Teamwork makes the dream work.
Truth time. While I can do these photo sessions by myself, I can’t lie to you and say that I wouldn’t love to have an helping hand from time to time. Case in point would be my recent session with Easton at Virginia Beach’s Town Center and the back alleys of Norfolk. Half of the images we created in any of our sessions wouldn’t have been captured if it wasn’t for a major assist from her mom, Colleen.
There’s only so much time for any session. For example – I’m using a chunk of that precious time getting up, going to the lights, adjusting their position, and going back to the shooting position. Colleen was my lighting assistant. She would move the lights closer, further back, to the left, to the right, raise them, et cetera, when needed so that I could stay at my position and keep shooting. This was a HUGE time saver, allowing Easton and I to shoot more and stay in the flow.
Colleen also assisted with outfit coordination and outfit changes. She was a second set of eyes for things like tags and loose strings on outfits, not to mention oncoming traffic when we were in the street. She helped in numerous ways. She kept it light and fun without being obtrusive or judgmental.
Let me tell you, that last part is vital. When I first started doing portraits, I learned real quick that the wrong kind of people can destroy shoots in a heartbeat despite my best efforts. Judgmental, overbearing, helicoptering significant others, parents and others could ruin sessions even without saying a word. I would watch my client crumble in front of my lens simply because they see a disapproving glare from the person behind me.
Same thing goes for those that want to “assist me for a session to learn how to such and such thing”. It becomes easily apparent within moments that they aren’t there to learn but to ogle the client. Again, they don’t even need to say a word. Their energy is enough to shut down the person in front of my lens. I have asked these kinds of people to leave the shoot.
Don’t even get me started on those that think they can be the director telling the client how to pose or me how to shoot.
So I’m very particular on who, if anyone, assists me.
In my world, if someone asked me what kind of person is best to have to help on a session, I would point at Colleen as the perfect example.
So, it was a Dream Team that gathered recently to do a fashion session. We wanted to get in several looks at various locations before the light went bad and the heat drove us inside. We mapped out what kind of images Easton needed/wanted and the outfits were picked out days before the session. Because of this, I knew where to shoot to provide the appropriate backdrops.
It was magical. Music was provided via cellphone and we were playing in the street. My desire for a colorful sunrise was realized. Easton was her usual fun, stunning self. We moved as a cohesive unit, Easton Colleen, and I, as we captured amazing shot after amazing shot. We started with higher end fashion at Town Center and then transition to the gritter, dirtier back alleys of Norfolk to change things up. We put in over four hours of shooting when it was all done.
We capped off the session with breakfast at an eatery around the corner from where we were shooting.
It really says something when I struggled for almost a week to get the number of potential images to edit down to 100. It took me almost another week to get it under 50. Even now I know there could be a lot more than what is shown here. Such is the way things work, however. It has been proven time and time again that viewers start to lose interest at 10-12 images no matter how amazing they are. If I could figure a way around that fact, I would show more.
Now to hope and dream for our next session.