Once in a while I get an assignment that has been intriguing me for some time but I have never had the chance to shoot. One phone call and email, I get one of those chances.
“The shoot is for Dallas Friday, a native Orlando girl and world champion wakeboarder. We need you to shoot a portrait and get some action of her competing.”
“Cool. No problem. How much time?”
“There’s media day at the park before the competition and some time during. That’s about all I know.”
“OK. Make sure we’re set up for media day and I’ll take care of the rest.”
So that is how it went for my next assignment, which is more than I usually get to be honest. Most editors will just tell you the subject’s name and give you some email address, which unvariably winds up being someone who knows absolutely NOTHING about the subject or the shoot request.
“Oh yeah, ummm you want to shoot who? I dont know anything about that. Have you talked her manager?”
“I was told you were her manager.”
“Ah nah, that’s not me. That’s uh, oh yeah ummm Katie but I don’t have her phone number on me.”
And thats the usual life of a editorial photographer. But not in this case. There were a few complications but nothing like the usual. I arrived at the location and at least they were expecting me and were aware of the shoot. Check. One down.
I’m then informed that she is on her way and about 10 mins out. Great. Check. Two down. So I’ll just go and set up my lights and find some suitable backgrounds. Check. Final check.
I guess I can’t really count this as a complication, because, well EVERY editorial shoot is racked with these types of complications. But OK, which ones might you be asking? Well… let’s see.
The shoot was scheduled between 1 and 3. Great light. Awesome. I cant wait to play with all that harsh afternoon Florida light.
Two, the location itself. Plagued with complications as far as backgrounds goes. Wires, tires, boats, ramps, cars, grand stands, you name it man and it was blocking a shot. Except this one little patch of lake bank whose pitch put me slightly below her and a great stand of water oaks and Florida scrub brush behind to block everything else out. At least the sun direction worked with my proposed lighting scheme. So now the initial idea of making her this cool hometown hero turned international superstar who was still down to earth worked out. Grass, trees and harsh Florida midday sunlight all spell Orlando and hometown vibe. In all honesty, this was the only shot to be had at this location. Usually though, even with the given location nightmare backdrops, you can manage at least 2 to 3 different set ups. But, seriously, this was it.
Action followed. We hopped on the boat with a driver and spotter, who turned out to be none other than Amber Wing, who is a superstar in her own right. Off we go down the course for a couple of passes all while Dallas is pulling tricks and testing the wake. There were two transitions set up but I think she might have only hit them once or twice. And that was OK by me. I was there for the big air. And some big air is what I got…
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