I had to photograph a lady the other day(during an interview with the reporter) who is trying to raise money for the trip to Stanford foe a double lung transplant due to having Cystic Fibrosis. It was an interesting shoot because the topic of illness is normally a sad one but she was all kinds of bubbly and cheerful. It was also a hard house to shoot in. It was weakly lit, most of the time I had to shoot while facing open windows, and the walls were painted an off color, dishing out color-casts.
Because of the condition her lungs are in she has to be connect to oxygen at all times. So when I shot I really wanted accentuate the tube that was in her nose and draped over her body.
I also needed to convey with photos both the somber nature of the situation she was in and the perky attitude she had. Not easy with bland, flat light. So I used some flash to supplement the ambient light. Bright highlights and dark shadows for the more serious moments(first photo) and even, bright light for her constant giggling(last photo) and a more cheerful feel.
Because of her attachment to oxygen tanks, she rarely leaves the house, so I had to include her environment in the shots. Being stuck in a house makes her like a prisoner, so I used the supports in the divider wall to mimic a jail cell. She wants to be a fashion designer, so I tried to get the mannequin in as often as I could as well.
The end result is far from perfect, but I'm happy with the way they came out considering what I had to work with.
People trying to overcome medical adversity always make for great photo assignments.