Formal Portraits as a Fundraiser

I have been doing formal portraits of Masonic Brethren in their regalia as a fundraising effort for a local lodge building fund. In the course of this effort, I have discovered that there is a real need for formal photography, particularly when it involves a part of someone’s life that is not usually visible to their friends and neighbors.

Portrait of Master of a Masonic Lodge, showing regalia.

Shot using Chroma Key and background substitution.

Most of us have a private pursuit that takes us away from our day-to-day existence, and which we value very highly as a part of our life; where our achievements are of high personal value. School photographs do not fall into this category, but graduation portraits, team group and individual photos, and other well-done photos showcasing our activities and achievements, will be of great personal value.

More and more, the public is getting used to photos coming from camera phones, and digital images being emailed to friends. A large, high-quality matted print in a frame today is taking on a special significance it never had before. Years ago, print was the way we viewed a photo. Today, we use a computer screen, and a print is unusual. Photographers should take advantage and make more effort to market prints and albums.

Portrait of a Masonic Grand Lodge officer (District Deputy Grand Master) showing Right Worshipful regalia.

Shot using Chroma Key and background substitution.

In the above-mentioned sessions, I wanted a standard dark blue background, and did not have the space to move a painted background far enough behind the subject. Instead I opted to use chromakey (green screen), and to insert the desired background, suitably defocussed. Other backgrounds are also available. Lighting consists of 5 lights: 2 small flashes with medium soft boxes to evenly light the chromakey, and a 3-light setup for the subject. Using a standardized setup allows you to put your efforts into your personal interaction with the subject, and has the added advantage of portability for work on location.

When people go to a photographer, they need to know that there is a special reason for doing so. Tying the photography to an event, or to a cause, will increase the number of people taking advantage of the service. Do a superlative job, and they will tell their friends.

Get busy to get busy!