A quick break from wedding photography, these are a couple of examples of recent photographic commissions for the University of Brighton.
The first was a portrait of Lord Nicholas Stern, former Chief Economist of The World Bank and head of the team that produced The Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change. My brief was quite specific for this one, Lord Stern in a country setting, looking away from camera. There needed to be room on the image for a magazine title and other copy. I was told I would have no more than 10 minutes to get the shot, as I normally ask for half an hour or more for portraits this was pushing it a bit.
Lord Stern lived some way from my home and I was told that he had a good location in mind for the photo. I should have known better, but took this at face value and didn’t look around the area before my appointment. This turned out to be a serious mistake, the first place we went to was completely unsuitable and cut badly into my 10 minutes. Luckily Lord Stern was a bit more generous with his time than we had arranged, and we visited another couple of spots before finding somewhere better. Even this wasn’t ideal and the light was very flat and grey, which didn’t help (Luckily Photoshop and portable lighting improved the situation!). The end result was a useable photo, but I feel I could probably have done a bit better. Next time I’ll make sure I’ve scouted for locations before I start a job with serious time restrictions.
The second commission was more straightforward. Rod Mallinder, a member of staff at the University of Brighton, was due to retire. The photo was for a feature in the University magazine. Rod works in a modern building with several areas that suited the brief. We ended up taking the main photo on the stairs in the lobby. This time I had a good look around before I started, and only needed about 15 minutes to get a series of shots that I was quite happy with.
I prefer to have some time to talk to people and walk around a location with them before I start working, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes you don’t even meet a person or know what they look like until 30 seconds before you start. In these cases the best thing you can do is get prepared; find a good location in advance, have a selection of ideas in mind, and make sure all your gear is ready to go before you start using up your allocated time.
Lord Nicholas Stern
Please contact me for more information on press and portrait commissions.
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