I can think of no better element in a photo shoot than creative freedom and trust. I had precisely that in my shoot for Barron’s / Wall Street Journal last week in Atlanta. Annie Chia, the photo director, sent me a handful of photos of music groups such as Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, and the Velvet Underground as direction for my session with the three investments consultants. The shoot was already off to a great start.
I was to shoot individual portraits as well as a group shot. Since I live in Columbus, Ohio and couldn’t scout the location in person, I asked them to send me photos of any room or area in the building that had a white or neutral wall. They had a small conference room with a white wall, which contained a large table. I arrived an hour early, pulled the table aside (it was too big to remove so I had to sit on during the shoot). I pulled my three Cactus flashes out of my Ona bag, setting two in front of the wall as background lights, and the key light in a godox octabox. I took a few selfies to check the light, and in ten minutes was ready to go.
The subjects arrived and I took a range of portraits using the soft light from the octabox. That took about 5 minutes per person, so I decided to do another pass without the octabox, just using hard, direct light. Both I and the editor preferred the high contrast and crisp shadows. The images feel more timeless to me, like one of a band portrait from the 60’s.