Portraits like them or not, but as a press photographer and photojournalist, Kent they are my bread and butter.
I’m not talking about your nice and leisurely studio based affair where you get as long as you want to get some stunning images. No I’m talking about turning up somewhere where you have never been and have to get something that’s printable in a very short space of time.
This month I have taken around 10 – 15 and the total time for all of them is probably no more than 40 – 50 minutes tops. That’s about 4 minutes or so each including getting the exposure and lighting right!
That, by the way, is not a boast. Its just a statement of fact and an illustration of the timescales and pressure that even a provincial press photographer in Kent, such as me, face on a daily basis. The reason for this is that a picture desk will load you up to fill your day out so you might have a job at 9:00 in one town and another at 9:45 in another which is a 20 minute drive away. Which is fine as its part of the job and its something you learn to to. You just learn to read whats around you and develop a kind of spooky third ‘lightometer’ sense.
So how do I combat this? Honestly its a case of making quick decisions on the spur of the moment or make it up as you go along. Don’t get me wrong I don’t make up the image I want at the end. But how I get that can sometimes vary greatly. Normally a CB flash bracket lives on my camera. 8 out of 10 times this is all you need for on the hoof work.
I’ll also have a light stand and extra flash at the ready. I live and die by my Canon 600 RT flashes as it means I can, without any bother or hassle have an off camera flash without hassle and faff! I also have a ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter. So I can get two flashes hidden away and still not have to walk over to them to make exposure changes. It sounds lazy but it all adds up and takes my already dwindling time even less.
In the pouring rain where speed is of the essence as those nice smiles your clients have wont last indefinitely. It will normally diminish the wetter they get!
Learn how to bounce your flash. In houses most ceilings are white and are the biggest light diffusers you will have to hand.