May 12, 2020

On Assignment…Challenges vs. Obstacles

I want to talk about making a great image every time you pick up your camera.

For freelance photographers, it’s a way of life. Either you are good at it, or you need to find another line of business.

Here’s what I’m trying to communicate.

I was hired to make a portrait for an upcoming ad campaign. I showed up with all of my gear and a lot of enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, the subject I was to photograph was in charge of a huge event for the students. I was going to be given just a few short moments to make a portrait.

Fortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Working with celebrities taught me to think fast and be ready to improvise.


So, here’s what I did.

I sent my subject back to her duties and told her I would send for her shortly.

Then, I looked around and saw the outside of the their building had the name of their company and made a nice shape. Not the best surroundings with a light pole and the freeway nearby but the sun was shining on the logo, good start.

I setup a single flash with an umbrella to soften out the harsh shadows and lighting that the direct morning sun was making, but it was working for the background(remember the building and the logo?).

Now I was ready for my subject. I promised that I would only need her for about tow minutes.  I placed her near the upper left area of convergence since the client requested it, to leave room for copy down the right side of the image(also to hide the big ugly light pole, too). This left room to crop or leave space on the camera left side of the frame. After about 10 frames, I told her that she could return to her job.

Here’s the final image, ready to send to the client. The light pole at the bottom right will be obscured by the copy on the final ad.

You might also like reading Your Questions Answered – Topics From My Readers

Now, was this the client’s fault?

Definitely not!

Every photo shoot presents different challenges that need to be overcome by the photographer. That’s the fun. Some see this as to stressful. I see it as another chance to show off my problem -solving skills.

There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as wowing the client when they see the final image.

I think one of the best tricks/tips is to think about the possibilities and not the limitations of each situation.

Related Blog Post: Interview with Autumn Harrison

Here I was surrounded by hundreds of students in scrubs(it’s a medical school) and I was asked to photograph a support person, not a student. So, my challenge was to show that she was a part of the school but not in a traditional way. The building was a unique shape that lent itself to a photo.

Finally, I did give the client options by shooting the scene in a vertical orientation, too. I hope this will help you to think on your feet, to think about solutions and not reasons why you can’t make a good image and will help you to challenge yourself to make great images every time.

Till next time.

Be inspired!

Related Article - Become a #ProductivityNinja in 10 Efficient Steps ~ Day 8: Facebook