Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moving around

I've mentioned the "light(weight) light movement," photographers who are working with much smaller lights than were deemed necessary in the past (See "Visual Borrowing").

A big advantage when it's appropriate to use these lights is that I can work quickly, in a small area. That's a positive because "quickly" and "small area" define a good part of editorial photography in Washington. But another advantage is that a photographer can move around easily and try different setups. To someone who's not familiar with this kind of work that may not sound like a big deal. In comparison, though, when using traditional lights with big stands, power packs and lots of extension cords, once you set up to photograph your subject you — and they — are pretty much locked in place. Even moving to the right 12 inches can be a major engineering challenge.

But in situations where I can use the lightweight battery-powered strobes, I often just scoop them up and move to another location. That was the case recently when I was photographing Dr. Mary Wakefield, a nurse and PhD who is the new head of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. In just over half an hour we were able to shoot in three different locations, giving the magazine editors a nice choice of images to work with for their cover layout. And everybody, particularly editors, likes choices.

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