I was asked to come and shoot a runway show for a local designer at an event called Fashion And Fetish in Denver, CO. Prior to the walk, I was able to shoot some portraits of the models in a backroom area. I, and most of the models, were pretty happy with the final images, despite a series of issues in the process.
The designer who invited me had promised we would have a designated area in which to shoot portraits, so I came loaded to do both the walk and the portraits. When I arrived, there was no area for portraits, and my backdrop was borrowed to use to block off an area for models to get ready in. First bad sign.
It was pretty obvious to me that the designer had no real plan or control over the preparation. She kept complaining about things but did little to fix them.
We were moved into a small room as the event got closer. We're talking large bedroom here. The problem, a flustered designer, 6 models, 5 MUAH staff, visitors, several burlesque performers and me trying to shoot portraits in this room.
Needless to say, it was not an optimal situation. I crammed into about a 7 foot deep space by the door and managed to shoot portraits of each model. Using an ugly wall and a really disgusting carpet as the backdrop.
When I got home and looked at the images, I was very disappointed in what I had. The girls looked good, but I hated the environment they were in.
After working with the designer a bit, I decided I could live with the wall, but the floor had to go. So major editing began. I cut out the carpet from the shots and inserted a bit of red carpet I had from a previous image. It worked well enough. Then the real fun began.
I had no real agreement in place with the designer about how to handle the images, so I let everyone get a look as soon as they were ready. The first issue arose. The designer didn't want anyone to see them before she did. I could see her point, so I took everyone's choices for images to edit, but told them the designer would have the first round of choices.
As we went through the images, I started to notice the designer was a bit overly picky. I should say that if I was being paid, and the MUAHs wre being paid and the models were being paid, I would have run everything through the designer from the get go. However, everyone was a volunteer, and I felt like everyone should get something out of it. The designer did not agree, and really started pushing to eliminate choices for others. For example, a behind the scenes shot of the MUAH team was nixed because she just didn't like it. It was a cute shot of the team together, and there was no reason to discard it at all in my POV. I gave her many of her deletions, trying to be reasonable, but it came down to really weird choices on her part and our arguments turned a bit hostile.
She was being unreasonable, and I was in no mood to give in anymore. We did not part on good terms, and I do not forsee a reconcilliation in the future, which is sad. Neither of us was being very professional at the end.
I'd love to go back and do certain things over. The lessons I learned in this case are: 1. Make sure what is promised is truly in place. 2. Be prepared to adjust, and be a little more inventive in how you deal with bad circumstances. I could have solved the bad backgrounds by going out to my car and bringing my backdrop back in. 3. Make sure the after shoot logistics are on paper before you begin. It would have prevented arguments.
So, not my finest moment, not my greatest photos, but I like many of them a lot. It simply could have been much better, and I am sorry to lose a friend over it.