Telling a story in just one frame is a lot harder than it sounds. But then if it was easy everyone would be doing it. Part of the buzz is meeting the challenge of combining all the elements of a great picture; the right location, right angle, and right light. All three are needed to capture a perfect moment in time.
It’s all about planning and perseverance. The challenge arises when you only score on two of the three elements, that’s when you need some flexibility to give enough time to achieve all three. Has your production company built in enough wiggle room to shuffle the schedule and wait for better weather, alternatively can they rush through a permit that gives access to a perfect location? It’s also essential your talented team of photographers share your vision, and a skilled crew is on hand to second guess every eventuality.
Somebody once asked what it was like to work with me on location? The answer came back; it’s like ‘boot camp’. A little harsh, I thought at first but, on reflection, it’s a very fair view. The location shoots I remember best are the ones where we worked hardest, and yet memorably they also produced the best results.
When I started out, my Creative Director told me ‘If this job was easy, everyone would do it’. That’s a piece of advice that has driven me on more than once. I’ve asked for holes to be dug in frozen ground to get the right camera position when the temperature is plummeting to minus 25 degrees below. I’ve shot standing in rivers, lakes, trees and even digger buckets when a cherry picker didn’t turn up. And often had to overcome the worst the elements have to offer, from shooting in extreme temperatures on salt flats to transporting snow in trucks when a freak storm blew our location away.
So, taking that picture you are really proud of? Plan it, bring in talented people with the right temperament and dig deep, even when the ground is frozen beneath your feet. You could be in for a bumpy ride!
With personal thanks to Simon Holben, Dan McNally, Joe Windsor Williams and Caspar Davies for the adventures. It’s been a privilege.
Lead Art Director/Senior Creative