Bring The Studio To Your Client

Sometimes it's a pain to bring a client to your studio, or maybe you don't even own a studio. In these situations you must figure out a way to bring the studio to the client. Diana Deaver shows us a quick glimpse of her last shoot that involved bringing a paper background and a single large parabolic reflector into a clothing store.



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23 Comments

Hmmm... that was the 86" AB plm that runs about 80 bucks, not the 10 foot Profoto that runs $8600. >.<

love her videos.

Francesco Gregori's picture

Diana, cmon....a white background and one strobe are not a studio.. ;-) look at results, really poor...
I think this video didn't deserve to be here..

PLM Shadows are really horrible

Patrick Hall's picture

what is PLM? I'm a bit shocked that there are so many shadows from one light...any idea why?

Look at the construction of PLM - it is basically 16 curved mirrors

The plm generates a ton of triangular hotspots. It's hardly noticeable outdoors, but inside, she could have helped herself with a white plm or diffusion cover.

I suppose that's the difference between 80 and 8 grand.

A simple flash slaved to the main light coming in at an angle on the background would have helped a fair bit.Certainly would have went for a lighter background look.
(and that silver is hell of a specular as well)

Hey Guys, thank you all so very much for your feedback! It's always helpful to bounce things off others and learn.
The shadows were a specification of the client who was very happy with the result. I guess I should have mentioned that. We did testing before the shoot started and that was the look the client chose.

I've got to agree with your comments. I just finished a commercial job for a client and they loved the look of the SOOC images. I was a little surprised since most of the work I get is because of my specific style. Difficult to say the "right" and "wrong" way of shooting something. It comes down to what the client likes. The client is always right! :) Nice work.

Garrett Graham's picture

Style and creative freedom is what it is all about, if the client is happy, everyone should be happy. Also it is very difficult to judge still images in a low quality (although HD) video.

There was a post on Strobist, of a photographer I can't remember by name, who shot the india Cosmopolitan Mag cover using a beauty dish and a PLM, and illustrated how the distance between the light and the modifier affected the "focus" or width of the beam.

I think this relates to the shadows here. In the video, the Alien Bee Strobe is mounted close to the PLM, making the beam that will bounce back onto the subject more narrow, creating those shadows. I thought the images were good and you can see how much fun the models had. Congratulations, Diana, on the wonderful oppertunity to shoot there.

It looks like the parabolic reflector also had a white surface, unlike that silver plm. Those crazy reflections are pretty interesting. I kind of like them.

Really doesn't matter how perfect you get the lighting or the focus. If you are a boring photographer, you will have well lit boring photos that only you will enjoy and wonder why the average person flips right past your favorite shot. If you can't hold the average person's attention on your shot and you are hired to promote fashion or another product, you have failed.

Being overly concerned with lighting is silly when you are just going to send it to a retoucher anyway. Annie Leibovitz lights most of her shots the same way and then sends them to the retoucher. The issue with many photographers is that they wished they got jobs based on their knowledge of photography and not on their actual talent because then hard work would pay off and people like Terry Richardson would not be more popular than people that shoot with the best equipment and have more camera time. After you dump hours into studying lighting and lens, and spending tons of money, a photographer of this sort can feel angry when the client could care less about your lighting setup and only if you depicted their subject in the best way.

No one outside of photographers cares about your elaborate technique or choice of equipment, they care about the final shot and nothing more.

Her shots were great if the client enjoyed them. Her shots would also suck if she lit it all crazy and perfect yet the client didn't like them. Your camera lens points out, not inward.

The 86 plm is dope when you put a diffuser over it and pull it out at a remote shoot mounted to a boom . The client thinks "DAYUM this person brings big equipment, must mean we didn't waste our money". NO lie. And the diffuser is on backorder, that's why she didn't use it. LOL

Patrick Hall's picture

Great comment! It reminds me of a story I heard where the photographer was told by the client that they wanted him to light a particular portrait with 10 different lights or so. The lights weren't necessary for the type of image the client asked for but when it came time to set the shot up outside, he pulled out all the stops. I'm not sure how he did it but he set all but one of the lights to fire a few mili-seconds after the exposure so essentially the final shot was still only using the single light. The client didn't know better and thought the photographer pulled out all the stops for their photoshoot.

Sometimes it's important to make your shoots feel memorable and extravagant. But most important is to please your client with the final images.

Heck yeah Patrick. I promise you, when you show up with huge equipment, people think something MAJOR is about to go down. Models stop texting on their cell phones, people hold your camera after you shoot a few frames, dude it seriously goes down like that depending on the lack of knowledge that is hanging out on the shoot. Most people know what a speed light is and have seen them, but when you put a PLM on a boom and use a tripod with a custom bracket attached to it, everyone shows you respect like you are Bruce Weber. BUT....BUT, we all know that doesn't make your shots worth a hoot. If you can't deliver the final product that is good enough to have the client shut up and stop sending in requests for changes, you not only failed, but you have now added hours to your work load because you were too busy trying to show how much knowledge of photography you had and lack of knowledge about how to deliver a final product to the client. Personal work is where are the fun is. Anyone who has done a big commercial project knows that the client is RARELY easy going and just lets you shoot however and whatever you want. I have clients who almost want to take the pictures themselves.

When people start paying decent money, they start micro managing like crazy. This girl was lucky she even got to choose her own lens. LOL

That one model with the dreds is in too many of these fstoppers videos. And though this photographer can light her shoots what every way she wants, I can support the lack of use of a HUGE vertical grip which really makes you look pro status. That was the issue with the 5d and 5dmk2, you look like you just got into photography when you shoot without a vertical grip. LOL...jk

Patrick Hall's picture

Ha yeah Chelsie, he's like the only legit black model in Charleston. He was also a big college basketball player here so I used him in my pocketwizard review. I wish Charleston had the talent of NYC but unfortunately we don't.

Good eye though, good to see someone watching the videos :)

Great preview of the your shoot :)

The key aspect here was simplicity, in the running of the shoot which meant that the 30 outfits could be done withing the 2 hrs, consistent look in the shoots and faster post processing after the shoot :)

Thanks for sharing :)

Joop van Roy's picture

This video is a good reminder of how little the lighting and gear setup have to do with being successful. If you can work with clients well and deliver photos that they love, you'll get hired over and over. It's really not that complicated.

I love how the direction of this post did a total 180 from everyone ragging on the shadows and PLM lighting abilities to "If the client likes it, WHO CARES." This just shows how deep down every photographer feels. We all know she did a good job, it just wasn't an inspiring setup...big whoop. Our personal work is the stuff we honestly fall in love with, our professional work most of the time is not something we put under our pillows and look at before we get into the shower.

This girl had a job, she did it, they liked it, its over, and on to the next.

Now about this one black model in NC. Maybe I should move up there, I have tons of nice clothes and I'm black and not unskinny. Someone has to dethrone this dreaded dread man. Everyone is always shooting the easy on the eyes bi-racial black people. But look at Tyson Beckford. That dude is as dark as me (color of a diet Pepsi), and he produced some great shots. The super dark contrasty skin against white shirts and bright colors yields a powerful image, that's why Calvin Klein keeps using the really dark guys.

Not hating on light skinned guys but you had the 1980's. I don't want to see anymore of this man on FSTOPPERS LOL jk.......or am I?

Please, please move her about 5 or 6 feet farther from that bg. to avoid those brutal shadows! No big deal. I don't think we as photographers should ever go with the old "Well the client didn't seem to mind, so who cares"!