Over the past six years I have been a part 20 or so photoshoots. Now,
by “photoshoot” I actually mean my friend and I, in a park, with his mom’s
digital camera (on full Auto), trying to take pictures of me doing model-like
poses. These weren’t even amateur photoshoots, but rather, two kids
taking pictures for their Myspace profiles.
Even though I’ve spent a decent amount of time behind the camera, I’ve
never had the opportunity to work with real models, in real designer
clothes, with real hair and makeup. So when my designer, Justin Jamison,
and I decided to collaborate on a shoot, I was completely over the moon.
I mean come on! This was it! This was my big breakthrough! My debut as an
aspiring editorial fashion photographer! In order to prepare, I spent days
looking through Vogue editorials, trying to figure out what made their
pictures so great. Why were their photos so distinct, so amazing, and so right?
The initial plan was simple: we photograph 4 outfits outside The
Contemporary Jewish Museum, and we finish in less than 2 hours.
Bada-bing-bada-BOOM! Done and done! But as the shoot came closer and
closer, giant obstacles started to rise from the ground.
First off, instead of shooting 4 outfits in 2 hours, I had to shoot 10 outfits in the same time frame. Mission
Impossible or Mission HELLA Impossible? PFFT! Whatever, bro! I have my external flash with me, so even
if it gets dark, I’ll light up that building like a Christmas tree, so we’re good to go! With my camera in hand,
I fired off like I was Rambo shooting down a helicopter *SNAP-SNAP-SNAP-SNAP*
But then I realized something that would change the entire shoot: the
building we planned on shooting at was a total black-hole. In other words,
the building wasn’t reflecting light from my external flash, instead,
it was sucking it in. What this meant was that now, I couldn’t rely on my flash
to light the building, I actually had to work faster than the sun was moving.
To make matters worse, a security guard came over and stopped our shooting, claiming that the Museum
managers prohibited our photography, even though they approved us the day before. This set us back
another 30-45 minutes. *tick-tock-tick-tock*
“The Models are getting cold!”
“My ride is coming soon.”
“The sun is going down!”
“We still have 2 more outfits!”
It was insane. I was moving around back and fourth like a line cook in a
busy restaurant, trying to cook dishes quickly while still maintaining quality.
I was moving around so much I felt like I was doing a session of P90X!
At the end of the shoot, my mind and body was completely empty. Not only did I go 8 hours without food,
but my ass cheeks started hurt, and my eyeballs felt like they were gonna jump out of my head.
As I look back at the shoot, I think about all of the set-backs we had, and
then I looked at the final shots… and ya know what? It turned out pretty
damn good. I mean, I have quite a ways to go before I get on Mario
Testino’s level, but with time and experience, I’m confident I’ll get there.
In a way, I’m glad all of that happened. The screw ups inspire me to become
perfect; to improve and hone my craft. But most importantly, this
photoshoot taught me to never dwell on current obstacles, but instead,
push them outside the window, and keep shooting.