This recent shoot for the children’s cancer charity, Young Lives vs Cancer, was a fun day out at Wimbledon Park Athletics track.
Using four character models from Uglies and a couple of client volunteers, we set about shooting a suite of images to be used in fundraising promotions.
I have worked for this fantastic charity, previously called CLIC Sargent, for over 15 years. Over this period, the photography style has changed a number of times, and luckily, I’ve been asked to stay on board and help develop and refine each of these changes.
About five years ago, as part of a brand overhaul, the photography style changed radically from a storytelling reportage approach to a stylised studio portrait look.
Earlier this year, Senior Creative Director Bryan Meredith wanted to take this strong lighting style and apply it to some location scenarios to illustrate individuals’ personal stories.
Photographically, this shoot was a continuation of that journey.
The original brief for this board photography was to shoot a set of portraits set against different abstract architectural backgrounds within the Broadgate Estate.
Each director will be positioned within a location that has a distinctive architectural feature. The images will be used with a tight crop, so there should be distinct background interest close to the directors’ head and shoulders. The primary format is to be landscape.
The head and shoulders will be the focus, with the subject looking off-camera. A variety of expressions should be captured but not too smiley.
We organised a half-day recce with the art director and client, from which I produced a recce report outlining the best possible areas and available light ideas of what the portraits would look like. The art director wanted to have both the subject and background in focus. So although I knew we would have to deploy additional lighting, I was also aware that we had to be able to pack down and reset in a completely different location within 15 to 20 of each other. I decided to base my lighting around my Profoto B10 and B10 plus kits and to use the 3′ Gridded Octa as my main light source and umbrella’s as any secondary lighting. The final part of the jigsaw was to organise shooting the directors so that they appeared in different locations for each of the three-page spreads and make that work given the timetable we had to work to. The one bit of good fortune was that we had 30 mins with each person, giving me time to work with each individual and understand and express their personality. Although the original brief was to shoot everyone looking off-camera, a last-minute request asked me to shoot a few shots of everyone looking at camera… just in case. In the end, the client reverted to having the majority of people looking at camera, which are the selected images below. I still feel that it was a much stronger set with everyone looking off, but hey, I’m just the photographer.
Working with two assistants over two days, we shot the following set of images.
My daughter Sukey, get herself a nifty little gamine hair cut and with the aid of some watery late afternoon October sunshine, we headed out to grab some head shots. I know I’m biased, but I love the results.
It is a general rule of photography that the more planning that’s done before a shoot, the more successful the end result. It is also true that no matter how much planning is done, one needs to be prepared for the unexpected…. And sometimes jobs come in with such short lead-time, that you just need to jump straight in and sort things out along the way. Last week proved to be an example of the latter.
Working for Indivior PLC, a world leader in the treatment of opioid addiction, we had to photograph the CEO and Chairman at a Surrey location first thing Tuesday morning, travel back into London to set up for an evening shoot involving a case study patient at a studio in Brixton, and then drive to Germany first thing Wednesday morning, to shoot Dr Patric Bialas, a physician based at the Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg on the Thursday.
The brief was to shoot everybody full length on a white background with matching lighting across the set. The images were to portray a sense of energy and personality of each subject and reflect natural, candid and relaxed poses.
With less than three days to pull everything together and with final locations and patient details still to come in, it wasn’t until Monday afternoon that everything finally appeared to be in place and we set off to deepest Surrey do a pre-light for the following morning.
After the planning and logistics, comes encouragement, persuasion and coercion. To persuade and coerce the chairman of a PLC to let his guard down and perform in front of the camera. To encourage a shy, reluctant patient to express a natural, candid confidence. Then finally, with Patric our German doctor…. Well sometimes you just luck out!
The images below are my selections that expressed the true personalities once the guard was dropped.
After spending a really nice day together visiting ‘Grandad Whitstable’ and doing some portrait photography for her art project, my daughter Mally and I packed up the gear and headed back to London. We decided to take a detour along the sea front at Herne Bay to watch the sunset. As we soaked in nature’s visual feast, I grabbed this windswept shot.