Cady Huffman is Tony Award–Winning American actress. I was working on an annual report for Hospital For Special Surgery, which is an orthopedic hospital located in New York City. The hospital wanted to feature some patients that had surgery there.
I spent some time location scouting in the Times Square area of Manhattan and since Cady was a Broadway star it made sense to find a location in the theater district. I suggested to my client to photograph at dusk when the lights in Times Square would come on and add some drama & mood to her portrait. The glowing ruby-red stairs by the TKTS booth looked like an ideal spot for her. The one problem was the stairs are a popular tourist attraction and so there were a lot of people all over the place. At times it would clear out a bit but I wouldn’t have complete control over the area unless I could have my assistants ask people to stand aside when I was ready to take her portrait. It was worth the opportunity to make it happen plus I had a few other locations as other options if it to proved to be unmanageable.
I did my normal lighting tests with my assistant and found out I would need a touch of light from a small strobe with a gel and balance it with all the other ambient light from all the different illuminated signs.
The day of the shoot we all met at Times Square but it seemed like the ruby-red stairs were closed as the police had blocked off the area. There was some event that was supposed to happen. We went over and talked to a police officer nearby the stairs and explained our situation and our intention. Cady was instrumental in convincing the officer to give us ten minutes on the stairs for our photo shoot. Sometimes things just come together in the right way. We had the stairs all to ourselves and took this photo of Cady, which my client loved.