So I was driving down to a shoot yesterday, and I was worried. It was a big production: apparel designer, three models, hair, make up, and the location was a fancy house about three hours away. Due to some last minute changes, I was unable to scout the location ahead of time (the original house fell through, and the new one was arranged too close to the shoot date for me to get over there). The designer had secured a makeup artist, who had canceled 9:30pm the evening before the shoot with a family emergency. Fortunately we were able to get a replacement makeup artist…but it was a close call.
So, needless to say, I was a little stressed. So many unknowns to deal with here. No way I could plan for every eventuality, because there were too many variables. I started thinking about other shoots that had had last minute problems, or big unknowns or unresolved production issues. I thought of myself as having pulled those shoots “out of the fire” so to speak. I was giving luck more credit than I gave myself.
And then I got to thinking: this is what commercial photography is all about. While planning makes a shoot go smoother, sometimes you can’t tie up every loose end ahead of time. It’s what you make of a situation that is the real skill. Sometimes a shoot will just go to heck and there’s nothing you can do about it. But the ones where you make something out of nothing, or keep it from becoming a disaster…that’s the defining quality of a good commercial shooter.
I came to the realization that, more often than not, I’m going to range from mildly anxious to scared out of my wits before any major shoot. And there’s no getting around that. Part of my job is to embrace that chaos, and forge something out of it. I need to just dive in, and let go. The better I am at what I do, the more likely I’ll be able to manage that chaos and turn it into something beautiful.
So from now on, when I get those pre-shoot jitters, I’m just going to tell myself: that’s my job. To dive on in. And that’s what I did yesterday. And it came out alright!
My fashion/commercial site: www.onethousandumbrellas.com
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