Portrait Photography Kent

I was asked to shoot Portrait Photography at a location Kent at a private hospital of one of the top surgeons in the country for press release articles and magazines. The first question I needed to ask myself is what equipment will I be using? This is the first thought in my head on any shoot but this one in particular posed a little more level of difficulty than the norm. In my mind I could see that the lighting of the theatre would have a strong ‘green cast’ due to the nature of the technology involved and this would effect how I set up.

When approaching any shoot I have an immediate response as to the kind of gear I will need and this comes from purely being experienced at this level and “You just know”!

I arrived at the hospital early and waited for my client in the reception room getting a coffee from the machine for 50p. Actually, to my surprise the coffee was very good and I quickly realized it’s probably not like this in the NHS. Later, when moving through the hospital towards the theatre another thing became obvious and that was the hospital did not smell like a conventional hospital in that it had hardly any smell at all. It’s little wonder people opt for private care as little things like this go a long way.

My client arrived and I finished my coffee. There was a few jokes exchanged between the receptionists and the professor relating to him being famous and how he is going to be in magazines. We made our way to the theatre with me carrying my gear like a packhorse as I don’t like to be short of equipment on site as 9 times out of 10 you know you will need something when you don’t have it, so I keep that monkey off my back by overstacking on the equipment front. As they say ‘better to be safe than sorry’.

There was to be two separate portraits, the first was to be in his office with him sat at his desk and would include his secretary in the shot and the second was a portrait of him only in the theatre with all his operating clothing on and a face mask tied round his neck but not secured and left hanging.

In the first image in the office there was daylight coming through windows on both sides but I still felt the need to use flash light as a fill for the shadows. Once I had secured my 35mm semi wide lens as space was tight as it is in a lot of offices and I needed to be close to the subject in order to create the shot. When shooting a client like this the key to getting the right feel and mood depends on the communication between you and your client, not just at the pre shoot stage but also when on site because communication is always easier face to face.

I never shoot a lot of images like some ‘machine gun’ photographers but am rather methodical in my approach which probably stems from learning photography when film was in its pomp. But, nonetheless, even in the digital age I am still very considered in how I approach a photographic work.

I tried a few angles for the best composition in the office before deciding on a particular angle that caught the side of his secretaries face slightly out of focus leaving the main component of the image sharp in focus.

In the theatre I asked my client if it would be ok for me to get a picture of him and me together on my smartphone for my social media promotion and he was very happy to engage.

I quickly decided that I wanted to use 2 of the operating lights that were on boom arms to act as props on either side of the professor which also eliminated some of the background which was not overly conducive to making a good portrait due to all the clutter. The ‘green’ lighting was as expected quite strong so I added my own flash and made it the key light source which made it easier to control the colour of the light and damping down the greeny theatre lighting.

Again I found myself using the wide lens after trying a longer telephoto lens. The wide lens meant getting in close and filling the frame with my subject and the 2 lights of the theatre. We tried out a few different poses before settling on one that worked well. There was a spillage of light coming from the theatre boom lights that’s spilled onto the front of the professors clothing that I quite liked so I moved him slightly forward to enhance this light which added to the mood of the shot. In most photographic situations little things like this can never be planned but you have to leave the door open to little quirks or ‘serendipity’ as photographers like to think.

With both shots in the bag we shared a coffee together and I decided to plop the possibility of future shoots in his head and he quickly offered me a 2 day conference coming up in June. Well, if you don’t ask you don’t get!!

Stay tuned for future posts on my website: https://www.alfrankmonkphotography.uk

Portrait photography
Portrait of Professor Shetty in the operating theatre in Kent Uk.