Sunday, July 9, 2017

Georgetown Fair Queen Portrait Session Behind the Scenes with Sarah Sigmon

As the official photographers of the Georgetown Fair Queen in Georgetown, Illinois, we photograph the annual pageant and do most of the queen's official portraits and promotional images. Everything we shoot for the Georgetown Fair Queen is done on location in Illinois, which means we travel with a lot of gear and build out lighting sets for pretty much every "studio" picture you see of the queen. We do a lot of photography in the main building at the Georgetown fairgrounds, but we've set up on location all over the county. We've built out sets in a farm building with the help our good friend Queen Danielle and her family, and we've done production shoots outdoors in just about every park in the area. Basically: have lights, will travel.

For a production shoot it takes us about an hour to organize, pack and load out all the gear. When we shoot white seamless, which is one of our bigger setups, our car is just about a full as we can pack it. Travel time from door to door is about two hours. This means with travel time, load out, and load in, we are in for four hours before we even get started. Once on location, it takes us about two hours to get everything inside, unpacked and setup for white seamless. When we shoot the queen's official headshot and state portrait, we generally set up two or three sets in the fair building. In cases like this we try to have the sets ready to go for the queen so we can keep moving all day, but we do spend some time moving lights and reconfiguring setups throughout the day. We often rent extra stands and grip gear so we can build out the extra sets.

Because we shoot on location and try to travel as light as possible, we photograph the fair queen with speedlights. This might surprise a few of you, and it might surprise you even more to know that we routinely travel with six of them. With six speedlights, softboxes, umbrellas, grids and some of our favorite Kupo grip gear, so far these hasn't been much the fair queen has dreamed up that we haven't been able to deliver. Our style is to light, so we cling to our radio controlled flash units the way available light shooters cling to their fast lenses.

We hope these pictures give you a sneak peak behind the scenes of what it takes to photograph the Georgetown Fair Queen, and if you are a contestant this summer, we hope this gives you an idea of what you have in store for when you step in front of the camera with Josh and Joe Travels!