"Couple of photographer needed to do a few shots..."
The brief was vague. Akin to asking for a length of string "yeah" long.
A more precise brief would have been:
"Photographer required to do head shot / informal photographs of graduated students, who had returned to UCW to discuss their careers with current students."
Lighting was poor. While we had the hatch to provide stuff, the confines of the TV studio meant we were limited to three continuous softboxes.
An unfamiliar camera, and hand held, we persevered. See the contact sheets below.:
The Feedback I got was generally positive, and I've included it below.
"Thank you for providing me with the photographers and the speedy delivery of photos, here is some feedback –
I was extremely happy with the prompt setting up of the photo shoot and delivery of photos.
The singular portrait photos were excellent and I have a nice range to choose from.
I would have liked to have more options for the group photos, as I only have one good one (where we are taking a selfie in the photo) and a slightly soft group one.
Also it would have been better to slightly relax the contributors rather than demand who’s next. I appreciate it was all a last minute rush and that was dealt with brilliantly, but then their could have been a little bit more consideration for the contributors who were having their photo taken and were a bit uncomfortable.
Aside from the minor observation above, I am very happy with the photos provided and would definitely use those photographers again.
Thank you very much for your assistance."
My response(s) and thoughts as I shot are:
It was a bit hectic. We got the "call" at 9:30, and were onsite at 12:15. Booking unfamiliar kit, unfamiliar settings and unfamiliar people, and I think everyone (Including the team from the Hatch) did pretty well.
To me, the group images are at both extremes. I LOVE the selfie pics, and pretty much said "Nailed it" when I got those. I attempted to organise another, less formal one (With them holding Dan across their knees,) but that died a death. It was pretty clear (to me) that time was done. The last bit of chicken had been gobbled, the last coke swallowed (The last muffin thrown at the tog) and everyone just wanted to get the hell out of there.
I'd remark on a couple of points about the relaxation part. Again, everything has more than one side to it.
"..rather than demand who's next," isn't quite right. I think Dan was out the room when we had our initial chat with the group, and we described to the group what we were doing, who we were, etc. There clearly were people who were more reluctant than others, and we joked about a bit before "selecting a volunteer..."
When I got the sitter away from the rest of the group we did spend time relaxing them. I'd chat about their specialty, if they would feel happier with props, etc., or indeed, with one of the sitters - if she wanted to eat the muffin, or perhaps jokingly throw it at me.. (See the photo). We had one guy (A director, if memory serves), who simply did not like the video camera we had, (waaaay too amateurish) so we went to the Hatch, and they provided a better prop for him.
There were clearly a couple of girls who were a little uneasy, but I tried to relax them by having them play with props, etc. (Hence the muffin jokes, and the fingers caught in the clapperboard).
Now, to a bit I will defend. It's happened before, and it'll happen again. I'm Scottish (NEVER!!!!) I talk with what is called a brogue. In comparison to the rather (apologies) pansy, effeminate local accent, I sound like I growl a bit. I can only say "tough." I sincerely hope you never hear me shout. People down here wet themselves, literally.
Also. When it comes to taking images in that set of circumstances (e.g. 13-14 people in a room, and only one of them has a camera.) there has to be "a boss", plain and simple. My motto is "You either control the shoot, or the shoot controls you." If there had BEEN an art director, producer, call it what you will, I'd have happily passed that role onto them.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?
Let's make a list.
As an example, the brief about the potter was much more exhaustive, and I have way more ideas for that.
OVERALL. I'm glad I did it. I'm "up for it." That's why I'm here. I'm glad the client liked it. The group shots, while I nailed it, was less in number that I'd like.
HOW I'D HAVE DONE THE SHOOT, IF SOMEONE ASKED ME TO DO IT:
Well. Here goes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.