By Douglas Gritz
Face It Together opened a new branch office in Denver located on South Broadway in the Baker neighbored. FIT is based in Minneapolis. Before they held opened the new office, they hired me to come create portraits of the of their Denver staff. A couple months later they brought me back to create event photography of their grand opening, which was attended by Denver mayor Michael Hancock.
FIT offers counseling services for people struggling with substance abuse. Their new Denver office is beautiful and they have several rooms dedicated for counseling sessions. They also have an app where clients can get immediate help or make appointments. Additionally, they will do counseling remotely via computer.
So last week they brought me back a third time to create commercial photography of each of these scenarios that they could use to advertise on their website and social media.
The first part of the day my assignment was to photograph scenes of counselors counseling remotely via computer. They wanted each scenario in two versions, one each for female and male. The biggest challenge with these setups had nothing to do with photography. Instead, it was getting the connections to people remotely at their Minneapolis office. Sometimes technical glitches can’t be foreseen, and that may have been the case a little bit here. Otherwise, I recommend my clients have everything prepared and ready to go before my arrival so we can all maximize the day and get all the photographs that are on their list.
For the top two photos, I used three lights. First I put an Arri 1K fresnel outside of the office and directed it toward the frosted glass so I could give that a little shape. A second light was armed out from a C-stand to the right of the camera frame and directly over the large monitor on the wall. This provided a key light for the counselors in the chairs. My third light was put in the corner to the left o of the frame to provide a hair and edge light to the counselors.
For the bottom two photos, I took advantage of house lights to light the counselors and the counter space. Then I placed an Arri 650K fresnel to the right of the scene and placed the head at the height of the computer and raked the light across the counter, computer, and hand. This helped provide some visual interest and shape to those elements.
Next, my client wanted to show off their phone app where clients can make appointments and chat directly with counselors. So the most important element of these photos needed to be the screen of the phone. But I also wanted to give a sense of setting and place. So I placed our “talent” (all the models were FIT employees who volunteered to help create scenes for the photography) on one of their couches, placed a coffee table in front of it and then made sure I had piece of their wood floor in the frame to give the photos a bit of warmth. For light, again took advantage of some of the house lights for general ambient light. Then I took one of my lights and placed it to the right of the frame to rake light across the hands and phone. I took a second light and used that to light up the wood floor to brighten it and bring out the gold tones of the wood.
Here are photographs of scenes we created showing one-on-one counseling. I shot the direction of the window on purpose. I like to try and include windows whenever possible because it brings a sense of life to your photography. So I was all set to do that here and noticed there was a red pickup truck sitting outside that window that was going to be a major distraction in the photo. We asked the owner if he would move it and he said no problem. So then we waited. And we waited. And waited. The truck didn’t move. The owner comes back in and tells us he is very sorry, but he can’t find his keys! I tell you, what are the odds? Something like seems to happen on every shoot, so I am always prepared to have to pivot. So with time short, I wasn’t able to re-stage the scene to shoot in a different direction. Fortunately, the window had a translucent shade. So I pulled that down and onward we went!
Earlier I shot a similar scene of counselors communicating with clients via computer. For the previous scene, I was focused on the client on the computer screen. Here I needed to be focused on the counselors themselves. So like I did with the glass before, I put a light outside the room and directed it into the glass so I could give the glass some visual interest with a shape of light. Then I used an LED light frame left as a key light for the counselors. Finally, a third light was placed in the back right corner for an edge light on the counselors.
For the final scenes, my client wanted to show a client being welcomed at the door. So staged it two different ways to give them the option of seeing either the client’s face or the counselor’s. There was a massive height difference between the two models in this scene. The first few frames I took immediately made this apparent. So I brought out an apple box for the female model to stand on, which helped even their height out perfectly.