9.16.2021

Thursday Morning and I'm less than halfway through the 50 portraits we need to complete this month. But it's a lot more fun that I imagined it would be.

This is not from this month's commercial project. 
This is a portrait shot long ago, in the days of 
Hasselblads, film and big lights. 

It is a bold project but we may have to change gears midway through. The client and I envisioned doing 50 individual portraits at 50 different time slots through the month of September. But here we are a two weeks into the project and we still haven't been able to motivate everyone to sign up for a slot. We're only a couple miles from their H.Q. so it's not an insurmountable distance to travel. I think my client's people (all smart, capable and nice people) are working remotely and it's a different dynamic because the individual associates are more in control of their own schedules. I get it. I like scheduling flexibility too. 

Even though the current set up is comfortable for me (I get to leave everything set up in the studio and just walk in for scheduled appointments; no constant set-up and tear down) it's not very efficient. The client and I have talked and we'll likely abandon this experiment and go back to setting a specific day and having everyone come to the office in scheduled slots to get the remainder of the foot draggers taken care of. And that's okay too. One day of set up and tear down isn't insurmountable. 

As it stands right now I'm enjoying the unhurried pace and the ability to work on my own turf for a change. I ended up selecting the Panasonic S5 as the camera for this project based on how well its eye detection AF works and I've been very happy with the raw files from the camera. 

I'm working with three LED lights and a big, white reflector as a fill so the studio stays nice and cool and there's no annoying flash to work through. I'm shooting at ISOs like 800 which is a piece of cake for the sensor in this camera. The resulting photographs are clean and well detailed.

Today I have one person booked in the afternoon and I'm spending my morning retouching and enhancing the selections from earlier sessions. The back end of the project; the private galleries on Smugmug, works very well. The galleries are nice, clean and controllable. Clients like them very much.  I'll likely deliver the images back to them via a download folder at Smugmug as well. 

The current lens of choice is the Panasonic 70-200mm f4.0 S-Pro. It's a logical choice since I tend to prefer the longer focal lengths for corporate headshots. I've looked at the exif data and it seems my preference is between 105mm and 135mm. The lens has a tripod mount so it's very stable and easy to handle. 

I've chosen to have people stand for their portraits and it seems to work better for their clothing because there are fewer wrinkles and "bunchings".  So far most of the people have been near my height but I have an apple crate standing by in case I encounter an especially tall person. I don't mind standing on a wooden box if it helps me do my job. If it's good enough for Tom Cruise.....

On extended projects like this I bill by the person/session and send in an invoice for the sessions at the end of every week. It keeps the payment stream flowing and seems to work for both client and photographer. 

Work is over-rated though so I'm thinking about taking the month of October off. I'm still planning to make a pilgrimage to Roswell, NM and the surrounding sites, and I may add a few other two or three day trips through the month. Gotta give that SL2 and the big, fat zoom a workout...

I'd Vlog my trips but I just tried to watch Thomas Heaton's hundred mile hike through some island and it was just painful. I applaud him for making the journey but half an hour at a time watching video of someone walk and occasionally talk to the camera is just....boring. I'm starting to think that videos like this are actually created as instruments of punishment for petty crimes in some countries. 

Convicted of shoplifting? Sit in this chair and watch an hour long video of a man trudging around in a banal landscape with a backpack and occasionally talking about how painful the adventure is. Yes. No. That's not the future of content. 

Finally, my latest gear purchase should arrive some time today. It's the Godox AD200 Pro and I have a use for it this coming Monday. An exterior portrait downtown. We'll have a test jaunt and see if it betters the performance of the sturdy and reliable AD200 (non-Pro). Fun with lights.

Time to toss on a face mask and answer the door.