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Behind the Scenes at my Legal Rebel Photo Shoot

A few months ago, I got an email from the American Bar Association that said I was selected as one of their 2012 Legal Rebels. They acknowledge 10 members of the legal community each year for being innovative. The ABA selected me because of my knowledge and work in flash mob law. As a co-founder of Improv AZ, I’ve studied the legalities of flash mobs since 2009 – it encompasses criminal, tort, property, First Amendment, and intellectual property law. I was very honored and humbled to be selected.

The ABA needed a photo for my profile so they hired Phoenix photographer Don McPhee to take it. The ABA also sent me a pair of bright red Legal Rebel Converse sneakers and said they had to be somewhere in my photo. That was the end of their instructions to me. Don and I decided we wanted to shoot at the courthouses that had interesting architectural elements in downtown Phoenix. Don and I meshed well from the start.

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

Location #1: Maricopa County Superior Courthouse
Our photo shoot started at 6am on Friday, July 6th. I met Don and his assistant Max in front of the courthouse where there’s a large statue of a horse standing on a book. Even though I didn’t see any signs that said “Do Not Climb” or “Stay Off,” I knew we had limited time. I swung myself up into the saddle and we started shooting.

I think we took about 20 minutes worth of photos before we were approached by a security guard who said I couldn’t be up there for liability reasons. He informed us that we were on camera, which made me wonder how we lasted that long. We were respectful and explained what we were doing and that we did our due diligence before climbing onto the statue. When he saw that it was a legitimate photo shoot and that we were respectful he asked, “Did you get the shot you needed?”

We finished our shoot at that courthouse with pictures on the book and some cool metal pillars that stand in the courtyard. Even though it was early in the morning, I was nervous I’d see someone who knew me and would figure out what the shoot was for.

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

Location #2: Arizona Supreme Court
We took a lot of photos on the North side of the Arizona Supreme Court building. We started with some windows that were at ground level that led to offices in the basement. I sat on the ledge and Don worked various angles that incorporated my reflection in the glass. It was fun listening to Don and Max banter back and forth about lighting and angles. There were always looking for opportunistic shots. Don also explained a lot to me about body positions that feel awkward when you’re doing them but look awesome on film.

Next we moved to the stairs which I think was when we hit the court security’s radar. He had a cigarette and watched us work and he only stopped us when I tried to stand on a tall wall. I suspect he thought I was a kid taking their senior portraits. I don’t know many lawyers who show up for a professional photo shoot in jeans and a t-shirt.

Location #3: Phoenix Convention Center
Our last stop was the 3rd floor of the Phoenix Convention Center, North building to shoot my video for the ABA. It’s the same place I took the Arizona Bar Exam last summer. The convention center has beautiful architectural elements. Don and Max were meticulous about the placement of my chair and the lights. It took a while to set it all up, but it was worth it. The ABA sent me a question to answer to go along with my profile. We did four takes and we were done. Don said it came out great. I didn’t want to see it because I feel weird when I watch myself on camera.

I had a blast at my photo shoot with Don and Max. I highly recommend Don McPhee photography to anyone who needs professional photos. I’ve shared more of the photos from my shoot on Carter Law Firm’s Facebook page.

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  1. […] probably also enjoy Ruth’s blog post describing her photo shoot for the ABA Journal.) Ruth Carter (photo by Don […]