Arlene Foster

A lot of clients I carry work out for are not based in Belfast.  Clients outside of Belfast usually want a Belfast photographer to assist them in absence of their own photographer.  This makes sense as usually budgets aren’t available to transport photographers from one country to another.  Granted sometimes there is enough budgeted for travel but more often than not my clients from outside Northern Ireland opt for a local photographer.

An accountancy body based in London representing the accountancy profession globally got in touch recently as they needed some photographs of the then Finance Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster.  The photographs would be used in a magazine available both on and offline published by the company who hired me.

I was sent a brief by my client which included a PDF template showing stock images and the layout of the publication.  I was also sent contact details of the journalist who would be meeting me to collect the information for the publication.

We were scheduled to have an hour with Arlene Foster but I knew after existing portrait sessions with notable members of the community I would be lucky to have half of that.  The journalist I met only had to prepare a report of approximately 1800 words and I was warned that it wouldn’t take him long to get everything that he needed.

This photo shoot would be broken in to two parts.  The first part would be the formal interview stage with the journalist.  Whilst he was interviewing Arlene I got a small selection of informal as the two of them talked.  The next part would require a bit of preparation so I left the interview early to get set up for the formal portraits.  This brief was quite specific so if I had the choice I may have taken the images slightly differently.

As I was quickly running out of time I had to keep the formal portraits super simple.  I opted for two speed lights.  One was bare and would be used to fill the room and the other would be fitted with an umbrella for the main light to illuminate my subject.  By the time the journalist was finished I had set up in the room next door and I was ready to go.

I had less than five minutes with Arlene so I was limited to three different set ups.  Quite often I have to skirt the line of not having enough time and making sure I get enough imagery for my clients.  I kept the set ups very close to each other so there wouldn’t be any time wasted in moving to different parts of the building.

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