A conference room might possibly be the worst location ever for a portrait shoot. It’s often a drab and dismal place with no storytelling elements, no context, and you’re fighting the bright florescent lights overhead. But sometimes you have to work with what you got.
I was again faced with this situation during a day of photography for Widener University’s alumni magazine. We were in a building that was high traffic, lacked a suitable location, and the weather outside was frightful.
We tried the obvious solution of a seated portrait at the conference table using studio lights with green gels and blending it with the overhead lights. It worked ok, but I felt it could be better.
There’s a strange paradox to photographing on location. I’ve realized that my better work comes from being challenged by the location. It slows you down. It makes you look around. It forces you to work harder than you would in a setting with context and design elements to integrate into the image.
I worked the situation for a while, getting a good variety of images for possible layouts and adding negative space for copy, but I was still uninspired by the images. Then I realized there was some rather amazing light filtering through the window. I killed the lights in the room and this is the result…