Sunday, December 23, 2012

Corporate Group Photo in a Narrow Gray Box

Sometimes the locations where I am hired to make portraits are not very exciting. Let's be honest, many American corporate offices are basically gray painted boxes. In the case below,  it was a narrow conference room in which I needed to make an eight person corporate group photo.You cannot tell form this angle, but I would have been hard pressed to squeeze behind the subjects.

Because of the tight confines of the room, my only option was to set up two large strobes to the right and left of me at the close end of the table, and push light into the room. This was not ideal because of the glass display at the end of the room showed the reflections of the strobes very clearly. Also, the frame rate of the screen was giving me weird partial images. In the end, I just decided it was faster and more efficient to put the logo in post-production.

People have asked why I did not just use the fluorescent overhead lights to make the photo. There are a few reasons. First  fluorescent lights flicker unevenly and can cause issues with exposure and color balance. Those can be overcome, but it just adds complexity to the shoot. Secondly, there is not as much light as you might think in the room. Human eyes are much more sensitive than the sensor in my camera. Even at high ISO settings, I would have to set a longish exposure... not good for sharp shots of this many living, blinking people.

Flash captures the scene in 1/100th of a second freezing everyone perfectly. It allows me to control the color and shape of the light more easily, and in this case it made it possible to get the strong reflections in the table... the most interesting part of the photograph.