This aerospace industrial photography assignment was for Relativity Space and was the most technically difficult assignment of my life, firstly because I had never lit anything this large, and secondly, it could not be done in one shot, but rather in 9 shots, then composited in post production. On top of that the client wanted to insert their CEO into the picture. Theoretically, I thought it was possible since I had done many composite industrial photography assignments to tackle tough lighting situations, but nothing so technically difficult.
The challenge was how to light a 26 ft. tall Robotic 3D printer and make it look cool and guard against an epic fail.
First I scouted the location so I could understand the technical photography demands. Secondly I needed two assistants with grip experience because we had to mounted 5 lights on a one tower and make sure there was little possibility of it collapsing or topping during the shoot. I could not stop imaging a worst case scenario and the whole time I was worried that I would miss something and not have enough resources to put the image together in post.
Additionally, I needed to move the light tree to 8 different positions so I could make my vision work. It was pretty exciting and terrifying at the same time since neither I or my 1st assistant had never had an aerospace industrial photography assignment quite so challenging and potentially risky.
The image of the 3D printer took five hours to execute. Two hours to set up and three very tense hours to shoot. We then spent the remainder of the time putting together an editorial portrait of the CEO and shooting a bit of architecture. Total time spent in production was 8 hours.
This is the kind of assignment I most cherish because, despite 25 years of experience in industrial photography, this was a challenge that was on the edge of my expertise and I made it work. Very satisfying.