Aviva portraits

Aviva continue their longstanding You Are The Big Picture global marketing campaign with a blitz of activity at London's South Bank Centre this week.  They invited me to their swanky City HQ, to take portraits of their staff.  These pictures will be digitally projected onto the side of the National Theatre this weekend.  For every picture taken, Aviva promised to donate £4 to Street to School.  I was given a total of 5 hours over two days, and managed to shoot 172 individual portraits. It was pretty frantic work, but everyone was in good humour and enjoyed raising money for a good cause. Office lighting is infamously unattractive, with a greenish hue, and vertical axis, but I was required to move too quickly for studio lighting to be practical.  So I opted for a mixture of natural light (north-facing floor to ceiling windows were a big help) and a mixture of office lighting and a on-camera flash to fill shadows and add sparkle to the eyes.  All shot with Canon 5D Mk II and the dreamy Canon 85mm f/1.2.  I used an aperture of around f/2.0 for a variety of reasons (isolate the subject, maintain high shutter speed and reduce ISO noise) My depth of field at that aperture was about 5mm, even at 10 feet from the subject, so there was a fair bit of chimping to check focus!

In post-production I converted to b&w, reduced noise slightly, and dramatically increased contrast using the Curves tool.

Here is a selection: