Last year I was tasked by the comms team in the Belfast Health Trust to help them update their digital media library. Starting in The Mater Hospital, I was tasked with visiting several departments on a normal working day to create new staff portraits. Instead of the normal plain backgrounds used in many portrait photos, these images had to show the natural work environment of the staff.
Portrait photography is a deceptively simple process but this isn't the case when working on site. In a studio or an office you control all of the variables fairly easy. Rooms can altered, lights can be adjusted, backdrops can be changed.
Working on site in a hospital brought many challenges to a usually simple process. I didn't know anything about each of the areas that I had to work in. As the shoot progressed I had to adapt to each location as I arrived. Trying to find a suitable spot in each location was probably the trickiest task.
Each area I worked in was part of an active hospital. I had to be mindful that I was encroaching on the already limited space of the staff, especially in the A&E department.
As I had many locations to visit on this shoot, the set ups used couldn't be complicated. Most of the photos were completed with 2 or 3 lights and small light modifiers, no massive softboxes or umbrellas on this shoot.
Time was also a restriction. Quite often the staff member required wasn't ready to go as they were working on something so I had to wait until they become available. When they were free I only had them for a few minutes. When I was waiting for them to become available I would set my lights up and make sure I was ready to go.
These portraits may not be "perfect" by studio standards but considering the environment and demands on the staff I think they're pretty dam good!
Please note, all relevent Covid-19 measures were followed at the time of working.
If you're in the market for on location staff imagery, get in touch via the contact form.