Last week I had one of those assignments that are a blast from the beginning until the very last shot. It started with a 3-hour drive through one of my favorites landscapes to go to the city of Erbil (known as Hawler in the local language), the capital of Kurdistan. Were on the road at 3am and as we drove, waited for the sun to rise and surprise us again with the beautiful early morning light on the slopes that cover Kurdistan (next time we’ll photograph more of that too).
I arranged an early start due to the high temperatures that we have in summer in Iraq, so at 7am Erin Wilson and I met up with some of the Agrisoya members in Erbil (Erin was great company for that trip, and a better assistance and second photographer as well). My assignment was to photograph the soy bean fields, employees and factory for Agrisoya, one the initiatives that SALT International is implementing in Iraq.
When we arrived at one of the fields planted with soybeans, a first for this area of Iraq, I was pleased to see the Agrisoya team wearing very nice clothes, in colors that made a nice contrast with the field. It was an opportunity that I could not let pass. So in addition to photographing the fields, which was part of my brief, I also took the time to photograph the team in the field. It was something I hadn’t planned, but it added a lot to the shoot, and it made my client even happier because of the results.
Tip: Don’t shoot only what’s in the contract. Do that first, but if you see something else that would add richness/quality to the shoot, then go for it. Your clients will appreciate that. Remember to deliver what only you are capable of delivering as photographer; there’s only one person like you, take advantage of that.
After the fields we moved on to the factory where, besides photographing some of the workers constructing this facility, I had the goal to make some environmental portraits of the guys directing the work of Agrisoya. It was a good challenge. After scouting for a good location we decided to photograph these guys among the machinery in this brand new factory. This part of the work was easier because we were under shade, and because our “models” were very supportive, and followed direction really well. At this point we went from using natural light to off-camera light with a softbox. I think this was a good call, as it added more contrast to the scene and gave that classic editorial look that my clients needed.
Here some other photographs from this assignment: