What am I shooting in the middle of the (hot) street with the instagramming audience behind me? Something big, concrete, ferocious, and distinctly a Detroit icon. Check it out after the jump.





It's a 2 story tall Tiger adorning the front of Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. Oh, and their cheerleading "Energy Squad" that pumps up the crowd during home games.

This shot was a lesson in backup plans, stretching the abilities of your equipment, and being in the right place at the right time.

For being in the right place: I called up a friend of mine to do a portrait, and even though he's got a modeling portfolio full of work we did, he always seems to be down to do more. However, his friend that accompanied him on the shoot had other plans.

The very next day, he called and told me to put in a bid to shoot something for the Detroit Tigers. His friend works in the marketing department, checked out my work, and wanted to use me for a short-notice shoot that had been put on the backburner, but needed to be done NOW.

After a quick meeting, I had gone right up to meet the Marketing VP, and scheduled for just a few days ahead. At the end of the meeting, the weather was suddenly called into question.

Everyone's weather app was showing light rain, and three of the four shots we had discussed relied on being outdoors, and on the field. Only one shot could be accomplished if we were rained out, but there was no additional time for weather days while trying to coordinate 30 cheerleaders, some who even lived across the border in Canada.

Backup plans: I had to quickly suggest another two shots minimum that could be done even if Downtown Detroit was flooding. Covered locations in the stadium that would still give us a decent view had to be scouted in addition to the primary shots. It was a definite compromise that nobody wanted to make, but we had to work around any possibility.

Stretching your equipment: I run with a lot of lights, much to the dismay of my assistant who had to move them around to our final FIVE locations in the park. Part of this job was also studio headshots, which meant four of my six lights were tied up in the conference room, ready to go.

Of course, when we showed up, it was raining. We got the studio up and running, and while we started on headshots, we kept an eye on the weather. After only an hour, we got the call that there was at least nothing wet coming down. Running with the only spare lights, a Profoto Acute 1200 and two heads, I had to light 30 girls and one massive tiger.

Profoto 1200's are nothing to sneeze at, but at the distance we needed to be at to fit the whole tiger AND the park sign in, even at full power they were barely adding enough. If we had to overpower the sun, we may have had to compromise in post production, adding cost to the job. But the overcast day meant nice diffuse light, and just a touch was needed for some direction.

This was the weather through the entire shoot, and we still had four more locations to go, including one with the city skyline (cloud covered) and one on the field. It was also here that I learned asking politely will get you far in life, but not everywhere, as we were kicked off the field so they could finish prepping for the game in less than two hours.


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