Repeated Business

Repeated Business

Repeated business is generally seen as a good thing…the product or service has been successful and/or appreciated, and the customer is prepared to lash out again. Surely all one has to do is repeat the dose and all will be well.

Well, times change, and they do so at the rate of a minute every sixty seconds or so. And if there have been enough of those minutes passed, what you did then may not be what you do now.

This poignancy of this is seen most sharply when you are engaged to cover a wedding for a client with whom you have worked before. The phrase about comparisons being odious comes to mind, and good luck to you if you can clear your mind of all previous efforts…but that’s asking a good deal. Fortunately up to now – I’ve clocked up multiple wedding coverage for only four clients – they have arranged such different venues and themes as to let a new vision take over. Yet, you cannot help listening to yourself as you work with the new bridal couple and wondering if you are saying some of the same things you said last time. They certainly are…

At least now there is a chance that your working equipment and lighting arrangements may be different from the last time. We change our gear and methods pretty regularly. This, in itself, may make enough of a difference in the appearance of the images to let you differentiate. Still, the thought does occur; did the bride former bride or former groom keep the first wedding shots? Will they compare the new ones? Will their new spouses do the same? Eek.

On the same line, but in a more relaxed mode, I can say that repeated commercial work with new gear can be a real pleasure. The heading image is of a sweet little holiday home in the southwest that has just had additional accommodation and new decor added. I did a coverage for advertising some 5-6 years ago in the DSLR era and found myself trying to take my entire studio lighting rig down to the venue for interior shots. It was in my more-gear-is-better period and before I got sick of packing and unpacking light stands and power cords. I was also into speedlights in a big, but inexpert, way.*

The first shots came out well and have served as advertising illustration over the years – the new ones, however, saw me packing my entire effort into one body, two lenses, one Speedlight, and one small studio flash. I took a traveller’s tripod as I was a traveller.

Result? As good as before – with daylight and tripod and minimal interference from the flash system. I have taken to custom white balances in a big way and am happy to report that the Fujifilm X-T2 I use has at least three custom white balance settings as well as ºK and Auto WB. I no longer have an excuse to get it wrong.

For the new shooters out there who are always trying to turn the TTL setting on their flash to profit; try turning it off and manually balancing the thing with the ambient lighting. You’ll be surprised how good you get at estimating things and a couple of chimp shots may be all you need to get into pay dirt. Take along some basic gel filter material – I use old HONL filters – and you can deal with whatever the lightbulbs are trying to do.

*  I do inexpert expertly.

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