Friday, May 21, 2010

Peacocks and Performance

Sometimes I get to work with talented individuals and other times I get to work with amazingly talented individuals.

Recently I had the honor of working with La Dauphine who is not only a fashion stylist but also a fashion editor for Beauty Verve. With the help of Danielle Wells (makeup) and Adeel Kahn (stylist), we transformed Jacquelynn King (Pinkerton Morgan II) with a gamut of styles that ranged from peacock to badass.

What does that mean for me as the photographer? When working with talented individuals the expectations are high. Everyone is expected to not only perform their "assignments" but really outperform and exceed all expectations. There can be no room for mistakes, error, confusion, uncertainties, etc. Everything just has to "work". If you haven't figured it out, this can be a high-pressure environment. Fortunately, I thrive on/in intensity, pressure, and high-expectations.

Some people get nervous. I get an adrenaline rush.

In graduate school I walked into every exam believing that I would break the curve. My goal was to make the professor reconsider the way he/she wrote the exam and rethink whether the exam was too easy. I completed my MBA and MA Psychology with a 3.8 (the Psychology classes confused me LOL!) for reference. I guess I didn't destroy every test :)

But you can't be good at what you do without adequate real-world experience. You think I just walked into mid-terms and finals without studying? Hell no. I studied my ass off and then walked in with headphones blaring 2pac's
Hit 'em Up. Yeah, I had an entrance song. As an aside, I also sang the national anthem when I ran my Half-Ironman triathlon alone... hey someone had to sing it!

But I digress! Practice what you love. The formula for progress and success is equal parts blood, sweat, and tears. Yes, all liquids. If you're a model, practice in front of the mirror, if you're a stylist, style everyone (at least mentally), if you're a photographer... don't even get me started.

The shoot itself was fantastic. I shot some sets in 10 minutes or less. Considering that makeup/hair/wardrobe took 2 hours in the beginning and up to 30 minutes between sets, I nailed my "part" in the blink of an eye. Jacquelynn was nothing short of amazing with her confidence and ability to model the wardrobe. La Dauphine and Adeel were flawless in executing each look even with the challenges of getting intricate pieces to fit and look perfectly. Danielle's makeup was superb, the most recent image of Jacquelynn required no additional contouring on my part. Good skin and great makeup keeps my retouching at a minimum.

A few words on lighting. I wanted to keep things cohesive but change the set for each look. For consistency I stayed with a variety of white walls/seamless (with the exception of the last look since it was a different take altogether). I wanted something that I knew would work without fail and that I could execute comfortably and confidently.

Sometimes, everything just works. See for yourself! :)

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