It was just a few weeks ago that I had the privilege to shoot some corporate headshots and capture life around a local Wynnstay store at the request of Sian Probert, marketing manager for Wynnstay.
Another invite to take on two more shoots at different locations and in particular an opportunity to get some more headshots of the Wynnstay Board members before their annual board meeting at Shrewsbury.
Sian contacted me with a summary brief - what has been so nice about working with Sian is her meticulous attention to detail, more often than not a brief will be an outline of requirements and key elements of main people and images to be captured – Sian made things so much more easier by organising people to be onsite, made sure everyone had appropriate branding, ensured timescales were met and organised individuals into groups and always on hand to direct me with the appropriate groups and teams to photograph – big thanks to Sian for that.
The first of this second series of shoots was to set up a mini studio in a meeting room, at first site of the room my heart did sink just a tad as I don’t think I had ever worked my flash set in such a small space. Half an hour before my first customer was due to have their portrait taken, I needed to convert this room into a mini studio. With Sian’s help, we manage to move tables around and soon enough I had my lights set up ready to take some test measurements with a light meter 10mins before time - perfect !
As the space was so small, some flash stands had to be placed on tables so getting the required height while ensuring minimal soft box reflections in spectacles was going to be a challenge. Light measurements taken and we are set to go. The first two shots of each customer would be shown back to them to ensure they felt comfortable with they way they looked, we then progressed to 4 different compositions and stopped occasionally to show the image back to see that they and Sian were happy with the way the shots were being taken – I find this gives the person being photographed, especially if they don’t like being in front of the camera, confidence that they look great and can also adjust anything they feel needs attention to – everyone has a side they don’t like
This was then followed with a board members group photoshoot outside – which also proved to be problematic due to the best place to do this on a warehouse site taking into account traffic, buildings or sporadic tree lines and bushes. A bush line seemed the most appropriate and with Sian to advice on who was who, it took around 20 minutes to complete this task.
Now up to the office area and photograph sales teams and operations staff which was a dream, the 2 girls in the sales office had already teased me on their portrait shots previously so I knew they would be up for really getting into some promo photography – both girls were great fun to work with.
The third shoot was arranged for the following day at a friendly farmers farm about 25 miles away.
For this shoot, Sian had arranged for various Wynnstay specialists to be photographed at this farm who had expert knowledge in certain areas such as Poultry, Sheep and Cattle.
With an early start I met the first set of Wynnstay experts, Fred and Fiona and our friendly farmer Alun and his wife Helen who greeted me with a nice cup of tea and home-made cake. A few minutes later Sian arrived, briefed Fred and Fiona on the shoot and Alun took us to his poultry area.
Along with me came my Sony A99 and A99 Mk II using Sigma’s Art 24-105 Zoom and Art 35mm Prime, not having seen the environment I guessed the prime would be essential for any indoor shoots with low light whereas the zoom would be fine outside.
While photographing my clients its great to have a chance to chat and learn a bit about what they do and also how I should adopt to any requirements while working inside. Working on the poultry site did in fact require everyone to wear covers over our shoes and disposable protective clothing. When moving inside, we had to dip our covered shoes from a small bath outside. Fred confirmed my suspicion that it would be darker inside and this is mostly down to the fact that the lights are kept low for the chickens, once they get older the lights are adjusted accordingly so not to stress the birds. The birds roost / house, is basically that, a place where the birds return to in the evening to sleep, they come and go as they please and are allowed to roam freely outside where they would naturally in their own environment if they were wild birds.
As the light was so low, I could see a little further down some natural light coming into the house so we checked with Alun and got the go ahead to take a few shots amongst the chickens and get Fred & Fiona doing what they would be doing on a normal farm visit from checking the tone of the feathers to looking at feed and egg quality.
After this we moved onto the Cows and Alun took us to a field full of them. We had 4 specialists for this shoot and it was a case of getting in amongst the livestock and specialists to capture the appropriate images and checking with Sian we captured what was required.
Calf’s next for a quick photoshoot followed by sheep – a huge thanks to Alun and his sheep dog for this photoshoot. Working with Alun and explaining the shots I was after; Alun could command his sheep dog to direct the sheep to be in the right place at the right time so I could use them as a backdrop for my Wynnstay specialist shot. This took a little longer as I had to predict where the sheep would end up, which direction they would be facing and based on that, where my specialist needed to stand. Once completed, an invite back to the farm for a well-deserved cuppa and another piece of Helen's lovely homemade cake – many thanks to Alun for his complete commitment to helping me get the best possible location photography, Sian for a some excellent organisation and everyone at Wynnstay for being such good sports despite some initial fears of being in front of the camera - many thanks