Model Mondays! How to Overcome Environmental Obstacles at a Shoot

At photoshoots, as in life, you can never plan for everything. You can pick the best outfit, makeup and hair and still there is going to be something thrown at you. Of course the key is to plan everything you CAN control so you can focus your attention to the last minute things you CAN'T control. No matter what you do, even in a studio setting, the unexpected can happen. From way too windy beaches, to sudden rain or even local law enforcement asking for permits your photographer may or may not have anything can and will happen. Even in the studio, I have witnessed fires (that I was not responsible for FYI), breaking flashes, falling backgrounds, frustrated photographers if it can go wrong it just might and likely will at some point. So it is up to you to not let this affect you and still get a good shot. 

 

If you can learn this trick it will serve you not only in your photoshoots but as a dancer, if you are one, and in life in general. It isn't really a trick at all but a motto. The show must go on. No matter what. 

 

 

 

 

As soon as we setup the lights and cameras a sudden flash thunderstorm came racing through the beach. To make matters worse a police officer on a buggy had just came up to us to ask for permits and he seemed to think our running was cause of him not because of expensive equipment getting rained on. Even if the rain stopped we wouldn't be allowed to shoot. We sought refuge in a tunnel leading to beach and while waiting for the storm to pass continued the shoot. my hair and costume were soaked, makeup destroyed but we created a series of stunning silhouette shots.

As soon as we setup the lights and cameras a sudden flash thunderstorm came racing through the beach. To make matters worse a police officer on a buggy had just came up to us to ask for permits and he seemed to think our running was cause of him not because of expensive equipment getting rained on. Even if the rain stopped we wouldn't be allowed to shoot. We sought refuge in a tunnel leading to beach and while waiting for the storm to pass continued the shoot. my hair and costume were soaked, makeup destroyed but we created a series of stunning silhouette shots.

As soon as I got on the rocks I hit my toe. My toe was bleeding profusely and the salt water was stinging it with every wave. To top it all off the wind was so strong I couldn't move my head without my hair wrapping my face entirely and the expensive veils were being blown so hard my wrists hurt after from gripping them so hard

As soon as I got on the rocks I hit my toe. My toe was bleeding profusely and the salt water was stinging it with every wave. To top it all off the wind was so strong I couldn't move my head without my hair wrapping my face entirely and the expensive veils were being blown so hard my wrists hurt after from gripping them so hard

I first learned this in my first full ballet, Carmen. Me and two other dancers were performing our trio piece when I went on relevee not quite as perfectly as I should and I felt the lamb's wool wedge between my little toe and fourth toe and quite literally snap it like a twig. The dull throbbing that is wearing pointe shoes kind of numbs you to most feeling on your feet so I wasn't entirely sure if it was broken. I finished my piece and rushed backstage to examine it. When I opened my tights to look my toe was like a dead leaf barely hanging on to the branch. So I did what any ballerina does in this situation, tape my toe to the toe next to it, secure with a few more rounds of tape and put my pointe shoe back on and finish the show. Now this story is perhaps extreme but not out of reason. 

So how do you make the show go on?


1- Put it in Perspective

Well for one you can imagine all the money you will waste if you are paying for the shoot if you have to reschedule or the jobs you may loose if you start developing the reputation as a difficult model. Put it in perspective. Most pain or annoyance is temporary and there is no reason to throw something away that may have been scheduled for weeks or months in advance.

2- Bring a Refresher

Take a break if you need to, eat a snack, drink some water and bring yourself back around. I always try to make a playlist of either fun and happy music to get me out of a drab mood or one in character of the shoot I am going to. This isn't always possible but even if you have just one song that you love at the moment, bring it. Listen to it or sing it to yourself and you should be able to get out of your funk the external force, pain or whatever put you in.  

3- Suck it up

Most obstacles you experience in a photoshoot will not cancel the shoot. That being said you have a professional responsibility to deliver despite what is being thrown at you. This is when you practiced looks and poses will save you. Go to your solid poses and looks grip onto that veil that the wind is trying to steal, suck up that bleeding toe, ignore the drunk man being escorted off the set and deliver your performance! You will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. To prove the point, all the photos in this blog post would have never happened if I hadn't pushed through the obstacles. Read the captions and laugh.

For this shot the photographer kept wanting to go higher. What started as a simple photoshoot turned into a mountain hike in a costume BAREFOOT (all I had was platform sandals on as anyone that knows me can attest to that being the only footwear I am interested in wearing). Everytime I tried to lean into the climb the bright red clay dust got all over me and my sparkling white costume. I really wish you could see what this mountain looked like, picture a pillar with a long flat rock on top and that's the basic idea. Once we go to the top and successfully not destroying the costume or my feet there were maybe 30 odd tourists all taking photos and trying to get into the same exact spot the photographer wanted. I had to politely but firmly push families out of the way and pose while they not so nicely looked on. Oh and it's the desert so all of this was done in maybe 118-120 degree weather with full sun and as you can see, hardly a cloud in the sky

For this shot the photographer kept wanting to go higher. What started as a simple photoshoot turned into a mountain hike in a costume BAREFOOT (all I had was platform sandals on as anyone that knows me can attest to that being the only footwear I am interested in wearing). Everytime I tried to lean into the climb the bright red clay dust got all over me and my sparkling white costume. I really wish you could see what this mountain looked like, picture a pillar with a long flat rock on top and that's the basic idea. Once we go to the top and successfully not destroying the costume or my feet there were maybe 30 odd tourists all taking photos and trying to get into the same exact spot the photographer wanted. I had to politely but firmly push families out of the way and pose while they not so nicely looked on. Oh and it's the desert so all of this was done in maybe 118-120 degree weather with full sun and as you can see, hardly a cloud in the sky

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For the life of us we could not get the fire to light in this shoot. Working against the clock as the sun rapidly set all of us rushed to soak the props and try to light them against the unresting wind. A storm was moving in which made for the perfect background to the fire but made shooting close to impossible. I was getting drenched and had to still pose my head so my hair wouldn't thrash in my face and hold the flaming sword. We could only pose for 1:30 minute increments because the wind would blow out the sword so quickly.

For the life of us we could not get the fire to light in this shoot. Working against the clock as the sun rapidly set all of us rushed to soak the props and try to light them against the unresting wind. A storm was moving in which made for the perfect background to the fire but made shooting close to impossible. I was getting drenched and had to still pose my head so my hair wouldn't thrash in my face and hold the flaming sword. We could only pose for 1:30 minute increments because the wind would blow out the sword so quickly.