My first cover for the year turns out to be one of the biggest names in African business – Nicky Oppenheimer, for Forbes Africa Magazine.
Nicky Oppenheimer and his family – worth $6.8 billion according to FORBES – are looking to blaze a trail across Africa – its out with diamonds and in with investment in Africa’s entrepreneurs. The Oppenheimer wealth makes them the third richest in Africa.
“The Oppenheimer family ended its 85-year reign atop diamond giant De Beers in 2012 when Nicky sold his 40% stake to mining conglomerate Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash. Anglo American, which Nicky’s grandfather founded, now controls 85% of De Beers; the government of Botswana owns the remaining 15%.
Nicky Oppenheimer served on Anglo American’s board for 37 years through 2011, and he retains an estimated 1.8% stake in the company. Now he’s turning to private equity through his E. Oppenheimer & Son, which controls investment arms Stockdale Street Capital and Tana Africa Capital, a joint venture with Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek. Tana holds minority interests in African food manufacturers Promasidor and Regina Co.”
I didn’t quite know what to expect when meeting Mr Oppenheimer. He is known to be very media shy. He turned out to be quite relaxed as we chatted about cricket and Pangolins during the shoot. Time with businessmen is a rare thing, and with Mr Oppenheimer we had about half an hour to shoot.
Things to do to make the most of your half an hour shoot:
With limited time and with us shooting on location it’s always advised that you try and arrange a pre-scout of the space. Also try go at the same time as the shoot to gauge the lighting.
2. Have a backup.
When we did Mr Oppenheimer’s pre-scout, I immediately noticed the office space was too busy for our cover shot. There was too much going on. So we brainstormed other solutions and came up with a low key shoot with a black backdrop.
3. A mock set-up
When renting kit, you could always practice on someone the day before, at another similar location, so that you have an idea where to put your equipment and the settings.
4. Don’t mess around
You and your client are not there to mess around. Work efficiently. Know the body positions you want to work with. Have everything set up (arrive an hour before the client if you have to) before the client arrives. Then make minor adjustments to your lighting. The last thing you want to have is technical issues before you have even started.
5. Have a spare flash to shoot ‘off the grid’
Nothing ever goes according to plan. An interview may run late. Your subject may need to leave on an emergency. Have a portable flash set up and be ready to go if you have to abandon the studio. Follow the client until they have to leave…and then follow them to their car. Snap along the way if you have to make sure you have got a variety of shots.
This gives you a better idea of how we set up the photo. I removed the softbox on the right of the figure, and lowered the power to 1/16 for the head shot.