It might be easy to form a quick opinion about a picture like this. I'll admit it, when I first heard “trucks,” I was already curious about the people I was going to work with. It's not often that you run into someone who is passionate about their vehicle. I've definitely never had much interest in the topic, but when this couple asked me to shoot their engagement with their favorite point of interest, I told them I'd love to incorporate their trucks into the shoot.
Shooting trucks is not what I normally do, I'm a wedding photographer. I know how to put people in front of a pretty scene and get a good shot out of it. It would have been easy for me to have acknowledged that this couple wanted a few shots with their trucks, gotten what was needed, and then moved on to a style of work I'm more comfortable with. Instead of staying comfortable, I chose to engage the couple on their terms.
This couple ended up being really awesome to work with. Although they have different interests than me, they were fun, relaxed, and easy to talk to. We spent a fair amount of the shoot talking about their story, how trucks were involved in their meeting, and why their vehicles were so important to them. By engaging in a topic they were comfortable with, I not only made them more comfortable in front of the camera, but I also learned something new. I used the opportunity to learn about a subject which I knew very little about.
As the shoot came to a close, I asked if there was any other fun or awesome shot they'd like to try. Somehow, the idea of a burnout came up. I've never seen a burnout much less photographed one, but I jumped at the suggestion. The opportunity challenged me to think quickly and creatively and capture the essential elements of the shot. I attempted to use what equipment I had to finish out the shoot with one golden image that would stretch me and thrill them.
Putting forth the extra effort for this final shot was as much about having fun as it was about good business. When the clients received the pictures they were thrilled with how they turned out. I know they will give my name out and recommend me to friends, not only because they got some good looking pictures, but because they had a great experience. They connected with each other and their passions and they made a fun memory of it.
Whether a photographer shoots portraits or commercial work, photography is a service industry. That means the relationship made is as important as the product delivered. Every photo shoot is going to present new challenges. There are lots of personalities and personal requests that arise. Every job booked brings different people, locations, subjects, and lighting. Photographers not only need to adapt to those situations, but they need to thrive off them.
As an add on, here's a quick description of the shot.
I was working with a Canon 60D, 70-200mm lens, speedlights, and a softbox. We only had one shot at the burnout so I put two speedlights behind either side of the truck to light up the smoke and give a little kicker light. Since the smoke ended up only blowing one way, the speedlight camera left ended up not adding to the image much. The subjects were lit by an assistant holding speedlight and softbox camera right.