Yesterday saw me in my own backyard with a clothesline, 4 wooden clothes pegs, 4 Sticky notes and a 70-year old woman. What was I doing? I was producing a magazine cover for a long time client of mine. The clothes line, the four pegs and the sticky notes are all apparent in this image. The 70-year old woman? That's my indomitable mother who willingly acted as my assistant, holding the clothes line straight in the wind and checking that the pegs and the sticky notes were all as they should be. Thanks Mum! The cheque is in the mail!
Yes, the glamourous life of the professional photographer! No, I wasn't on a tropical island or in a large studio bustling with busy boondogglers. There were no large lighting setups, pony-tailed assistants, curvaceous swimsuit models or European sports cars to be seen anywhere. No art directors, clients or other superfluous hangers on. Just me, my Mum, a blue bed sheet and the aforementioned items. Naturally, I used my Nikon D700 and its incredible CLS off camera flash technology to provide a simple but effective lighting setup. Setting the camera on manual, I underexposed the ambient light by about two stops allowing the flash, camera left, to become the primary light source. A little bit of levels and curves with the RAW file in PhotoShop, and Voila! A cover is shot! Just don't tell the client, ok? He thinks I slaved for hours over this shot when in fact the hardest part of it was simply finding wooden clothes pegs in a plastic world!
My clients appreciate that I am able to create interesting images from simple things, using quick, reliable and simple setups that enable me to move quickly through a shoot and produce twice the amount of quality images in half the time of other photographers. That philosophy keeps me in work and maintains my place with my clients even when other young mavericks come along with their portfolios. I am happy to be known for that as it also implies a compliment to me and my skills. I suppose the years behind me have taught me how to produce images in situations that are less than favourable. Taking those lessons even into planned and less difficult shoots has gained me a reputation as a photographer who gets in and gets it done. In these economically recessive times, I think my clients will appreciate my approach.