Today I’m writing about an advertising portrait shoot we did for Sterling Homes last summer. This shoot went smoothly and the weather was perfect — a typical warm, sunny Alberta day. But this was a great example of a photoshoot that didn’t have much planned for us to work with and decisions about what we were shooting were made up on the spot between us and the client contact. There were rough ideas of what they wanted — which were portraits of some of the Sterling employees and then advertising shots for their show homes of an employee interacting with potential home buyers.
The first set of images we did were the portraits of the employees. The question was — where would we do them? We were at a show home in a residential area with no construction within eyesight. We needed that element — so we decided what we knew we would need in terms of lighting and drove to a construction site a few minutes away which had a few Sterling homes currently being built. Remember that this is a very bright sunny day, so our biggest problem with that is the sun itself. Photos of people squinting hardly ever makes for a good photograph. We lit these shots with a single light and flagged the models from the sun — either in the construction itself or with our own hand held flags.
Take a look at both of these photos — what is one thing they have in common? Clean hard hats. Construction workers never have clean hard hats — but for photographs they are a must.
The next shots we did featured a Sterling Homes employee with potential buyers inside the show home, so we drove back to the show homes and set up two lights. Fortunately for us, the Sterling show home set up was perfect to work in. It was well lit and well laid out and the colours worked. Sometimes this isn’t always the case.
These are real people — in the sense that they are not hired models. Working with people who aren’t professional models absolutely generates a different kind of feel for your photoshoot, but the key with this is simply being able to hold a conversation. If you can talk with your models and make them feel comfortable, then guiding them through the shoot is easy. If your models can themselves all have a conversation together (about anything), that again makes your life as a photographer even easier and you can focus on your lighting and other technical aspects of the shoot without missing details.