Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo Shoot: Physiotherapy Practice

As part of the blogs accompanying my photo course I want to highlight other major photographic projects that I undertake, but which do not necessarily form part of the course.  This is one!

Recently a neighbor asked if I could take some photo's of her new physiotherapy practice.  She and her sister were setting up a new business and being very short of working capital, asked if I could help out.  She essentially wanted images that could be used to build her web site.  The brief was to take interior shots of the therapy rooms, waiting room and some of the equipment, plus some photo's of her working with a patient.  This was a great opportunity for me to test my skills and with the theme of working portraits and creating images of a building to illustrate its use; fitted very well to the current OCA course.

So one Saturday Heidi and I turned up outside her offices with rather more kit than she was expecting.  I knew the lighting would be difficult and so I brought a tripod, but also a combination of studio and on camera flash.  The interior of her offices was quite dark, but the day outside was a 30 degree summer scorcher, so managing shadows would be impossible without adding my own light.  For this I used 2 400J monoblocks inside softboxes - my standard kit.  I must admit that when I went out on a limb and invested in these lights I had no idea how useful they would be.  Most people seem to worry about lenses, these lights have proved, to me at least, that modest investment (600 Euros) in a pair of entry level studio lights can have a far greater impact than a new lens.  That said I am a victim to lens addiction.  In this case I used an unusual lens, a 24mm tilt-shift,  The advantage of the wide 24mm coupled with the ability to move the focal plane up and down, allowed me to ensure that interior verticals were straight.  Another advantage was the request to shoot a corridor with a large mirror at one end.  Placing the camera in a doorway and shifting the lens meant I could make the shot without a lot of post processing.  Other than that I used a 24-105mm f/4 zoom for the portraiture and the more creative shots.

The photo's have been placed on the web site:

I have also created two screen grabs from the web site, showing the cover page and the "Photo's" page.  All of the imagery is mine, however, I had nothing to do with the web design.

The biggest challenge throughout was trying to maintain consistency in the colours, white balance was difficult as every image had some mixture of natural and artificial light.  Since then I have bought a colour checker from Xrite, simply a standard pallet of colours in a plastic surround.  A photo of this can be imported into Lightroom and used to ensure standard colour calibration. All that is needed is to take a shot of the target in the current lighting and make sure that if the lighting changes a new calibration shot is made.  So far I have limited use, but I plan to take advantage to manage the colours in my forthcoming Assignment 1.

This was a great exercise in working on a brief with a finite deadline and with a client expecting high quality results.  I gained a lot from doing this and it has helped me understand some of the demands that a professional photographer faces, but has also built my confidence that I can do this type of work.

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