Novo Nordisk is a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Bagsværd, Denmark, with production facilities in seven countries, and affiliates or offices in 75 countries. They, of course, have an office in the UK. I was recently contacted by their London office about fulfilling a photographic request in Northern Ireland. They needed a Belfast photographer and I was that man.
As per usual, the initial request was about my availability for this photo shoot. The request at the start was a little vague as my contact in London had to firm up with the subject of the photo shoot when they would be free. Once he had that information I would get a more definite date. After we got the date nailed down the next task was the venue. This turned out to be the Belfast Boat Club.
The photo shoot was to highlight the equipment that Novo Nordisk produce and how it helps those with diabetes live normal lives. My subject was an 8 year old tennis fan who I will call James (not his real name). The brief, at the top level, was to show James going through the motions of his weekly tennis lesson. The whole point of this shoot was to show it, not tell it.
The brief included several points for me to follow.
• Strive for variation in composition and facial expressions (Not too many pretty smiles, serious or contemplating looks often works best).
• Capture energy, movement and people actively doing something.
• Look for vibrant colours.
• Do not ‘cut off’ hands and feet! (Crop respectfully).
• Use only relevant props
• Allow for ‘text in image’ layouts in compositions (dark or light neutral backgrounds with space for text)
• Cover the scene: wide angle to close-up
So whilst there were only a couple of specific requirements I still had to keep them in my mind whilst taking the photos, managing the subject, paying attention to the outside conditions, controlling the lights and speaking with the parent and local Novo Nordisk representative all at the same time.
As I wouldn’t meet James until the shoot date I would have to ease him in gently to the photographic process. We started with some static shots using my Elinchrom Ranger and Lastolite Ezybox. Light was fading fast so I had to make use of the ambient light as much as possible.
All of the images below were shot with the Lastolite/Quadra set up and an additional speed light fitted with a flash bender.
Once we got to know each other we moved on to some action shots. Due to tennis balls flying around the court I opted not to use the Lastolite/Quadra set up. Light was fading fast so we had to move fast. I bumped up the ISO to compensate for the lowering light levels but I was still able to get a super fast shutter speed. The fastest speed in the images below was 1/3200th of a second. I had to use AF-C with tracking to ensure James remained in focus despite moving around lots. Aperture was kept between F2.8 and F4.5 to make best use of the available light.
Next on the shot list was a small batch of images with James and his trainer. The first two images were shot outside using a mix of speed lights and natural light. The second two images were shot inside the bubble courts using speed lights set to around 1/4 power.
The last set of images were just part of a smaller batch of images that were taken as the last part of the photo shoot happened. All of the images were to show James leading a normal life thanks to the equipment supplied by Novo Nordisk.