I had an assignment to photograph the former CEO of Philips Lighting for New York Times. He flew into Boston for a few days for a conference from Europe and I had to find him in between meetings for a few scarce minutes and create an interesting photograph. The idea for the shot was to compare an LED build with a traditional light bulb.
The challenge: how to do this in a hotel hallway as it was the only location that worked in the time constraints. My solution was have him hold to lit light bulbs, which would take the environment out of the equation and focus attention on him and his hands. To light the bulbs, I went to the hardware store and bought 2 clamps on garage lights. I threw away the clamps and the reflectors, as all I wanted was the sockets and cords. I had him hold the lights and plugged him in. To get the effect off the LED, I used a cross screen filter.
To determine my exposure, I read the ambient light off the light bulbs. I wanted to shoot at about f/8, using that as my starting point I adjusted my shutter speed for the proper exposure for the bulbs. I used a small Chimera soft box with a speedlight to light his face. Both my camera and strobe were set on manual. Using a Sekonic meter to read the strobe output, I adjusted the output of the strobe until it matched my ambient light from the bulbs.
The shoot took place in the hallway of Intercontinental Hotel in Boston. I arrived at the hotel before my shoot, to scout the location & the set up; This is a busy hotel, you cannot have a big set up. First thing I did was, look for the outlet! I did bring an extension cord, but you really cannot run a long extension cord through a busy hotel floor. Second, I picked a background. I choose this neutral wall for my background. This is a hotel; this is not his environment. I wanted to keep it simple and neutral.
My shooting time with him was 19 minutes. ( I looked into my metadate of this shoot: time between the first frame and the last frame of him was 19 minutes!).
I used 1 speedlight with Chimera small softbox.
Here is to just to give you the space I worked at.
I have several Location Lighting Workshops coming in Boston, Cape Cod, Miami & New Jersey. I hope to see you at one of them! To see my workshop schedule, please visit my website!