Fa-Bow-Lous Photoshoot

7:31:00 PM


Creatives are a tricky bunch. We absolutely love to create work, we hate the work we make, but we have a drive to make and make more work because we see what we can and soon will be. Simply put, creatives overflow with hustle and grit. However, that's not the tricky thing. The tricky thing with being a creative is how fearful we get. We want our work to stand out and to be 100 miles from where it is currently. Of course we know we're not going to get there overnight and without hustle. But we're still scared we won't match up. 
Now what does this have to do with photographing a bunch of 10-12 year olds for a new accessory line? Well it's simple, we all need to revisit where we started to remind us where we're going.
A majority of people who followed my work, back when it was just point and shoot pictures, knows I used to do a lot of unplanned portraiture. The longer I've done photography, I've tried to get as far away from what originally sparked my interest. The way I saw it, if I stayed doing what I used to do, I've made no improvement. I kept looking at glossy pages and imaging my work at that level, of course it fell short and of course my mentality as a photographer suffered.
When I got offered the job to photograph a upcoming accessory line of hair bows marked to the 10-14 year old audience, Fa-Bow-Lous. I latched on, simply because I never did it before, and it was headed in the direction I wanted to go. I spent weeks planning for the photoshoot, drawing up sketches, poses, and location scouting. All of this work and I didn't even know all  the models I was going to photograph or how the bows looked. Oddly enough, I wasn't scared even though the same situation a few months ago would have terrified me.
Before every photoshoot, I get the pre-photoshoot jitters and they typically last until I leave for the location. However, I didn't feel scared or nervous for this shoot. Logically, it being my first ever commercial shoot, I should be terrified. What most people didn't know, I spend a majority of my time in the past 6 months being terrified of my work. I cared if people I never even met countries away loved my work, I overanalyzed  every image I ever took and I made myself hate my personal vision.

I was done cowering away from what I knew I wanted to be, all because I was scared that some big art director oceans away would laugh at how horrible my images were. The only people who's opinions mattered to me was the client, those who supported me when I first started and myself.

During this shoot, I previously worked with the only model cast, Khyli. The other three, Jordan, Bre, and Gabbie, were brand new to me and the modeling world. I started the shoot getting the three newer girls used to being in front of the camera. The longer the shoot went on, the more I saw my old vision come back to me; then I quickly became worried. All these what if's filled my head.
What if it looks like the rest of the work in my book?

What if I hate the result...what if the client hates the result?

What if I look like a joke?
Here's what I realized as the girls were going into their second outfit change and I had a few seconds to just photograph Khyli, falling back into what was familiar. I was hired to do this shoot because of my book; because I pumped out great work, it was impossible for me to look like a joke doing something I already proved I could do. Once the girls were changed into what I call the, "Gap Kids look", aka T-shirt and jeans, they began acting more like kids. I could capture them as they were and as they didn't know they were. They weren't models anymore, they were individuals I could connect with.
As time went on, I could say
"Bre tilt your head up",
"Jordan give me a smile--a real one",
"Gabbie don't think pose, think sassy".  
For that moment, we weren't just a model and a photographer and a camera. We were Diana, Bre, Gabbie, Khyli, and Jordan. I was observing them be themselves and taking little moments from that. Just like I did two years ago for Jeff, Nicole, Duayne, Danah, and anyone else who took a chance on me.
As I watched these girls model for the first time, with the exception of Khyli, I was reminded of my first photoshoot. I went in and made all the mistakes I could have made, I didn't communicate enough, and I had zero expectations or plans. I simply didn't know any better, but I was guided along by a support group until I learned. Afterall, no one just gets up and starts running as they learn to walk, you must fall down a few hundred times.
From the first day I had a DSLR in my possession, I was always offered opportunities to expand my knowledge. From clients who took a chance on me, friends who were available at moments notice or the beautiful scenery I used to see as mundane.  My work was never about posing, perfect lighting, or technical blah. Of course all of that mattered in it's own right, but I started photography capturing the juxtaposition of real moments and perception. As my goals as a photographer changed, I began to be afraid of where I came from, in the fear that it might hold me back. However, I learned photographing these girls, how I started was always prevalent in my work. What I tried to run from was in fact my personal style as a photographer--the one thing that set me apart.





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