CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY ON LOCATION FOR CLIENTS

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fashion photographers blog- advertising photographer photographer james nader - floating lady

Creative Photography with a Client’s conceptual vision expectations and a producer’s visual set in stone on a mood board back in the office in Germany can set you up for failure. The reason being, you just can’t account for the weather conditions on the day and whilst it may the weather forecasts even for this day suggested dry conditions with some wind, there is no accounting for changing conditions on the fly. As a fashion photographer writing for this fashion photographers blog, I wanted to share some of the feelings you go through as a photographer. You simply just HAVE to adapt and battle the situations to make sure you get the shot

fashion photographers blog - working on location in iceland clients work

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHER BATTLING THE WEATHER WIND AND RAIN – A HERO SHOT

The client for this shoot was a large client based in Germany producer of biscuits and confectionary with over 1000 lines in chocolate and biscuits. Every year they create marketing images suitable for calendars and images for marketing their many tins of biscuits, but before you go ooh commercial work! the chance to create a selection of images that really differentiate themselves from competitors is key for them and as I have worked effectively for them previously on a 27 days shoot, the producer knew that I was able to deliver to images in challenging locations. Getting booked again by the producer was super as not only was it a three-week shoot but offered great money and a trip to Iceland, where I had been planning to create content to help promote a fashion masterclass there at the end of 2020.

SETTING UP FOR A CHALLENGING SHOOT – WEATHER & CONTRACTS

When your team is over 18 strong and we’re all working our way around the locations in the time allowed its strenuous for me as the lead in the team, not the producer! I am helping deliver the look for the client and I know it sounds really dramatic and poor me! but the producer’s actual vision changed without a backup plan which left the shoot in a tricky situation and yes the opportunity is great but the responsibility is now on my head to deliver something that can be used for this styled shoot and is pretty demanding.

If the look and feel for the shoot are not delivered or indeed if the client doesn’t like it then I don’t get paid and neither do the others. It was a slightly weird contract agreed by me with the German producer. We were to produce 24 images in 10 days which seems easy but to accommodate the wishes of the client and not allow for slip-ups then over 24 were needed.

WORKING THE TEAM BUT KEEPING THE TEAM HAPPY & ON POINT

Working out of the back of a campervan in the summer is not too bad, however, in the late Autumn, the weather in Iceland is a steady zero degrees Centigrade. There was no heating in the Campervans unless they were left running, not really allowed and frowned upon due to the global warming movement. Models, if they are on board with you, are really helpful and if you have a vision and you spend time explaining what you require, then you will get some great pictures regardless of the weather.

OLD PROFOTO BATTERY KIT WITHOUT LIGHT CONTROL

I have been asked many times about the behind, the scenes pictures which reveal that I did not use any light controls on the flash heads, why was this?

There are two reasons for this, the first and the easiest to answer was the wind and weather worked against this setup. I had intended to use a large umbrella or a metal beauty dish bu the wind was really too severe and would blow the control around or off. I personally don’t have a problem with this as it allows for more precise lighting which floods the subject offering a sharpness which is perfect for the edits later.

HOW SHOULD I WORK THE SHOT? MY INNER THOUGHTS

Heading off along the coast to the East of Iceland was our destination for a few days and this particular morning we were heading to the ice flows and were to be there by mid-afternoon. Along the way we happened across this rather lovely location next to a raging river which right away was chosen as another potential shot outside of the initial recce a few days earlier.

As we pitched up camp I had a quick flight of the drone to get some aerial footage for our video behind the scenes. It was quickly obvious to me that the problem was not just the cold and wind but the gale-force speeds that were increasing. The drone had flown over the ridge of the hill and suddenly slowed down to merely a 1mph hover. Nearly losing it in the prevailing wind I had to think really fast as to what I could do.

