Shooting The Mayor (Photographically Speaking)

Mayor James Atebe

I somehow managed to completely miss the “Strobist Bootcamp” from the last couple of years, but when I saw that David Hobby (@strobist) was doing it again this year I decided to jump on board.  The Strobist Bootcamp introduction lays out what the idea is… a series of assignments to get aspiring photographers learning to light off the couch and up and out in the world doing real work, and a nice little prize.

The first assignment seems pretty simple, a profile images of someone important in your community.  After waffling for a while on whether I was actually going to do this, I remembered that I had a friend who had said on a couple of ocassions that she knew the Mayor of my hometown.  Who could be more important locally?  A few emails back and forth and things fell into place nicely, and I was set up to go in at 8:30 in the morning.

The shoot went well and fairly smoothly.  I had done a test lighting setup and shoot the night before to make sure I wasn’t standing around looking like a numbnuts, and I got in a bit before the mayor did, so I was able to set up the lights and get the power about right first.  Then he came in and I have to say, James Atebe comletely earned his reputation as the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.  Huge smile, happy demenor, massive and infectious laugh (especially when I made the comment that part of the point of this assignment was to take pictures of real people, instead of more portraits of my cat!), and nice and patient with me getting him in a few different positions.

The shoot took about 20 minutes, with time on either end with conversation and chatting.  The hardest part about the whole assigment was explaining just what it was, nothing to do with school, not a real organization, etc.

I learned a lot I think, both good and bad.  In 20/20 hindsight I probably should have swapped the beauty dish (main light, camera right) for an umbrella to get the light a bit less harsh on his face, and maybe had a few different poses (ie: in the couch in his office, against the wall, etc).  Still, all in all a fun shoot, minimal post processing and (I think) a nice image as a result.  Thanks to James for putting up with me and helping contribute to my entry for the Boot Camp Assignment 1!