I was asked by Rotary Club to shoot a big fundraiser for Project Now (establishing a much-needed women's residential addiction treatment / recovery facility). Normally, I don't shoot events... But they said the magic word - portraits.
The Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley, was in attendance and they needed some decent group shots of the Governor with the heads of the organizations collaborating on this epic project.
The portrait location had been decided without me... But when I entered the space, I was very pleased with what had been chosen by the planning committee.
They chose the Plaza Gallery at the Brisbane Convention Center. The beautiful wood floor... big, fantastic works of aboriginal art lining the walls... proper gallery lighting... Yum!
I especially loved the tungsten warmth running the length down to the cool pool of blue light in the gallery's entrance. Basically, a perfect space for a group portrait.
With groups, you need to be careful to light everyone evenly. This one was only 11 people, but you still can't get too creative with light placement. Plus I needed a set up that would serve for smaller groups of 2 and 3...
So I went pretty flat with the light. But I was relying on the depth of the space and that little pool of blue to give the overall light 'shape'...
The trickiest part was producing a big enough light source without bleeding all over the walls and lifting the ambient to where I lost the gallery lighting. So I placed the softboxes pointing down at an angle that normally would have made unfortunate shadows under eyelids etc...
Using a small ladder got me two things:
1. They were now looking up-ish into the light source, eliminating those shadows
2. I got to maximise the beautiful wood floor (and avoid the ceiling which was doing nothing for the composition, anyway).
Plus, I only had 10 minutes to get the 5 groups shots I needed, so it was fun working under a strict time frame.
I'm definitely pleased with the results. It's certainly nothing to put in the portfolio, but I really enjoyed the small complexities to successfully pull it off.