The day after Christmas while most of the planet was returning their broken electronics and holiday sweaters or redeeming a wallet full of gift cards I was searching Model Mayhem to schedule 2010 shoots. A lot of portfolios grabbed my eye but one in particular caught my attention. I write on my Mayhem page that bad photography and weak modeling is a reflection on our whole industry. If it is due to not knowing I want to help you, as others have, and continue to help me. If it is due to sloth and an unwillingness to perfect your craft, I want to know so I can stay clear of you and not waste my most valuable asset… MY TIME. Marie seemed to sincerely want to do better but was being shot poorly. So in my typical subtle East Coast fashion I sent the the following introduction:
You are lovely in all of your images but I don’t know what some of these photographers were thinking. We need to schedule time to discuss making some images equivalent to your beauty.
Being subtle is such a waste of time.
Well after a reschedule and an attempt by Marie to cancel the shoot due to a major snow storm in Tahoe during her vacation
I was really looking forward to our shoot tomorrow but I’m still in Tahoe..the storm should be over tomorrow but I won’t be able to leave until morning.
to which I replied…
Our shoot is Sunday morning… nice try, trying to weasel out of the shoot. Get yourself packed up and down here Ms. Elise we have work to do!
we met on a cold, damp, overcast morning (seems to be a theme lately) in Rio Vista, CA.
We started as I always do by keeping it simple. As Zack Arias says in the One Light Workshop you have to start in the bull pen and warm-up. I warm-up with simple head shots and poses as I go over the days goals, dos and don’ts as well as how strenuous the day WILL be. Strenuous? Yes STRENUOUS! Because in the words of Morris Day, “You’re in the best possible position you can be in, so what’ s the matter — your shoes on too tight or something? Let’s have some action… I want some perfection. Whawhak!” And so we were off. Head shots followed by torso images. Then full poses followed my a bit of acting as we used mobile homes, abandoned offices, rivers, bridges, overpasses and graffiti clad walls. After 90 minutes of stretching, reaching, pretzeling, squatting, climbing, smiling, staring and following commands (bend at the waist, lift your chin, head to the side…more…More…MORE! Hold it. Hold it, HOLD IT. Relax…AGAIN) Marie Elise jumped in her car and got outta Rio Vista as fast as she could. But the images were worth it in my opinion and thankfully hers too:
Trust me!…you’re worth working with through the rain, sleet, OR snow! I told you when we first talked on MM that I’ve been searching for a photographer who I wanted to stick with…and today I’ve finally succeeded! You’re very precise when it comes to what vision and concept you want to achieve. I’ve never worked with a perfectionist such as yourself and I just want to THANK YOU for seeing the potential in me…really you don’t know how much I appreciate that! You are so funny, patient, and extremely talented and I cannot wait to work with you again!