BTS Breakdown: Comedian Jim Gaffigan

BTS Breakdown: Comedian Jim Gaffigan

Since last November I have been shooting a photo series titled 'Comedic Value' which consists of NYC comedians shot in NYC locations for NYC charity, Art-Start. Of the 25 comics featured in the project, 1 of my favorite shoots was with Jim Gaffigan and his fantastic family. When discussing concepts with Jim, he mentioned that he needed a shot of him and his kids for his new book, 'Dad Is Fat' which will be out next month. Knowing that Jim had 5 kids, the youngest being 8 months at the time, I figured that this shoot could end up going in any direction. I have a 3 year old daughter at home and I know how hard it is just to get her to sit still long enough to get some decent shots, so I couldn't imagine 5 all at once! Because of this I wanted to keep the lighting simple and straight up, but to light in a way that the kids could move around and still maintain consistent lighting throughout the shoot. Once we began shooting it was a breeze thanks to Jim's wife, Jeannie, who helped me direct the kids and moved them into place if they wiggled out of their spot.

The room we shot in was about 15'x10' so I didn't really have room for more than one light stand. I chose to go with a 60" diffused umbrella on a Profoto D1 just out of frame on the left for a soft key and to fill with a Profoto D4 ring flash, which saved floor space in the room and also gives a nice kiss in the shadows, creating a shot that is no longer soft from the key light but has a bit of crispness and vibrance. Check out the lighting diagram below and some of our favorite selections from the shoot. Enjoy!








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You should've stuck a box of Hot Pockets in there!

Good stuff

I've been noticing certain lighting setups that start with seemingly a dark scenario and add light, and the opposite being a pure white setting and add shadows and color. This is so good! I love the softness to the white. It really makes the subjects look sharp while retaining that soft feel. very nice.

Thanks Joshua, I like all that you say here ;)

I like it.

Just showed these to my 4 year old daughter and she laughed out loud. I'd say that's a good sign you were successful and it's a pretty sweet compliment!

thanks guys!

Fantastic work here....beautiful look!


very nice pictures, and a great comedian...


The only way to make him less white is to surround him in pure white... Perfect.

exactly! lol

Great job Corey!

Thank you sir!