Most of us have different friends who fulfil different roles in our life – we don’t ask everything of one friend. And with some friends, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.
That’s about as far as I want to go with the “technology is your friend” analogy… but my point is, having great technology at our disposal can be a great ‘enabler’, but it needs to be used with common-sense, and an understanding of the underlying principles. All the greatest ‘tricks’ and techniques are useless if the situation completely changes all of a sudden, and the particular trick or technique you had in mind is no longer available.
Speaking of friends, this morning I did a shoot for furniture designer Anton Gerner. Anton and I have known each other since we were kids, so when we work together, it’s an opportunity to experiment with tools and techniques that I might not try with a new client.
Today I was able to combine some tools I’ve been using for a good while, with a couple of newer tricks, to good effect. Actually, ‘effect’ probably isn’t the right word here, since the photograph we made is quite straightforward and very free of effects. The important part was the way in which we achieved it, from brief through to delivery.
Anton is having a new web site built for his business, and the designer asked for a portrait in a very specific size and shape. In the bad old days, when we were ‘shooting to layout’ for a magazine cover or advertisement, it was a rather clumsy process. There were the black “L” croppers we used on Polaroids, and there was the overhead transparency film which had been drawn on with a fine marker pen (or put through a laser printer if you were really high-tech) and then placed on the viewfinder ground glass as a reference.
Today, I just entered the proportions into Lightroom, and since I was shooting with the camera tethered to my laptop, I was able to apply that setting across all the photographs as I was shooting, to instantly see the exact crop and make sure we were shooting an image which would sit well within that frame.
The second benefit of shooting tethered (apart from all the usual ones, like being able to check focus and exposure with complete accuracy), was that once we had our ‘hero’ shot, I was able to immediately upload it to my Photoshelter account, using the Personal Hotspot on my iPhone. Once uploaded, I put it into a gallery and e-mailed the link to Anton, for him to forward to his designer. Within minutes of having made our photograph, the designer was able to check it over from their office.
This may not seem like that big of a deal these days, but there’s nothing worse than packing everything up and then getting a call to say that some thing or other was unsuitable in the photograph. Particularly in cases where the client is located in a different city and unable to send a representative to the shoot, it provides terrific peace of mind (to all parties) that everything is perfect.
My final trick was to raise an invoice on the spot from my iPhone. I use the Xero online accounting system, and thanks to their new Xero Touch app, I was able to send an invoice before I had even left the building.
…and thus I was able to go off and enjoy a Warm French Lentil Salad with Goats Cheese at my lunch meeting, smug in the knowledge that the job was complete, with not a thing more to be done.