Everyone has times in their lives that they really just can't see reality in front of them. I'm definitely not any different. Whether it is by nature or nurture, I am actually very much a realist. No, I'm not a rude person - in fact, being a true Southerner I know very well how to keep my mouth shut at times (but I am a Southern woman, so I also have a lot of passion, and have the times where some wish I would shut my mouth!) But I have also learned that there are times that it's not doing anyone a favor, and possibly even ruder TO keep my mouth shut. Ok...so I'm rambling a bit. What's on my mind is an experience I've had in the last week that has really gotten me thinking about many different aspects in my photographers world. And leaving out all details to keep this blog from becoming a novel, the bottom line is that a client wasn't happy -- NOT because the photography wasn't good - but rather because it did not fulfill their vision. This is where my issue begins. As a photographer, especially doing a commercial shoot, my job is to photograph what is set before me. To capture images that will portray a place in the best possible way in order to promote or sell the business, product, etc. My job is to show up on time - with the necessary and adequate equipment, and to take the time necessary to capture the essence of the business at hand. I need my technical knowledge along with my creativity in order to take the best photos possible. But still, I am working with reality in this setting. The vision should start long before I arrive... in the set-up of the business, in the outfit and makeup of the owner (both personally on themselves for their role in the photo shoot, as well as how they make their place of business show.) It is unrealistic to think that you have a business that is realistically one thing, but a vision that is something else (and in this case, it is a very nice business...I was very drawn to it, and had every intention to return as a shopper). A very savvy shop will already have lighting in place, products displayed in a very chic way... not expect that a photographer can come in and make magic happen. As well, the portrait shots would be well thought out and the subject would arrive for the photo shoot well made-up and in the clothing they thought would represent the look they were hoping to have captured for their business. Sometimes there is a time for a little reality check... obviously this day was one of them.
I believe in wasting no experience - good or bad. I don't ignore the bad things in my life because they were painful, embarrassing, or whatever...I learn from them. All experiences have potential to teach us something. This one is no different. I have come out of it with a lot of lessons as a photographer and a person - and one of the first is that I have to make my boundaries a little more clear. I'm amazed what God has given me the ability to do with my camera - to capture a shot that makes someone want to just keep looking at the photo. And I find no vanity in that - only a sense of thankfulness. There have been times that someone has felt there could have been no good shots come out of a photo shoot, and knowing how tough the shoot was (especially at times with a fussy baby, or very busy child) I maybe had the same thoughts run through my own head. Yet, when I upload the photos and sit down to see what the reality is, I'm never disappointed to see that the time was well spent - and there are numerous great photos to work with. But it would be unrealistic to ask a photographer to take a photo of an apple and make it look like an banana - not if it is the apple they are wanting to sell.
I'm filing this experience away in my mind under the "less desirable" section...it's not one of the horrible or painful ones, but definitely not one that I want to repeat any time soon. And there it will join other days that had similar lessons - and I have no doubt others in the future will be placed here as well. But for now, I will enjoy this day and take the lessons learned to make it the best possible.
Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blogspot... a little better way to get to know more about me personally...