Someone wrote once, “You can’t consider yourself a professional photographer until you get paid work.”
I guess that’s sort of true.
I’ve been wondering when I’d get my first break; that is, when I’d get paid for the photographs I take.
Somehow, I’ve been extremely fortunate enough to be doing test shots for a modeling agency. I’ve been introduced to really cool people and I hope that it continues.
However, that doesn’t pay.
I’ve been building my book and thinking about completely re-doing my writing portfolio. (I honestly need to sit down and do it, but I haven’t the time or motivation to do it right now.)
Anyway, two weeks ago, an artist friend of mine emailed me asking if I was interested in a project she was tapped to do. It was for a PR company doing some promotional stunt for a restaurant group for July 5th — which is National Bikini Day.
I jumped at the chance.
We had actually discussed potentially doing a collaboration — I pitched her an idea about wearing food (she’s a very talented food artist) and representing different NYC neighborhoods. So like…carrot wayfarer glasses in Williamsburg, lettuce dress in SoHo. It wasn’t a completely perfected idea, but she thought it was great. Fast forward to mid-June and we were having conversations with a PR company about this project.
The shoot itself wasn’t bad at all. It was held in a professional studio with an awesome technician. The PR representatives were really fun to be with as well!
I borrowed a friend’s 5D Mark II, and rented out a 24-70mm lens, which I completely forgot to charge the PR company for.
After using the 5D (it’s a few years old, I admit), and the 24-70mm lens, I don’t want to go back to using my T6i. I understand why people leap for the 5D cameras. They’re just…incredibly solid. I know I’ve been pining for the 6D, but I might save up a little more and get the 5D Mark III.
Things I’ve come to learn on my first professional shoot:
- Do not let clients control the set.
- Too many cooks in the kitchen will leave you frustrated.
- Take breaks! You will feel fatigue quicker than you think.
- Give the model some direction, but not too much. If they’re good, they’ll know what they’re doing.
- The lighting technician is there for a reason. Ask him questions and listen to his suggestions.
- You’re the photographer — meaning, you control the shoot. Take lead.
- Do not let the client see the RAW files.
- Don’t rush.
- Talk to everyone on set. (Or try to.)
- Make sure there’s lunch on set.
- Get payment details squared away.
- Expense things. Seriously. Don’t be scared to.
But I still don’t consider myself a professional photographer. Not yet.
I can’t release any photos from the shoot until after July 5th, so please enjoy these photos of Taylor.
We had a studio shoot and had Andrea, a fantastic MUA and hair stylist on set. Let me tell you, having a MUA makes a world of difference in your shoot.
MY GEAR (UPDATED, JUNE 5):
- Canon T6i
- 18-55mm (f/3.5-5.6)
- 55-250mm (f/4-5.6) — I hardly ever use this
- 50mm Prime (f/1.8)
- 24mm Prime (f/2.8) — I hardly ever use this
- 40mm Prime (f/2.8) — I hardly ever use this.
- Canon AE-1 (50mm Prime)
- Kodak 400TX
- GOgroove DSLR Camera Backpack Case
- Neewer Multi Disc Light Reflector
- Neewer LED Light
- Triangular Prism
- Emart Studio Backdrop Kit
- Neewer White Muslim Backdrop
- Savage Seamless Background Paper (Pure White)
- Muslin Clamps
- LimoStudio Studio Continuous Lighting Kit