I was contacted a few months ago by a new client. He came by referral to me through a friend. He was a massage therapist who was building his own private practice in Minneapolis after working in the corporate world for a few years. He liked my work and wanted to know if I would do some photos for his new website redesign. I jumped at the opportunity.
I found a friend to be the “massage” model for the shoot (someone who didn’t have any difficult tattoos on his back) and scheduled our session. Due to schedules, the shoot couldn’t happen till 6pm, the sun was still out at this time of year, but very low on the horizon. I prefer to use as much natural lighting as possible when I do my work, but have been relying more and more on my lighting equipment and my new compact flash unit. I decided not to bring my studio lighting on this shoot because the room I was working in was a cozy setting and there may not have been enough space to set them up without being in the shot as well as the amount of heat they give off (and who knows if they will set off a circuit breaker). This was a perfect opportunity for me to practice using my new flash unit in a real life setting. The available lighting was florescent tubes directly overhead and a sliver of outside light coming through ground floor window blinds. Through out the session, I alternated light sources to mix things up and find a good sweet spot, but I had to set my camera to a higher ISO to get faster shutter speeds.
Halfway through the shoot though, I decided to experiment a little bit with slower shutter speeds and my handheld strobe unit (i brought my extension cable). My thought was that I could capture the motion of the hands giving the massage in order to visually enhance the tactile experience of being massaged. It didn’t work exactly as I had envisioned, but I came away with some very successful images for my client that weren’t…”Too far out there”. Even though the shots weren’t exactly what I saw in my mind, the fact that they captured some of the motion greatly enhanced the massage portraits for my client. I just have to practice that type of shot some more in order to perfect the quality of the impact in the future.
I wonder how my photography would be affected by having a massage before I took pictures. Before the massage they would be tense and uptight…… After they might be loose and groggy (or maybe I’d forget to take the lens cap off and they would all just be blank). 😛