15/07/08 12:46 Filed in: How
RBC’s Suresh Sookoo, Peter July, James Westlake and Ross McDonald
I generally don’t do Public Relations photography any more, but some sessions are more historic than others. I photographed Peter July (second from left) for the first time almost 30 years ago at the very beginning of my career as a photographer and this return engagement was an important opportunity to show my stuff three decades later.
At the best of times, this kind of photography is rushed and the pressure is steady. Arrayed to my left and right were corporate communications folks from Canada and Trinidad looking on in a way that completely unnerve you if you take your eye off the ball.
The ball in this case is getting four grown men to focus on a staged signing ceremony with the right attitude of professional attentiveness and corporate responsibility writ large on their faces.
This isn’t as simple as it sounds. The silliness of having a huge sweating photographer lurching about in front of them with various white objects and the importance of what they need to be doing next inevitably keeps attention spans short and focus drifting.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this sort of thing, (as recently as the RBC-RBTT announcement photo which preceded this assignment and faltered a bit in its focus) it’s the importance of clear direction, fast shooting and continuous feedback (which can’t be “give me more baby, yeah”).
I shot with a Canon 5D with a 17-40mm lens to RAW using the Canon STE2 transmitter to trigger a handheld 580EX in my left hand with a small Chimera softbox for fill and a 420 EX to my right bounced into a Westcott 45” folding umbrella as the main light. I slammed out around 50 variations on this in the time we had (roughly 6 minutes) and generated an edit for the client 30 minutes later on location for the first pass selection.