Studio shoot for the Carter Observatory open day

I was commissioned by the Wellington City Council to do a studio shoot for a promo they are running on the upcoming open day at the Carter Observatory. The brief was to photograph a little boy looking into a telescope in front of a white wall (for cut out purposes). The photo is for an insert that runs in the Dominion Post Newspaper. I ended up taking a full studio set up just in case. It turned out the room had a suitable white wall so I did not end up using all by background stands and seamless backdrop. I did however end up using 4 lights. Two for the model and two to evenly light the wall.

Close up version with an expression that I liked. Photo by Mark Tantrum | Wellington City Council

A major challenge was time. When I arrived we had to wait for the room to be vacated, then as soon as we walked in the talent arrived. They were super relaxed parents and took a 5 min walk with their son. I was then a bit of a rush to get the 4 lights set up and firing. Instead of testing the lights, I just guessed the power ratios (1/4 on bare bulb flashes in the background and 1/4 power on the softbox and umbrella fill in the foreground). I had the model stand in while I shot some test frames, adjusting the aperture on the camera to get a nice, balanced exposure. With kids, if they loose interest its hard to get them back- so I just got him involved with the lighting tests and we started shooting immediately.

A fun variant 3/4 length shot- we already had good shots in the bag, but I tried a fun angle (model) and moved the camera around to liven the shot up even more. Portrait of young boy with telescope for the insert in the Dominion Post Newspaper promoting the Carter Observatory. Photo by Mark Tantrum | Wellington City Council.

I liked the fact that even though it was a pretty challenging shoot in terms of the numbers of lights- it was still a fun shoot for the model and for me. Having the technical side handled enabled for the shoot to flow naturally and have a real pace. A well natured child that wants to participate really helps too!

Here is the final image that ran in the 22nd March 2011 Dominion Post.

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