Being a professional photographer is more than just pushing the button on an expensive camera. Photography takes preparation, skills and the right tools. And a little luck doesn’t hurt either.
I got a call last week from a young lady saying her boss needed a photographer. I told her that is what I do and would be happy to help. A third person from across the country, Chicago I believe, joined us on the call and told me what to expect. He is a busy man. He doesn’t like to be photographed. He has been traveling and might look tired. We need a couple of different poses and looks. We need to make this happen first thing tomorrow morning. No worries.
The first thing I did was to call my friend Matt, also a busy and talented photographer, to see if he was available to assist. Luckily for me he was.
I went to their web site to view some of the photos we would be mimicking. I have a background available close to their desired color, check. Cameras working, check. Lenses clean, check. Batteries charged, check. Gas in the car, check. Shoes polished, check.
The offices we were working in were on the twenty-second floor. This is where an assistant really earns their pay. We arrived about an hour early to haul-up and set-up the lights, background and equipment and to have a look around. The shoot was scheduled for 10:00 am but we were informed it might be 10:30, or maybe 9:30. I was just finishing my test shots when the subject came in.
Most people like being photographed about as much as they like going to the dentist. There have been times, when after taking only a few snaps; I hear the question “are we done?” Not today. The subject was busy but understood the need to work with us to make the session a success.
Being prepared meant there was no need to run around trying to make things work. It projected to our subject a sense of calmness that helped put him at ease. Drama and tension can kill a photo shoot faster than anything else.
We started to work. We talked. We joked. We tried different shots around the office, sitting, standing, different backgrounds, different ties, coat on, coat off. I really enjoy making good photos and could go on all day, but after about an hour I got the sense we were done. This is often reinforced, as it was this day, by the subject glancing at his Rolex.
I thanked him for being generous with his time and we all left happy. Our subject went to his office and Matt and I went off for a well-deserved beer.