For the past few years, I’ve been working with Sacramento Magazine photographing the area's top attorneys. This is a yearly supplement, and on average I have about 25 firms I have to photograph in a 45-day span. I genuinely enjoy meeting the different attorneys, and visiting their offices. There are several challenges that come with this type of assignment. If it’s a group shot, it’s very difficult to get everybody to one place at the same time for very long. Often I only get about eight to ten minutes with the full group. And in some cases, I have to photograph the group missing someone and add that person in later. If I know this ahead of time it is definitely workable, and I can leave spaces in the group for the missing person.
Another challenge is to find the best location for my client. People are always looking to have a fresh image, and for years attorneys have used their libraries, and bookshelves as a background. This has been done time and time again. I try to steer them away from this, providing them with a background more suited for their personality.
When photographing individual attorneys I try to have two locations I can work with quickly. Again these individuals are extremely busy and I often only get between eight and fifteen minutes with them. You have to assess the environment, and lighting quickly to create your plan. A few years back I started having the images sent to my iPad as I shot. This has been a huge help in selecting the final image, ensuring my client is happy with the product that I’m producing.
This week presented all of these challenges. The attorney I was photographing wasn’t going to be available at first, but then found the time last minute, giving me only a short time to get over to the firm and determine my plan. It needed to be outside at twelve noon, which is difficult light to work with. After walking around the perimeter of their office I discovered a wonderful wall, that had aged black marks on it.
Using my scrim overhead I found it created a very nice light as my base layer. I then added in my Phottix Indra 500 light with the wide-angle diffuser and grid attached.
I got the exposure that I wanted on the wall first. Then I adjusted the output of the light to match the ambient exposure, giving me the illumination desired.
I was able to make 27 images in about five minutes. From an equipment standpoint, having my lights on my portable battery pack is tremendously useful. If I had tried to find plugs for my lights it would’ve taken me much longer, and I might’ve lost time photographing the attorney.