I worked out that utilising the light of the Profoto battery would freeze the action and as the client was looking for something a little different it was a chance to create a hero shot from not much. I thought underexpose the background and freeze the action would be great especially if I could get the perfect jump and positioning of legs dress, hair, etc,

I shot at the picture at 38mm on the fuji zoom lens 32-64mm
ISO for the shot was standard 100 ISO
Pixels for the image were 8256 x 6192
Shutter was 1/125
F Stop F10

The reason for the settings was as follows

The shutter to freeze the action and I could have gone faster but this was optimum for the underexposure of the background.

The lens was stopped down for crispness in the subject but not enough o make the location background seem oo sharp and so left it with softness. I needed to see where it was and place the model in a landscape and not throw it out of focus so this was controlled

The light was triggered at 1/125 which was perfect on this camera and the larger sensor to freeze the action but just allowing a slight and tiny movement on the edges of the model’s movement to give the model a sense of movement without being too much.

The problem was when jumping up to the light was really to get the perfect stance but to also dodge the shadow cast from the light on the model’s chest or face from the binoculars which also had to be in perfect alignment,

Weather windchill
Wind speed factor
Models coldness
Mine and the team’s coldness
Battey power correct
Focus
Exposure model and background
No shadow
Perfect leg and body position
Perfect other hand
Perfect Height
Perfect expression
Great hair
Composition
Plus more 🙂 

The post-production of this will be for review in 2020 Register and we will invite you to the Video for the post-production of the final image.

VIDEO FOR AN OVERVIEW OF THE SHOOT – DRONE BY ME 🙂

I HAVE A DRONE FOR LOCATIONS WHICH I FLY MYSELF FOR NOW, HERE YOU CANT SEE THE 55MPH WINDS THAT MADE THE DRONE STAND STILL EVENTUALLY
THIS IS A SHORT VIDEO THE SHOWS THE LOCATIONS WE WORKED INCLUDING THIS ONE

Working creatively is always a challenge in a location like this where the weather plays such an important part. Having the correct kit does make a difference in your production.
Working with the Fuji camera was a first but here we are reviewing some test shots which show no wind rain or movement. I was mixing daylight with flash to get the correct ambiance and to create the Hero shot needed.

INSPECTING THE RUSHES FROM THE FIRST FEW TEST SHOOTS AS I GET MY EYE IN AND BALANCE LIGHTING
MODEL WAS A GETTING A LITTLE COLD AND WORRIED ABOUT THI DRESS AND THE FREEZING WIND CHILL
SHE HAD PUT THE SILVER COURT SHOE ON FOR THE SHOT – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND 🙂
THE A-TEAM – HAIR STYLIST THE ME PLUS PRODUCER AND FINALLY MY ASSISTANT
QUICK VIEW OF THE SCENE DEMONSTRATING THE WIND POWER AND HOW THE MODEL AND STYLIST ARE BATTLING WITH THE COLD. I AM STRUGGLING TO GIVE DIRECTION AS SHE CAN’T HEAR ME ABOVE THE ROAR OF WATER AND WIND.
EXPLAINING HOW TH SHOT SHOULD WORK AND WHAT THE MODEL NEEDED TO DO OVER AND OVER TO GET AT LEAST ONE SHOT THAT WORKED
CAPTURING THE SHOT WITH A SKELETON CREW AS IT WAS SO COLD WITH THE WINDCHILL
SCREEN CAPTURE FROM LIGHTROOM SHOWING SOME SEQUENCE SHOTS
THE RAW DATA FROM THE SHOT TAKEN BEFORE EXPORTING OUT INTO PHOTOSHOP FOR RETOUCH AND GRADING
PORTRAIT OF ME WITH THE FUJI CAMERA FUJI GFX50S
SHOWING THE MODEL THE FINAL SHOTS AND EXPLAINING HOW IT WOULD ALL WORK
MARCO THE PRODUCER AND HIS BUDDY SHOWING NOT ONLY HOW WINDY IT WAS BUT SOME SMALLER BOXES THE THE BTS FILM CREW NEEDED TO SHOOT FOR THE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

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