Blog Post Photography Thoughts

Lighting Challenge: Depart Your Comfort Zone

April 15, 2018

As photographers, we should always be looking at ways to get out of our comfort zone in order to grow. You can achieve this by shooting outside of your niche, going to a play or taking part in an event you normally wouldn’t go to. A less traditional approach, and one that I attempted this weekend was asking strangers to take their portraits.

Last night my wife and I were spending our last evening in Washington D.C.’s National Harbor area and I had been itching to try out some new gear that I had just purchased. We went to grab dinner at the english pub and the bartender had a “majestic” beard and he was someone that I really wanted to photograph. 

After stewing for a little while I looked over to my wife and said: “I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna ask him if I could make a portrait of him”. She looked at me with a strange look, I think she was waiting for an April fools punchline, but I was serious. The next time the bartender checked on us, I asked him if I could take some photos of him and he looked at me to see if I was serious and said sure! 

We walked back to the hotel, grabbed the lights and came back. As I was walking back I was starting to get ideas for what look I was going for and what photos I wanted. Because I just purchased the lights I didn’t have any modifiers nor a light stand but I had to deal with what I had. 

Once we got back to the pub, none of the shots that I had in my head were working out. For some reason I thought I would have the bartenders un-divided attention but what I failed to realize was the bartender couldn’t stop working so I had to improvise. 

After all was done, I fell in love with the image below. My goal was to convey his bright personality, his animated nature, and of course his skill as a bartender. I feel like this image conveys all 3. 

Key Takeaways

  • Always be ready for the change, it is inevitable. 
  • Be confident in your skills
  • Be willing to try something new
  • Commit, don’t quit


Lumix 12-35:
Profoto B1:
Profoto Air Trigger:
Profoto Grid: