September 18, 2013 // Post by Ben Bergh // 1 Comment
THE BEST TEAM
In my last blog, i wrote about how good clients can facilitate better photography. While clients play an exceedingly important role on a shoot, aligning yourself with the best possible photographic team is mutually relevant.
In my case, this team includes the following talented professionals, who are the real reason a shoot is successful:
Hair and Make-up – Samantha Carter
Stylist – Maaike Foggitt-Bestebroer
Photographer’s Assistant – Tracey Branscombe
Behind the obvious duties that each team member performs on a shoot, it is interesting to note what other roles these individuals take on – the Cameron van der Burgh shoot for Investec as case-in-point.
Amidst fulfilling their mandates on set, each of these three ladies would assist where they could. Sam and Maaike would often stand-in and assist in moving kit from one set-up to another, being of immense help in speeding up the next shot. When a moment presents itself, be it a lighting opportunity or other, fast set-ups are critical, and it’s nice to work with people that aren’t scared to get their hands dirty helping facilitate this.
Professionals like this also play a sizeable role in instilling a sense of confidence in the client that he/she is in good hands. Tracey’s friendly, assuring smile and friendly chats with the client helped me concentrate on getting the photography job done, knowing client was in good hands. Clients notice these small things and if all goes well, it’s likely you will be hired again. And that means repeat work for the entire team.
Moreover, as important as the team, is teamwork. The team needs to understand and respect the role of each member involved. Having a thorough understanding of the role each member plays is vital to all parties involved. Also make a point of regularly communicating your thoughts and ideas to both team and client to ensure everyone is up to speed on the current shot, yet also putting plans in motion to coordinate the next set-up/shot.
We often learn the hard way that there isn’t always one kit for any specific job. There is the kit you need, the kit you want and the kit you actually end up using. The latter is the best kit for the job and is determined by the amount of research you do. Yes, when you are in studio and have done the same set-up for the umpteenth time in order to achieve a specific prescribed look, you will definitely deploy your tried and trusted techniques. When you are in the field with light behaving erratically, you can attempt to pre-empt your next set-ups, but mother nature is unpredictable, and you’ll need to make a plan that works. This is when the kit you have earmarked clearly may not do the trick. That’s when you say to yourself, “Hell yes, i packed those three speedlights i earmarked for Plan B OR damn, i really could have used that equipment i didn’t think i’d need.
For this shoot i had planned to use Elinchrom Rangers for most of the work (see Ranger head wrapped in plastic and dipped in the pool in image above). A boom arm was suspended three metes above the water with back- and side-lights adjusted accordingly, depending on the angle i chose for the above-water shots. The underwater shots needed more mobility though, and fortunately i had tested a Nikon SB-900 Speedlight / PocketWizard TT5 combination two days before, just in-case. It paid off. This exact set-up created the shot above that ended up as the Hero shot of the day.
Thanks to Nikon South Africa for giving me the opportunity to test the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm F/2.8G ED VR on this shoot. It created magic with water droplets. (See last image)
And thanks to Investec for the opportunity, Cameron van der Burgh for the skill and patience, my incredible team and especially to Steve Ashton and Kevin Singer at Singer Photographic for support and advice on the kit.
Unfit, out-of-shape on the left. Superhuman to the right.
And, Nikon 400mm magic…