Trust and Diffraction

Every once in a while I have the opportunity to create photographs without any creative limitations. It's a rare opportunity when a client gives you complete freedom to dictate the concept of a shoot without any strict parameters or guidelines. This is trust. Knowing that my clients trust me enough with their time and money to create photographs that represent them is humbling.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to work with the band, Mightychondria. I first met the band members through Larissa's band, The Hello Strangers. After seeing them play numerous times and listening to their first album I had a pretty good grasp of their music and identity. They approached me in May about creating some photographs for their promotional materials and by June we were ready to shoot.

Larissa and I were driving to Philadelphia for a portfolio showing and in the 3 hour drive we came up with the idea to photograph the band underwater. Their music has a power to it and harnesses an ethereal quality. We wanted to emphasize the feeling of being gravity free while also nodding to the band members playful personalities. While in Philly we ended up spending the night with a few members of the band discussing music and art until 4 in the morning. They loved the underwater idea so upon our return to Mercersburg we began working out the logistics.

Shooting underwater is not without its technical challenges. For starters, underwater housings are expensive to buy. We decided to rent the underwater equipment we needed from I've rented from them before and am always satisfied with their ordering system, efficiency and price so they were the first place I went to.

The second technical challenge is that light acts dramatically different under water than it does above. Water diffracts light beams in various directions. In this case, the water and all its visible and invisible particles acts as an obstacle. Knowing this, we planned to shoot outside on a sunny day when the sun would be at its highest point in the sky. I wanted the most direct light possible so we planned for a start time of 11:30 AM. We had two backup plans in place in case one, it was cloudy and two, it was rainy or cold. We planned to use high powered strobes to act as the sun if necessary and we also found a suitable indoor location if the weather didn't work out for our scheduled day. Fortunately the weather was cooperative and we were able to use a mix of natural and strobe light at our outdoor location.

We were presented with numerous challenges on this shoot, but spent the time planning on how to deal with each unique challenge. Planning is key and the more questions you ask the better. I always try to imagine myself in the shooting environment and try to think of all the possible equipment scenarios and environmental factors that I may have to deal with on the shoot day. I make a mental list and then set out to understand the most efficient way to create the images in my mind. On the day of the shoot I want to have the technical details in place so I can focus all of my attention on direction and interaction with my subjects.

This shoot was highly successful and so far the feedback on the images has been great from Mightychondria's fans. All of us had so much fun working together that we have already started planning for the next concept.

How do you reward trust?