In one of my biggest challenges yet, a couple of weeks ago I not only had to photograph a group of pro and semi-pro photographers, but I had to be in the shot too.
I recently teamed up with half a dozen other photographers in the area, with the idea to pool resources, expertise and marketing power. The theory is we could help make this area an attractive place for those interested in photography (buying prints or taking workshops) to visit.
It’s early days yet, and the aim is to officially launch next Spring, but things are slowly taking shape. The constitution is written, executive posts filled, bank account opened and the website is under construction.
It was decided it would be useful to have a group photo to go on the website, and to use for publicity purposes once we launch. As portrait photography is my speciality, the responsibility for the photo fell on my shoulders. Inevitably this presented several challenges.
An initial idea of an outside shot of us all against a backdrop of a beautiful Galloway landscape was quickly dismissed. It’s hard enough to negotiate a time and date to suit 7 self-employed people, let alone rely on the weather in Scotland, in winter, to be pleasant. We needed an indoor space large enough to fit everyone plus lighting rigs, and while my wee studio is fine for one or two people – three at a push – it’s not designed for groups.
Fortunately Allan Wright leapt to the rescue and we were able to use his gallery – a large white painted room – after he’d removed his framed prints from one of the walls.
But while composition and lighting are tricky enough, in order to be in the photograph myself, I couldn’t just click when everything was perfect. I had to keep setting the timer then run round to get into position and hope no one was blinking, or looking in the wrong direction, or leaning in front of anyone else, or pulling a silly face.
And when photographing more than about 4 people, crowd control becomes an extra necessary skill...
Even then, it’s one thing to photograph the general public – group shots are usually family gatherings where they expect to follow the instructions of the professional with the camera. But to photograph a bunch of people who make money from their ability to use a camera means the sense of scrutiny is cranked up to the nth degree.
Still, somehow I survived and below are the final images. One where we look very serious and professional, and one where we, er, don't...
As usual, feel free to click on the images for larger versions.
Left to right-ish (click on names for links to their websites):
Morag Paterson and Ted Leeming