Last fall I had the opportunity to photograph 7 gentleman from across California as they filmed a commercial about one of the state propositions being voted on in the election. These men are firefighters representing many ranks in the fire department. The images I created ended up not needing to be used, but if the campaign had decided to send out printed material, there would have been still images consistent with the tv commercial.
I had about 5 minutes with each subject. Which I admit was added pressure, but I was fortunate to be working with a crew that was very nice (thanks guys!). I was working on borrowed time and I had to make sure the film crew did not get behind schedule because of me.
I was able to watch each guy deliver his lines, so I worked to set up the shots I wanted in my mind before it was my turn to jump in. That helped me create different compositions for my client with the time I was allowed. The next trick was to put my subject at ease in less than 30 seconds. This was actually easier than I was expecting. Luckily, I shot their portrait after they recited their lines, so I cracked a joke about them just needing to "stand there and be pretty" and they realized they were on to the "easy" part of their day.
It's interesting how these types of assignments have affected my style. The requirements from my client about spacing for text and printing, have found their way into my everyday work. I've started creating something that has this great combination between family photography and commercial portrait photography. I think it is a benefit going both ways. It helps me give an inviting style to my commercial/corporate work that I strive for with my family clients. It also helps me give my family clients, whether senior portraits, group photos of photos of the kids, a look that you could imagine seeing in a magazine.
I hope to have a lot more work like this in my future. The change of pace is a very desirable challenge for me.
Thank you to all of these men for not only keeping us safe, but also for being so awesome to work with.