\"2-8-08 Fashion Show-Quick Story about LIFE\"
Jefferson High School “FASHION SHOW” Shoot
Well today is Friday, Thank goodness right? LOL I hope you have a few minutes to read this Blog entry, it’s a little long but a good read (I think).
What a fun weekend I had working last Saturday night. I was hired to shoot the Jefferson Township High Schools “Project Graduation” Fashion Show which was a fund raiser for the graduating class of 2008. The show was titled “SOME ENCHANTED EVENING” and rightfully so. I started my day off by doing my routine gear & equipment check, charging batteries, formatting memory cards and setting up my custom shoot menus in my Nikon D300 & back-up body for the expected tricky low light shoot. Knowing that they would be using various colored lights from above and a strong spot light to illuminate the models had me a little nervous as to how I would go about choosing my settings to balance everything out to my liking. As I always do before a shoot, I try to map everything out in my head while the pencil jots notes down in my notebook as they flow through my head at lightning speed (well maybe not lightning, more like a snails pace) but LIGHTNING sounds so much more intriguing doesn’t it? LOL Well no matter how quickly it all came together really didn’t matter as long as I had my game plan together to make things roll smooth, I like smooth when I’m working, the more I feel comfortable with my game plan the less stress I have during the shoot which results in my having FUN which in turn results in great captures. It’s funny how things always work themselves out one way or another but they always do no matter how worried you are about a situation.
My stress wasn’t coming from my gear or game plan it was coming from the thought of dealing with over 100 High School aged models whom for all intensive purposes have never modeled before, so I’m saying to myself “SELF” What have you gotten yourself into this time LOL. I had attended the dress rehearsal 2 days prior to get a feel of where they were going to be on the stage, take some light readings and get a general feel of the kids attitudes about modeling (especially the boys were worrying me for some unknown reason LOL). Well I must say I was truly “SURPRISED” at how well the kids behaved, listening intently to their director as she gave them their instructions. Then I started saying to myself “SELF” this might work out after all!
When Saturday night came along I managed to get myself set up way ahead of schedule for the intermission SENIOR pictures where the kids would come into the library and just hang out with their friends and have a few relaxed photos taken together. I had left my tripods set up by the make shift back drop 2 very nice woman had set up for the pictures and had been told they would LINE up, come in with a friend or TWO, shoot the picture and go onto the next SMALL group. Yea right ! I’ll get back to that in a minute LOL
The show started pretty much right on schedule and off I went doing my thing, I fired up the speed lights, took another light reading and got ready for action. The show went VERY smoothly from the get go (did I mention I LIKE “SMOOTH”?) Obviously someone (or multiples of some & one’s) had put a lot of time & effort into the planning of this event because it went as smooth as ice, unfortunately that hard, cold concrete floor I was kneeling on for 3.5 hours shooting over 600 photos was also as smooth, cold and HARD as Ice and what did I forget in my planning? My kneepads ! Can you say “OUCH”? Beside my 43 year old knees screaming for vengeance and yes my disability of having a few hundred thousand dollars worth of titanium hardware screwed into my lower spine reminding me every second that I’m not the same as I was say 8 years ago before my injury I was having a BLAST ! I mean I truly had a smile from ear to ear while firing off shot after shot on my D300, following the models across the stage and back again waiting for those precious milli-seconds when they turn and their hair and dress glide with the self generated breeze to capture the golden moment we pray for. My timing was dead on that night even as the agony of defeat reminded me of those forgotten knee pads, geez I sure wish I would have remembered my safety gear.
Now onto the meat & potatoes of my story. As the only official photographer in the house (or so I thought) I had the run of the floor and boy that floor ran me but good. At some point during the first half of the show I got a tap on the shoulder from a nice young lady holding what I think was a CANON ( 1st thought – ENEMY) LOL almost like seeing an insurgent with that pesky AK47 on the opposite side of the battlefield for the first time. She politely asked me if I could reposition myself back & over because she was taking photos for the schools year book from the front row dead center seat. My first thought is “Oh boy, I HAD – *PRIME* Real estate and I just lost it” and my second thought is “Wow it must be nice to be able to sit comfortably in a seat and take unobstructed pictures at center stage” LOL. This threw a huge monkey wrench into my game plan mighty quick and a short burst of adrenaline flowed into my veins trying to figure out how I was going to get the shots I needed now since the playing field was not all that big to begin with and the opportunity for those MAGIC turn shots I had planned out for days had now all but been destroyed. The perfect UP angle I HAD was gone, as was my diagonal angle for the turn shots. But what was I going to say to her “NO I’m not moving”? She was there to do a job like me, she was a young woman of about 17, fellow photographer with a similar goal and besides I have an obligation to be polite and helpful to another shutter bug who is just learning my craft, so says the oath I took from the Professional Photographers Association I pay all that money to every year LOL. So basically, “I MOVED” for her and ran the scenario through my head real quick WHILE the models continued to flow out onto the stage. I had to make some major adjustments but I made it work, I didn’t have a choice at that point right?
So after the first session was over, I head into the library for the senior shots. Ya know that well organized, well planned SIMPLE shots I set up for? SURPRISE ! As I open the door I see a SEA of young men & woman scattered about in large groups, the noise is defining and my equipment like those tripods and lighting stands I set up before hand for the perfect portrait shots had been brushed aside by SOMEONE or those “One’s” again LOL. Well so much for planning on that part of my shoot too. Gotta go to plan “B” which is, ahhhhhhhh…… Well I left plan “B” back in the lower part of my Abdullah Oblongata and it never made it to the pad LOL. There’s no use in trying to organize anything at this point because I don’t have that much time before I need to head back into the stage area for the second half of the job and the young lady from the year book is already doing my job for me snapping photos of groups that were all but smiles and laughter at this point. OK, no problem I was a cop for 16 years and got paid to think on my feet everyday of my life to stay alive I can make this work right! Right, so off I went wondering the room and using the basic technique of “Show people you have a camera in your hands, point it towards them and they will pose automatically” WORKED LIKE A CHARM ! I never did get those personal PORTRAITS I was planning on taking but I did get a lot of very happy, well mannered high school students dressed to the “T” willing to smile and take some Street / Freelance shots so I guess it worked out in the end.
The great thing is that the young lady shooting for the year book with her enemy brand equipment approached me with some photography questions along with asking me for some advice & tips on how to shoot the situation we were in really made my night. It brought back many memories of MYSELF at that age, asking for help and looking for some guidance in a hobby, craft & Profession that has consumed my life for over 30 years as one of my favorite things to do and reminded me of all the times I asked my father in law who recently passed away questions about photography and learning from him. It was a pleasure helping her even if it was just a minor lesson, but it brought joy to me knowing that I had the knowledge to pass onto someone in need who enjoys photography like I do. She’ll probably never remember my name or the events that took place that night, but hopefully she’ll remember that quick lesson in angles and lighting to shoot the shot someday and it will provide her with the knowledge to get out of a similar jam. Oh to end my little life story here, she approached me asking if she could possibly use a few of MY photos for the year book that I shot. I answered her the same I would anyone asking that same question to a professional photographer “SURE, as long as you give me my copyright credits under the photos and send me the $250 PER PHOTO Commercial Licensing fees you can have anything you want”! ROTFL – I’m only kidding, I didn’t ask for the copyright UNDER THE PHOTOS ! LOL – Hope you got that one, THINK About what I just said.
To the young lady I just wrote about (I’m sorry I forgot your name, age does that to you), you have my card, call me anytime and I’ll get you the photos you need for your book it would be my pleasure. Thank you for the great fun memory and I hope you get use out of that quick lesson we talked about that night about angles & flash (BOUNCH). It was a pleasure meeting you and all the fine young adults of Jefferson High School, you represent your school well & I’m proud to have my oldest daughter in such great company & friends. Good Luck to the Class of 2008 & Good luck with your photography young lady, it’s a never ending lesson in capturing “LIFE”….. THE END! Whew I need a drink of water after that one……………