I was reminded recently of the importance of having a good back up plan when doing outdoor shoots. With the moonsoon-like weather we had in DC earlier this summer, there's no getting around the fact that it could go from sunny and humid to torrential downpour in the course of a few minutes.
After having a few close calls on the weather, my luck ran out during a shoot with lobbyist Steve Elmendorf for BusinessWeek. I had scouted out a few nice spots along K Street to photograph him and had worked out a walking plan and lighting set up for each that would allow my assistant to be mobile while hauling a softbox and light mounted on a boom pole, and a battery pack over his shoulder.
Steve arrived on time and we spent a couple of minutes talking about the shoot then headed across the street to our first location. At that point, the skies opened up and my dream of a multiple setup shoot went out the window as we retreated to a building overhang that was our backup spot.
Certainly there was nothing ideal about how the rest of the shoot went, but I was reminded (again) that location portraiture is a series of improvisations and it's not the obstacles themselves, but how one responds that ultimately determine the success or failure of a shoot.
Steve Elmendorf for BusinessWeek