In 2009 I was planning on visiting Worldcon, the giant science fiction convention, being held that year in Canada, and I wanted to do a series of portraits of fans. And I didn't want any of the technical aspects of it to be a mystery when I got there, so I designed the lighting setup & background long before I left.
Here's a nifty blog post about how I testing lighting setups in my own studio with some recruited volunteers who needed photos of stuff so that when I got to the important places, I'd have all my numbers already figured out.
Eefa from Worldcon 2009
Lights figured out in advance.
The really great thing about this is that a setup like this then goes into the can of setups you've already figured out that you toss in the back of your head. And your backup plan can then be "I'll just do a Worldcon 2009 setup as Plan B" or "I'll do a Steve Severin setup as Plan B." Or "I'll do a Worldcon 2009 setup with a Steve Severin gridded spotlight on the face". The more you do it, the more you have in your tool locker and the easier everything gets.
of course, everything is easier with an assistant, even if it's just someone who has to laugh at your jokes.
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