It was the type of call I love to get, an assignment out of the blue to shoot a CEO for a magazine cover; but there were two challenges. The first challenge was the deadline, one week; the second challenge, the shoot was to be in the subway. We had hoped to piggy back with a construction crew using products developed by the company being featured in the magazine, a construction services company, but that option didn't pan out. My fall-back plan was to shoot on a subway platform; of course, that also has it's challenges.
With no time to get proper permits we agreed to shoot "guerilla style", late at night; I scouted numerous platforms around the city and decided to shoot at the Times Square Station and the 5th Avenue Station, two of the busiest platforms in the city. The VP of Marketing for the company had his doubts, but I promised him I wouldn't get his CEO arrested.
We started the shoot at 10pm, but the platform was still crowded. We kept lighting gear to a minimum; my assistant held the strobe so we didn't need to use a light stand. I fully expected the police to kick us out after the first train passed but we were able to shoot for 30 minutes, trying different shots and different angles. No one bothered us except for a few tourists asking who the celebrity was or who we were shooting for.
Because I like to give editors choices, we planned on shooting at the 5th Avenue stop as well. The late July temperatures, even at 11:00 at night, were stifling and being in the subway was worse. We had hand-held fans to keep our subject cool. The 5th Avenue shoot went off without interruption and we wrapped before midnight. The setup wasn't particularly difficult or time consuming, we kept it simple on purpose; most of the time was spent waiting for trains to come by so we could have movement in the background.
All in all, a successful, challenging and fun assignment with great results.