Category Archives: How I shot…

How I Shot a Volunteer

Sharon Carpenter, St John Ambulance

Sharon, Volunteer

Sharon and I work for the same organisation. The organisation’s internal website regularly features profiles of staff, showing what they do outside of work. And it was Sharon’s turn to be featured.

Amongst her many other interests and activities (she is also a medical guinea pig, read her story over at her blog), Sharon is a volunteer emergency worker with St John Ambulance.

We decided that apart from the uniform and tools of the trade, we would only hint at the work she does, rather than try to show her in a dramatic setting. The photo was first and foremost a portrait of Sharon. We wanted anyone who saw the photo to recognise a colleague in an unfamiliar setting.

For our backdrop we chose the interior of an ambulance. I didn’t want to show it in detail, but dimly lit and out of focus. I used a Nikon SB-28 speedlight to put some light in the ambulance interior. I also put a blue gel on it, partly to contrast with the green uniform and warm main light I was planning to use and partly to echo the blue emergency light of the ambulance.

Sharon, Volunteer

The main light is from a Westcott Apollo 28 inch softbox with a Nikon SB-28 speedlight. I was also using a Rosco 08 gold gel on the speedlight to simulate warm evening light. The speedlights were fired using Paul Buff Cybersync remote triggers.

To get the light as soft as possible, the softbox was placed at left of frame as close to Sharon as I could get it without being it in the shot. The 200mm lens I used gave me an out of focus background and kept the focus on Sharon.

Sharon, Volunteer

Also posted in explanation, How I shot..., Portrait