So, Wednesday was the big day. The day of our photo shoot. The studio was sweet, the models were hot, the crew was organized, the agency was happy, and and the photos were fantastic!
The day started at 8am when crew members started arriving. We had stayed late at the studio the night before, and set up the basics so that we didn't have to worry about it the morning of. There was a role of white-seamless paper serving as the backdrop, which was then highlighted by 2 sets of strobes, and a huge strobe out in front to highlight the models. Watch Henrieta and her assistant Zach set it up here: Shoot Set-Up
The shoot flowed like this: A model would come in, get their hair and makeup done, Henrieta would talk with the Creative Agency about how they wanted the model to pose, and then tweak any lights based on the positioning of the models. Then there was about 45 minutes to an hour where the actual shooting would happen.
Henrieta was constantly chatting to the models, encouraging them, cracking jokes, and basically setting the tone of the shoot. That's what amazed me the most, I think - how calm everyone was!! I've been on film and television sets where people seem almost frantic. In the end, that's not going to prevent any heart attacks - and Henrieta knew her stuff, so why by worried?! One of my favorite quotes from her is referring to the set up as (ear muffs!) "Dog Shit Simple."
Even when the clients of the National Canadian chain store arrived to check everything out - Henrieta never wavered. That really impressed me. Even when my eyes were starting to bug out a bit from the constant flashing, and I was getting tired - Henrieta was in her element. When I asked her about this later - she admitted that she would definitely be bagged later, but that in the moment you just do what you have to do! And Henrieta obviously loves what she does.
I did what I could to help out - clearing dishes, making coffee (with the sweet studio espresso machine!), and learning from the camera assistants and watching the shoot go down. Everyone was incredibly kind to me - and really interested in the One Week Job program! I love the team atmosphere of shoots like this...I definitely enjoyed that about television production and can see myself continuing to work in this kind of environment. Everyone has a job, but they help out where they can.
Some other gems I've learned from Henrieta so far include:
- Pictures with people in them, are much more interesting than those without. When doing travel photography, Henrieta would often wait until her shot of the beach or garden was free of people. When she got back she says it looked like there wasn't anyone living in that country...!
- It's all about connections. If you're a photographer's assistant just starting out, and you're a hard worker and gain the trust of established photographers, you can often access their studio space or equipment - for FREE.
- As a photographer, you're also often a psychologist. You're dealing with emotion constantly, and have to be able to listen and read people just as well as you direct them.
- Be persistent! Find the people who can help you get work - and bug the crap out of them until they get you work!!
The day finished an hour or so EARLY! That's how organized this crew was...insane. I helped Henrieta back to her house with the left over craft services, where we hung out on her patio and snacked on left over sandwiches and drank some delicious beverages...;)
BUT! I should make a move...I'm meeting her for afternoon tea!!
Tonight, we're headed out to a show where Henrieta's showing off some of her prints - sounds classy. I'll be back with a full report!
Love love love
Check out Henrieta's website: http://www.henrietahaniskova.com/