After our recent Location Lighting workshop (where we took a group of photographers, four battery-powered monoblocks, and 4 young actresses to the Arts District, and lit them with the strobes overpowering the ambient light) I've received several questions about whether I'd ever use a battery-powered strobe on my indoor jobs )seeing how I'm such an evangelist for the large, heavy, A/C-powered Profoto strobes)
I only had to bring up these images from late 2013, made in the Dulles International Airport (outside Washington, DC), to demonstrate that yes, I DO use battery power, even on indoor commercial shoots. On this job, we had to portray the managers of 4 different East Coast airports, in the middle of their shopping arcades (what, you thought airports make their money just from parking the planes? and cinemas make their money just from showing films?).
Even on an commercial photo shoot, the first consideration is solving problems - here, the "mall" is a busy pedestrian thoroughfare: running power cables across it would involve a lot of gaffing tape (and make everyone anxious about liability!) as well as a lot of time (we never, ever have enough)!
The solution is a mono-block and a battery, on the same light stand, inside an octodome. Above our subject we have a black scrim, to block some of the overhead ambient, and on the opposite side, a white curtain for fill. The entire "tent" is easily and quickly assembled, moved to different locations, and hand-carried through the airport security screening.
Above we see our airport manager under the tent, a passerby, the art director (always on his iPhone), myself, the strobe (and its orange battery pack) inside the octodome, and my assistant rocking his awesome dreads!
One last pep talk, an exposure with the aperture matching the strobe and the shutter speed underexposing the background by a stop, a custom white balance for the slightly cool gel inside the octodome (to warm up the background) - and we have our shot: