Von Wong Photoshoot: Minimal gear? Language Problem? Tourists? No Problem!
One of the skills that all good photographers should have is the ability to think on the fly. As the popular saying goes, when it comes to photoshoots, something ALWAYS goes wrong. In the case of Benjamin Von Wong, he ran into the problems of only having bare speedlights as lighting, not having enough stands, working with inexperienced models who do not speak English, and having tourists gawking around and taking their own photos!
While travelling across Europe for his Von Wong Does Europe tour, Benjamin Von Wong got a chance to meet leather mask designer Cecilio Martinez, whose masks can be seen being worn by Madonna during the Superbowl. Together, they set out to do a shoot showcasing Cecilio and his work.
Unfortunately, the majority of his lighting equipment had to stay behind in France, so all Ben had to work with was a handful of speedlights, a lightstand, a tripod, a Foursquare speedlight bracket, and some Nasty Clamps. He even improvised his tripod as a lightstand/lightboom and used crevices in the walls to hold lights in.
Having a language barrier between him and the models also made it harder to have a smooth photoshoot, particularly when the models did not have a lot of experience. There were also tourists around to contend to, as they lingered around the shoot and took occasional snapshots of the models. On top of this, the sun became too strong later on in the day, and Ben had to fire multiple speedlights in one direction just to balance out the lighting.
But it was all worth it once you see the final images.
If you want to see how Ben lit these images, be sure to read his blog post, Shooting a Superbowl Leather Mask Designer – Cecilio Martinez and also check out this behind the scenes video.