Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Eliot is a Genius

Yesterday, Monday, I had a shoot out in Concord - about a freeway exit or so from where I bought my computer, actually. I was to photograph the owner of Proclaim Promotions:

This may look like a simple shot, unless you know the environment: Proclaim's large format ink-jet printers are jammed into an area of the warehouse that is protected from dust from above and sides. Interior dividers (just out of sight above subject's head) cut the ceiling area into four sections, so that light from one section does not spread into the next section.

The tight space precluded me from using one light in each section, and I also needed to be able to set up quickly for varied shots: printers, interior work area, external area, conference room. I could not be wasting the owner's time moving and setting up my lighting gear.

The ambient light (fluorescents) were way too dim and poorly placed to get both a good image of Proclaim Promotion's owner Bill Welland with the wide format printers.

Instead I used two battery-powered, light-weight flashes on light-duty light stands. As usual, I used a wireless remote attached to the camera to set off the flashes.

Notice that he is lit from the side, giving a more three-dimensional quality to his face. That light was positioned to light two sections of the ceiling to create the good portrait lighting. The area behind him was lit by a flash out just out of picture range, set below the partition height. It was aimed across the room so that the both printers behind the subject would be lit. Since these are the printers that produce Proclaim's most important products, the printers' importance demands that they be well lit. Given the baffles, low ceiling and tight quarters, it took some finesse to get the little light to cover the background so evenly.

My client, BizX in Seattle selected five images for their web page and monthly magazine.

More interesting than the technical details, and far more interesting than a straightforward business portrait for a mainstream-style company magazine, was how it felt to be at Proclaim Promotions.

Every employee I met there was not just "nice," but happy, relaxed, easy-going. I made a huge faux-pas (to be discussed in another post) and they still were nice to me. One of their computer guys was generous with his time, explaining technical details that fascinated me.

As I told Bill, I know he is a good boss because everyone I met there was friendly, happy and polite.

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