Anatomy of a Photo Shoot . . .

Blog ©Randy Ziegler

Searching my photo archives recently, I came upon a cover shot that reminded me of all the times I have had to “punt” during a photo shoot. A photographer must be alert and open to possibilities, even when those possibilities seem remote.

I captured the cover shot for the Mayo Alumni magazine, while I was an editorial photographer at the renowned Mayo Clinic. The scientist’s office was small, cluttered with scientific documents, and lit with unattractive fluorescent light. My assignment was to create a captivating image of the doctor to honor his many contributions to medicine.  Let’s just say the odds of that happening, in that room, was limited!

I tried a few options but nothing was singing “cover shot” to me. He then informed me he had only 10 minutes before his next appointment. Great, now what? As I often tell photographers during my photo workshops, “Keep looking and you will find the next right answer.” It was then with limited time, I looked out the window and wondered, “What if he was involved writing a formula on his office window?” He liked the idea, and found a marker to write a scientific formula he had been working on. I turned off the overhead fluorescent lights, and used only available daylight coming through the window. This gave me the ability to transform abstract elements of everyday life into a hallmark image. Being inventive, I constructed a great cover image, which the editor loved!

Remember to keep looking for the next right answer. Always be open to new ways of seeing, which will parlay you to a victorious photo capture.


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