When a shoot goes wrong...

3 Lessons Learned when a Shoot Goes Wrong

This recent shoot provided quite a few lessons. The objective is always the same: produce images that the client will love. That is often easier said then done because there are always challenges. In this case there were several challenges:

  • Equipment: My equipment went to pieces

  • Lighting: Afternoon with bright, harsh sunlight

  • Location: Parents backyard

First lesson learned: do not enter a shoot with rigid preconceived concepts

Knowing that we would be shooting outside and there may be a need for some additional light (for shadows, etc), I brought a strobe, a new Octobox and a light stand. During the set up time I allotted, I could not get the stand, strobe and Octobox to stay up – then I stripped a screw; then the wind blew when I turned my back and knocked over the stand! You get the picture – time for plan B (I actually didn't have one – but prior to becoming a contributing writer with SLR Lounge, I absorb everything SLR Lounge put out! In addition to www.creativeLIVE.com). This practice and training began to be my Plan B. I immediately starting doing what I came to do: shoot pictures.

I sat my client down in the chosen location (by her Parents) and took a shot to see what we were working with.

As you can see: totally not acceptable. Harsh, unflattering light. Nothing usable.

Second lesson learned: always access your environment – what are you working with

Upon seeing the test shot results I knew we had to “control” the light. I had my assistant (a cousin who happened to drop by) hold my 5 in 1 (stripped down to the scrim). This cut the light and reduced the harsh shadows.

Now that the light is under control, it was time to compose and accent to create a Portrait.

Third lesson learned: work with the end in mind

I knew I wanted this young lady to look mature and look like a teenager at the same time. Hence, I didn't want heavy make up or too much done with the hair (she's an athlete and usually operates with a quick “touch up”). Technically, I now needed to add a little punch to the shadow side and I wanted to create some separation from the background. So with those technical accents in mind, all that's left is finding a flattering composition (while eliminating that brick wall in the background).

Inland Empire Wedding Photographer - 3

Despite my equipment going to pieces in 5 minutes, I was able to keep my composure (and not panic) and pull on the training and practicing that I've immersed myself in over the years.

These were great lessons! And the resources provided by SLR Lounge (www.SLRLounge.com) helped me keep this shoot from becoming a disaster. And everyone loved the finished photographs.