Making the Most of Things, On and Off Set

Australian actor, Ireland McLeod, on the set of the Richard Gray motion picture film, Summer CodaCanon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series lens.

Over recent years I've worked, on occasions, as a stills photographer on several film and TV productions. One of my best experiences on the set of the Richard Gray motion picture film, Summer Coda, came when I got to photograph young actor, Finn Ireland. After asking permission from Finn's mother, Thea McLeod, I approached him to make sure he was happy to be photographed.

The Process

Initially I made a few candid-like images of Finn, such as the above photo made, from outside, through the glass of a bedroom window. The lights were on, the camera rolling and our young, up and coming actor was just about to walk into a scene. I like the abstract nature of the image with its inside/outside, neither here nor there, quality.

Once the scene was in the can I continued to photograph Finn. I very much wanted to create a series of images by which both Finn and his mum could better remember the day. Variety seemed important. I made a quick head and shoulder portrait, under lovely open shade, prior to taking a short walk into a nearby orange grove where I photographed Ireland under the shade of a large tree, laden with fruit.

Australian actor, Ireland Mcleod, relaxing in lush grass during a candid moment on the set of Summer CodaCanon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series lens.

Enthusiasm is Infectious

The late afternoon light was so beautiful that my enthusiasm was hard to contain. Enthusiasm is, my its very nature, infectious. Finn picked up on my enthusiasm and we had a lot of fun making images together.

Working With Kids

Of course its easier, when working with kids, if you make a game of it. I only had to ask Finn to lye down, spreadeagled, in the grass and down he went. I'm happy that the image depicts some of the joy of childhood. And, let's face it, that's much easier to achieve outdoors, in a natural environment, than would be the case in a studio filled with artificial light and fake backgrounds. Such environments often produce quite contrived results.

Looking Back

Despite a range of difficulties associated with photographing for film and TV I've had the pleasure to meet and work with a range of wonderful people. The irony is that, despite doing my utmost to make quality images of actors on set, my best memories come from working behind the scenes, with cast and crew alike. 

For this is where creativity flows and the challenges of working with light, environment and subject really bring one into the moment. And, after all these years, that's what I still love the most about making photographs.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru