A 3min 15sec appointment with a Welsh Assembly Government Minister.


Thursday 12th July 2012


“We only have 30minutes to do the interview and photography (if they decide to be strict) so just do what you can …”.

Those are the exact words Jodie Deakin – Group Picture Editor at the Farmers Weekly wrote to me when she commissioned me to photograph John Griffiths AM – the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development to be photographed at 9.30am at his offices in Cardiff Bay for their ‘Hot Seat’ interview page.

Having checked all my equipment through the metal detector located in the foyer to gain entry to the Assembly building, Debbie (the journalist) and I were escorted by the Welsh Assembly personnel to a fairly non descript office area on the 5th floor where Mr. Griffiths was “between meetings”.

As Debbie undertook the interview I recced a location – few were on offer and with time pushing on, I settled for a side office with just a table against one end of the room as the location.

Being made of no doubt that Mr. Griffiths was “very busy today” by one of his many minions my allocated time was disappearing by the minute as I shuffled chairs to make some space.

A small working space with glass walls, it’s important to avoid reflections!

I quickly set up a brolly flash and back light, fired via Elinchrom Skyports and took a light metre reading – this is often the quickest way to balance ambient (available) light with added flash light as my light metre measures both. I didn’t really want the added flash to over power the ambient, but just to add a hint of highlight and cancel out any colour cast too, so getting the exact balance is important.

A shoot through brolly for a soft light. Note the rear ‘back light’ stand (bottom right).

Shortly after a few test shots, Mr. Griffiths was hussled in, aided by another ‘helper’ and the photo-shoot began.

… and a different pose to add to the mix …

3mins 15secs later it was all over as Mr. Griffiths glanced at his watch and the shoot was interrupted by one of his frantic aides. He was then hurried out of the room by yet another new face assisting him through the door and onwards to his next scheduled appointment.

All that was left for me to do – thankfully assisted by yet another Welsh Assembly operative – was to pack down, process myself through security once again and leave the building.

With an element of post-production in Photoshop the resulting images were wired to Jodie, who used the portrait across 2/3 of a page in the magazine.

My thanks go to Jodie for the commission (she did say it would be a quick job) and all those helpful staff at the Welsh Assembly who generously gave me 3mins 15secs of Mr. Griffiths valuable time to capture his portrait.