On Assignment: Scout and a Shoot Pt. 1

Gonna do something a little different today.

If at all possible, before a job I try to get to the location a day or two in advance and do a quick scout. This helps me to think a little in the interim and to anticipate any problems I might have during the shoot. It also helps me to decide what gear to bring — i.e., not to overpack.

So let's do a quick scout together. In the next post, we'll walk through the shoot itself.
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The location is the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, AKA the MCE. Longtime readers will recognize this place from a pair of other OA posts.

But this time we'll have no creepy/cool Stanley Kubrick hallway and lasers. Nor will we even have a conference room and whiteboard.

Nope. Here is our studio for the day, a disused white office room with a window that overlooks a fluorescent-lit hallway:


There you go.
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The good news:

• The room is white.
• The room has a (white) ceiling, of decent height.
• It's (mostly) empty.


The bad news:

• It's mostly empty.
• Not a lot of personality
• We have to do a couple different shoots here.
• We'll be working quickly to swap up between shoots


But this is not the only vantage point in the room. Let's walk to the far corner and have a look back this way:


That's not too bad. In fact, that's seamless white paper that I won't have to cart in. So that's good.

Also, the walls and ceiling being white, they won't influence my flash. Whatever I shoot into them — or gel into them — I'll get bounced back faithfully. Actually, I'll take this room, compared to many others.

Let's pop out and take a look at that white hallway out the window:


Okay then. Here it is naked, not even color-balanced yet. This is a daylight-balanced photo showing it as it really is under those fluorescents. Looks like a giant harvest gold-green kitchen from the '70s in this light. Hmm.
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So there you go. Given the quick change, and the fact that I will have no assistant, I am going to choose to do this with speedlights. I'll bring a few, some stands, a few diffused umbrellas, odds and ends and a C-stand or two.

Cameras? Let's call it a Nikon D3 with a 105mm portrait lens and a 35/2, a Fuji X100s and a coupla PocketWizard PlusX remotes. Add some gels to the mix and that should do us.

Let the room percolate in your mind, and I'll see you in a couple of days when we come back to shoot it.


Next: How We Shot It


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