Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Another last-minute shoot

A quick case study about a shoot from last week, which came at the very last minute from a long-standing client of mine...

Complicated story cut short, I received a phone call on Friday. The details about what was required seemed clear enough - shoot and supply a set of simple head-and-shoulders portraits for use in a forthcoming report. This was as much a surprise to them as it was to me, having already been confronted with a set of images depicting people which "look like they've just escaped from prison." Not a good look.

Thankfully, I had already met some of these people in the past and knew that this really wasn't a fair reflection on them, rather it was a reference to the fact that their current 'portraits' were most likely unflattering, 'rabbit caught in the headlights,' point-and-shoot snaps. Again, not a good look.

To top this off, everything - words, pictures, layout - had to be ready for publishing in less than a week, meaning all images needed to be edited and ready to go at their London office first thing on Monday morning (yesterday).

This is not an unusual amount of pressure for me. It happens all the time, so I immediately knew the setup I would use. And, knowing the sort of office space I would likely be setting up in, my choice of kit was instinctive.

So, here's the 'studio' space we took over for a couple of hours. A fairly typical boardroom affair, it came with an instant backdrop and soft back lighting in the form of large windows and blinds:

Arriving in plenty of time, I tested a few angles to see which window would work best, and decided on the furthest right (as viewed in the picture above). The next stage was to conduct a few lighting tests, arranging first one then two halogen lamps, which would produce soft, flattering results with the minimum of shadow.

Stepping back from the scene, here's what it looked like. Notice how the middle blind is drawn closer to give the desired effect, while the two outer ones (and out of frame in the final images) were left more open to allow extra light to reach the subject:

You can see two of the results at the top of this post.

All said and done, my kit was set up, broken down and all images captured within the space of two hours. The editing process was completed when I got back to the office, followed by the upload and supply of all high resolution files, via my website, later that afternoon.

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