I have been working with Dominican University in River Forest for several years. Initially, they brought me in to photograph their events as they do quite a number of them ranging from Alumni Weekends to Commencements, special guest lectures and theater productions. So, when they asked me to help out with their project for the Graduate School of Social Work by providing corporate lifestyle photography, I was excited to to jump in.
Over the course of a few days, we photographed just about everything related to the Graduate School both at their Priory Campus and at The University Center which is their satellite location in Grayslake. Classroom lectures, common areas, students hanging out….we covered it all and I am excited to see the new collateral pieces and web material the University comes up with. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek.
I do love a challenge. One of the more frequent questions I am asked when showing my portfolio to a potential client, scheduling a corporate photography shoot and often while setting up my lighting is “how much time do you need?” The key is speed as the majority of the people I photograph have little time to spare for their portrait. It is also not uncommon to walk into an assignment having been told prior that we have a half-hour with the CEO and just as we are about to start, the sky has fallen and the apocalypse is around the corner. That precious half-hour can turn quickly into a matter of minutes and still we have to get it done. It is not unlike being in the driver’s seat and hearing “are we there yet, are we there yet?”
If I have an hour to set-up, I will use it. If I have 5 minutes to set-up, I will work it. It’s a matter of planning, anticipating and more than anything…intuition which comes from plenty of experience.
There is that added plus of keeping one’s cool as well. Personally, I am not a big fan of having my photograph taken which probably explains why I am happiest when behind the camera. But really, I empathize. When people are being photographed they are in the spotlight and not everyone is a fan of being the center of attention. It is super important to be chill, to be comforting, to be confident as my subjects’ will always reflect where I am at. Just like a party, when you meet that socially awkward guy that is hiding behind his Manhattan and a plate of sautéed shrimp with a chile cilantro rub (or if you are at a gathering with me…it’s more likely a Heineken and pigs in a blanket), he makes you a little nervous, right?
We all feed off of one another and dispositions, even if they are momentary, they are still contagious. In order to capture the real moments and make our clients not only act natural but feel natural, I consistently remind myself that that our subjects are not the only people featured in these portraits….we are in them, too.