The Shipping Report

on November 19, 2022
There is nothing so comforting for a studio photographer as the sound of a furious gale lashing at the windows of the camera room. They sit there with a cup of tea and think about the sports photographer on the sidelines under a dripping tarp - or the wedding shooter under a dripping tree. They may also add the landscape shooter lost in the bush, the seascape panorama photographer trying to dig their car out of the beach sand, or the architecture shooter freezing at 4:00 AM waiting for the first light on the new building. Good times, and they're not having to endure them... But it is not all biscuits and gloating. The indoor worker has no excuse for not working - they can't plead inclement weather - rain or shine they have the same environment. And that can be a bigger problem sometimes. The paying head-shot series can often be taken with a standardised lighting setup - or it can be wildly varied if you fancy a lot of post-production work. The corporate portrait can be in a standardised set - the product shot on something as simple as a scoop. But the advertising shot that pays the best is the one that is the most imaginative, and that can use up a lot of prep, prop, and poop. You do the first, use the second, and run out of the third. You also need to keep your studio fresh - too many times I've found myself recycling ideas and scenes, and you can only do this to other's interest so long - eventually they want fresh pics. That means new lights, colours, props, scenes, and ideas. The other thing that the outdoor shooters - or the people who work on locations or at events - do not need to concern themselves with is the sheer volume of storage space needed for a varied studio environment. My props room is a garage and it is full - it slops into the camera room and hides a lot of things behind the main shooting set. When you need to change something it is a game of Tetris to put something away and extract something else. I've taken to wrapping yellow cloth tape around table and chair legs as well as the light stands so that I can avoid them in the dark.