Chloé Jean is a Life Coach and Stunt Training Actress based in the Midlands. She approached me to get some portraits for her various web and social media sites. Rather than use a studio we were to shoot at her home so this was another great opportunity to use the portable studio set up I’ve written about here.
Working in a clients home, with your own lighting, requires you to not only work quickly (they don’t want to sit around for ages whilst you fiddle around with lights and backgrounds) but also to be adaptable and creative with what you find when you arrive. Here are a few tips I have picked up in doing this type of shoot.
- Listen to what the client says about places to shoot, “the kitchen gets some nice light” or “there are some nice plain walls over here” will help you choose places to shoot in an unfamiliar location.
- Take what you think you’ll need but try to keep things as simple as possible. Taking too much gear not only means you’ll spend ages unpacking and packing but that you’re bound to leave something behind. For this shoot I kept it to a single flash head and softbox with a plain black background. I took three lenses, a 12-40mm and 35-100mm (both f/2.8) and 45mm f/1.8 for some tight headshots and to throw the background out of focus.
- If I was to think about how time was spent during this shoot (which took about 90 minutes) I would say half was spent talking to the client to understand their requirements, one quarter was spent setting up and taking down lighting and a further quarter actually shooting. I think it really is important to spend as much time as possible speaking to the client to get to know them and understand what they want out of the shoot.
- Be flexible and adaptable. For example I arrived at 1pm and the sun was streaming in through a patio window giving some nice natural light. I decided therefore to postpone setting up lighting etc and fire off a few shots by the window to take advantage of the sunlight which was only there for 10 minutes or so before disappearing under cloud.
- Even small spaces can be used to good effect. Most of the images with the plain backgrounds were taken beneath the stairs where the wall was cream/white. The space also allowed me to set up the Lastolite collapsible plain black background I use.
- I always try and get a set of images to the client within 24 hours of the shoot. They don’t have to be fully edited or hi-res but good enough to show them you are still working for them and to see the work in progress. I always check they know how to use Dropbox or Google Drive before I leave and say I will send them a link to my selection of images within 24 hours. I’m usually happy to share all images from the shoot on the understanding they are going to be small unedited files and not suitable for printing or publishing but enough to allow the client to see which pictures they want.
Here are a collection of images taken during the shoot, all curated using my updated Lightroom Curation Process (V3) you can read about here.
All images taken using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 (Mk I) with M.ZUIKO 12-40mm f/2.8 and 45mm f/1.8 as well as Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lenses. Lighting was with a single Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4 head with the fantastic Rotalux Octa 135cm softbox (currently my favourite piece of kit).
If anyone reading this would like to arrange a portrait shoot with me then you can contact me here.