It’s hard to say no when Beats by Dre comes knocking and asks “Do you want to photograph festival goers being themselves at Ansan Valley Rock Festival, hang out with a handful of beautiful models, see Nine Inch Nails, and have a few drinks?”. From my perspective, there is only one answer to that question. A resounding yes followed, and the preparations began.
As part of Beats by Dre’s Show Your Color campaign, we would be photographing 300 festival goers each day in the Beats by Dre tent. The process was simple: come in, choose a word, represent that word in your photo, collect a print, share your image on a social network and pick up your prize. On our end that meant squeezing a flash and a computer into a corner of the tent and photographing those that came to see us.
With a triangle of space approximately 2.5 square metres in size, there was no room for more than one flash, one photographer, and the subjects. I would be squeezing myself in next to a single lightstand with my Westcott Orb flying over my head. This size of light would give some freedom of movement to the people who visited the booth, and give a fairly cleanly lit background as well. We needed to have a background that was close to white so as not to distract from the subjects and their chosen words. My 24-70 gave me a good mix between headshots and waist-up portraits in this space, and allowed me to shoot small groups if they came in.
We also needed to run a printing station, but there simply wasn’t enough room in the photography booth to have everything set up. So, we needed to get the images from the booth to the other side of the room without filling the place with cables. I tossed a few solutions around in my head. WT-5A? Nikon is just taking the mickey there. Eye-fi? If only I could have got one in time. Two computers on a wireless network? Lots of possible errors, but a good solution.
I tethered the D800 to Lightroom in the photobooth, and had it save the files to a Dropbox folder. Small jpgs were the only way to maintain speed here. The second computer was on the same network and linked to that Dropbox folder. As files made their way into the Dropbox, my assistant Damari opened the files in Photoshop and overlaid the subject’s chosen word. They were then saved back into a watched folder that would upload the files to my FTP server, allowing people to instantly share their photos on social networks while they waited for the prints. This whole process took approximately 2 minutes from shutter release to final print.
Two Canon Selphy printers were connected to the second computer for the printing, and ran all day without issue. I’ll talk a little more about these printers in my next post, but safe to say that they are phenomenal. Pick one up.
Enough of that though, on to the photos.