Working in editorial photography for the past 3 months now has helped me reflect on my skills as a photographer and learn to use and adapt my skills in situations where you have little control of the environment and even less time to get the job done in. For a normal portrait session it might take me 30 mins to an hour to get the shot that I am looking for and I completely control the environment where I shoot to get the effect I want. This is not always possible in the editorial world.
For this portrait I was sent to the home of Mary Wagner, a prominent Toowoomba woman who is well known for all the work she does for charity. My challenge was to create a clean professional looking portrait in her home with minimal equipment available to me. All I had was a camera, a lens and a speedlight. No light stands, no softboxes and umbrellas and no studio equipment. To make matters a little more difficult I was pressed for time and had under 10 minutes to get it done.
On my way in the door I noticed a large window with a translucent white curtain in front of it. This screamed to me immediately *perfect big soft light source* however it was only a small room and was filled with furniture. I noticed that the opposite wall to the window was a very light shade of grey. Perfect bounce light reflector. I decided to make it a backlit portrait against the window to remove the furniture from the shot using the opposite wall as a fill light. This worked perfectly and gave me a clean white background reminiscent of something I would do in the studio using multiple lights. The fill from the opposite wall was just enough to fill the shadows while not leaving the backlit window so bright that the light would flare in the camera. And that is how you create a studio look portrait in 10 minutes on location with no lighting equipment and no studio.