John Ourant, owner of Rogue Valley Homeopathy, was intrigued by the "storytelling" aspect of my photography services, and wanted to tell the story of his business through pictures. In conducing his services, John spends a lot of time with his clients listening to their stories, and trying to help them come up with a homeopathic solution to whatever ails them. So, how do you tell this story through individual photographs?
Ultimately we decided to mockup (for real patient privacy, of course) a few situations in his office that would show, most importantly, John listening. He works with individuals and families of all genders and ages, so we chose a few setups that fell into his client demographics. Over the course of an afternoon, each group came through, and we rearranged the furniture and lighting for each setup.
The lighting is nothing dramatic; we made the conscious decision to light the room such that it looked as it does when real clients come in to spend real time with John.
The outside light can be quite strong, and can blast through the venetian blinds, of course leaving harsh shadows that we can forgive in real life, but not in photography. To work around that I covered the windows (behind the blinds) with an opaque acetate, to diffuse the light coming through.
The room was lit with two or three Canon Speedlites, depending on the setup. Usually one light was bouncing off the ceiling to simulate the overhead lighting, and then one or two more were used to fill in shadows and light the subjects directly.
The lighting isn't dramatic, but of course it's meant not to be. The walls and furniture and carpet are all largely the same neutral color, and even as John will tell you, the room is quite boring — but it needs to be. Comforting, calm, simple, clean. Clients need to be at ease while in his care.
John also needed a few simple, clean business portraits that he could use on his website, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. We initially shot in his office so they'd match the rest of the images, but ultimately discarded those and re-shot them in the studio. Nice and clean, nothing fancy, entirely likable and forever usable.
Not every job is a big technical challenge. This was an easy setup with an easy follow-through. It was tempting to try and push something more dramatic, more intriguing, or even portfolio worthy, but of course that wouldn't have satisfied the clients needs. Rogue Valley Homeopathy needed a story told in a way that would appeal to every possible client they might have. Mission accomplished.