In a perfect world I would have plenty of time with each assignment – time to research the subject, time to arrange the photo, time to chat with and get acquainted with the subject, etc. Simply put, time to make an excellent photo freed of the constraints of time.
But, as we all know, the world is not perfect. At least my photographic world isn’t.
At a small- to mid-sized daily newspaper you’ve simply got to be fast on some days. Hopefully good and fast. And in a perfect world, excellent and fast. But above all, fast because multiple photo requests have been scheduled too close together. And, because of deadlines, there’s no time to reschedule those requests to allow more time.
Maybe there should be a course taught at photojournalism school. Something like “three photos in three hours.” Just to give the student a taste of what may lie out in the real world and equip the student with the tools to do the job.
On a recent day I had to shoot three portraits in three hours (which included travel time between requests).
Working fast I was able to light them all using a variety of light kits including Lumedynes, Jackrabbits and multiple speed lights.
Portrait no. 1:
Shot with a Jackrabbit strobe with grid spot. Ideally I would have had a second strobe backlighting the subject but I had only one Pocketwizard remote with me so I had to make do with one. An okay portrait, but would have been better with more time.
Portrait no. 2:
I used a single Canon speed light on a light stand triggered with a Pocketwizard to shoot this portrait. I’m a little bothered by the shadow on his face cast by the single strobe but there wasn’t room in the tiny booth to set up an umbrella which would have smoothed out the light.
Portrait no. 3:
I used two Lumedyne battery-powered strobes here. Between the last assignment and this one I had time to stop by the office and pick up a second Pocketwizard which I needed here.
What I didn’t notice at the time was how similar each pose was: person leaning on something looking at the camera. I didn’t really realize at the time that I was posing all three the same. I must have done it that way because it was a fast and easy way at the time to get the pictures taken. While the poses are the same I was, at least, able to vary the lighting. So I’ll say I was batting .500 on these portraits. But I’ll give myself a little extra credit for speed so I’ll say I batted .600 here, maybe a C+ or B- grade.
And next time I’ll not have the subject lean on something.