Most commercial still photographers will receive a client request at least once during their careers to shoot on a motion set. I can remember even as an assistant when I first moved to Detroit, that this type of assignment, although somewhat rare could be gratifying and profitable in its own way. Like everything else in the commercial world of photography, there are positives and negatives to this sort of gig. On the plus side, there is very little photo gear to haul since you’re working on someone else’s set. On the negative, you’re working on someone else’s set! That means of course, you’re second fiddle for the day. But you know that going into the project so its really just a matter of creating the best possible photography you can, under situations that you have very little control over.
I was hired by an agency to shoot on a Chrysler motion set for Dodge Truck. Much of the work was keeping a low profile and shooting when I could without disrupting the film/sound crew. But on occasion, usually between “takes”, I could create my photographs such as the corporate portrait shown above. I had to work quickly, directing my subject, knowing that I had only a short window to work within. Would I shoot on a motion set again with the limitations I know it brings? Absolutely! Working under pressure and lacking total control is often the norm when photographing on location. Its what brings us back time and time again.