The Professional Image - Or How To Command Respect With A Lastolite Reflector

on February 22, 2015

Professional image is a topic that you'll read about in lots of publications. Advice is given on how to appear professional when advertising in the media, when presenting yourself to a potential client, when commanding a shoot, and when presenting the finished results. They stop dead tells you how to be professional after that when the client steals the images, refuses to pay the bill, and goes defiantly bankrupt.

Well, you are on your own there...any advice I could offer would be suspect. By that I mean that if you followed my advice both you and I would eventually be suspects....

No - this blog is about looking professional enough at a shoot to get cooperation and respect. Oddly enough you needn't be getting paid for the photography to appear in this light - you just need to look as if you know what you are doing and are doing it to a purpose.

A car show is a perfect example. You might be just the same as every other wandering dub looking at the machinery but if you carry a DSLR with a big enough lens you look as if you are a pro. Never mind you don't need it, and could do quite as good a job with a mirror-less camera like a Fujifilm or an Olympus - it is not the fact of the thing but the perception of the public we are dealing with here.

Likewise if you have a big flash on the camera. A good idea for technical reasons, but again it makes you look like you know what to expect when you press the button.

Oddly enough, the giveaway used to be a big camera bag but as everyone who aspires to back pain carries one these days, people do not credit it anymore.

The biggest help to this image thing- and the effect is to move the crowds back so that you can get a clear shot of the equipment - is to have an assistant carry a reflector and use it to light up the dark side of the car. Even if it does not actually help the lighting, it shoo's off the wanderers for at least 10 seconds and allows the clear shot. The Lastolite Triflip reflectors are a good choice - big, oddly shaped, and with a convenient handle to control the position. You could use it yourself as a diffuser or reflector propped against your knee but the assistant idea is more effective.

Only disadvantage of an assistant is you have to buy them a hot dog and a big orange drink to keep them on site. No good laughing and saying you left your wallet at home - they swat at you with the Lastolite.

Final note - the professional look is a variable thing - your attire and behaviour at a wedding should be different from that at a burlesque show. Mix them up and trouble ensues.