a lounge, studio lights, a private dressing/make up room, & a separate studio designed for product photography.  Studio B  is a 3000 sqft raw warehouse space that offers an abundance of distressed & edgy environments. If you are not familiar with these facilities… you MUST check ’em out.  I recently signed on as a member & am psyched with all the possibilities that the studio offers.  Definitely haven’t found anything quite like it in the DC metro area.


Mmmmm… Mojitos: A Portable Studio


The images for this project were created “on location” at various restaurants around the DC metro area… thus required a practical & portable studio set up.  When dealing with cold drinks… it’s inevitable that the seamless will continually get wet & need to be replenished as one works.  To practically solve this need for LOTS of paper & portability… I decided to take a small hand saw to a 53″ white seamless and very gingerly saw it in half.  This conveniently yielded two 26″ rolls.  Nice and small… & more than I needed.  Anyway… here’s it goes:


1. 7″ Reflector – positioned directly behind the white seamless… thus acting as both a background and a diffused light source. This effect illuminates the drink like a slide on a light table.

2. Softbox (on a boom) – positioned directly overhead. Lowered further down than shown in this pic. This softly lights the garnish and fills shadows on the base of the paper.

General Colin Powell

This image of Colin Powell was created at his office in Old Town Alexandria. Knowing that our time with the General would be limited… my assistant & I arrived early and prepped all of our gear outside in the parking lot. Once we entered his office… we were armed with a plan and ready to shoot.

To achieve the intimacy and drama that my art director was looking for… I chose to light the General with one soft-box (camera right)… thus yielding very intense shadows (camera left). To make this work… I asked the General to take a seat at his conference table so I could shoot him from a slightly higher vantage point. It was just as important that the General angled his face up and to his left so I could position the height and angle of the soft-box to strike both eyes and sweep across his face.

Precisely after one minute of shooting (62 seconds to be exact)… the General cut us off and the shoot was over. Before I knew it… we were back in the parking lot breaking down our gear.

Colin Powell | Jonathan Timmes Photography

 Never in my career was I so thankful to have a plan and be prepared. In that short amount of time… we were able to pull together everything needed to make this image work and make my editor happy.