Joseph O. Holmes’ Projectionist Portraits


©Joseph O. Holmes

joseph o. holmes - projectionist

As theaters eschew film projectors in favor of digital ones, the movie theater projectionist will become a thing of the past. Photographer Joseph O. Holmes has embarked on a project to document this quickly-disappearing profession.

He writes not only is the lighting inside the projection booths dim, but it’s also pretty awful looking. He brings his own light into these spaces in the form of a softbox and Nikon speedlights, and, if his son isn’t available to assist, he holds the softbox himself and triggers his camera remotely using his PocketWizard FlexTT5® and MiniTT1®.


©Joseph O. Holmes

Holmes also sent us these details on the series:

“These were all shot with a single Nikon SB-800 flash through a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite softbox using a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and AC3 ZoneController on my Nikon D800 and a MiniTT1 on the flash. I shot them with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 24mm f/1.4. I shot all these on manual exposure, first setting the ambient exposure and then shooting a couple test shots with the flash, using the AC3 to dial the manual power level on the SB-800 up and down until it looked good.”

View photos from the project on PetaPixel and on Holmes’ site.


©Joseph O. Holmes


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©PetaPixel and Joesph O. Holmes, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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2 Responses to “Joseph O. Holmes’ Projectionist Portraits”

  1. alec himwich says:


    I have a miniTT1 and Flex TT5 and an Einstein, two 1600 WhiteLightnings and 1 800 WhiteLightning. My camera gear is all Nikons, D800E and D3S.

    I cannot for the life of me figure out to to use hypersync to get some of sort of portraits you show here.

    I have been trying to emulate the technique described in

    Any suggestions or links to useful sources would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Alec Himwich

    • Ron Egatz says:

      HyperSync is greatly dependent on the shutter mechanics of the camera you are using and flash duration of the flashes you use. I recommend reviewing the PW Blog posts by Chris Garrison and Tom Bol. Also check out the PW Wiki manual for best settings for your combined system. That said, I believe the White Lightenings will do the best as they have the longer flash duration. The Einstein is likely to be the least effective due to a very short flash duration. The Nikon F3s is likely to have the fastest times as experienced by Chris Garrison. The subject matter used by Mr. Holmes did not require a shutter speed faster than 1/250, as the ambient light was relatively low. Working outdoors against brighter daylight will require reducing the exposure time (shutter speed) and amount (aperture) greatly to produce the “spotlight” effect he doing here.