You may plan weeks ahead, but the truth is you'll never know exactly what's going to happen during a shoot.
I'm a planner. I start thinking about props, lenses, light setup, poses and even editing weeks ahead of a shoot. And there's no escape for the models either. I'll call or chat with them at least two or three times before we meet, to discuss hair, wardrobe and the goal of the shoot. If everybody knows what to do and everything else is in place, things will play out just as planned, right?
“I've had fire alarms going off during a shoot with multiple dogs, I've experienced power outage, and I've had sudden weather changes that threatened the whole gig.”
Wrong. I've had fire alarms going off during a shoot with multiple dogs, I've experienced power outage, and I've had sudden weather changes that threatened the whole gig. And last, but not least, I have had clients who knows my style, but in fact wanted an all together different look and feel to their images.
So how do I cope?
In the case of the dog shoot, time was running out, and they were so agitated after the alarm it was impossible to make a group shoot as planned. I decided to photograph one dog at the time, and group them in Photoshop. It turned out fine, and the clients were very happy both with the problem solving and the results.
Power outages is something you always have to be prepared for. I have a set of portable battery operated Godox flashes that I always bring to the studio. If the electricity dies on me, it takes me 10 minutes to rig my back up light kit.
The weather is more challenging. I usually work alone, so I don't carry large scrims to block the sunlight. And if the rain is coming... well, then it's raining. That's why I always look for nearby back up locations. If the sun or rain comes, I know where to find shadow or shelter where we may proceed with the shoot. Surprisingly, I've created some of my best images in those back up locations.
So, what about clients who would like you to mimic other photographers' style of shooting and editing? In most cases I'm able to identify their expectations before I accept a booking. If I feel they would be more happy with someone else, I'll simply pass them on to a colleague. But every now and then, someone slips through. I've been booked for events where I'm shooting 8-10 different clients, and then it's bound to be someone that has specific wishes. In those cases you can only do your best, and sometimes that won't be enough. That's why I always make sure to include some of my portfolio images when I'm booked as part of «a package deal», and underline that this is my style of photography. This way, clients know what to expect.