So I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks. It has been crazy. Like “I haven’t had dinner earlier than 9 or 9:30 for 2 weeks that I probably gained 10lbs” kind of crazy.

I spent most of my time redoing my website, building a colleague’s website from scratch, scanning and retouching a bunch of the said colleague’s pics for his website, and a couple of shoots. Speaking of…

A stylist friend of mine set up a semi-impromptu shoot last Saturday. He booked the models and pulled the clothes. I was left with the task of taking the pics. Keyword: Taking. I mentioned that it’s a semi-impromptu shoot. It’s not a full-on impromptu shoot since he took care of the bookings and the wardrobe, but it is kinda impromptu since I had absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of any story, angle, or brief for the shoot. I basically had to cough out ideas thirty minutes before the shoot started. I didn’t even know what the models and the clothes looked like until I got to the location…which wasn’t the original location in mind even though we ended up shooting everything there. Long story short I was sweating (figuratively) like a pig since my brain was blank and going all over the place the entire time. Anyway, good thing is that everyone who has seen the rough edit of the final pics liked them. I personally don’t since I was panicking for four house and there was a lot at stake because LA Model Management is expecting useable pics.

He set up another shoot this Saturday. It originally started to be a no-fuss, no-muss beauty shoot where I had to do minimal work. Light, point, shoot. I got an email from him about two days ago saying that it has “evolved” into a full-on fashion spread. I personally like more time (the Summer Solstice shoot I have next Saturday would have been in the mill for about 2 months) but five days is better than thirty minutes. I got a list of models from Hollywood Model Management and a brief description of the outfits being considered. This is what I came up with on the train ride home from work yesterday evening:

Yeah, so what if they look like chicken scratches. It’s a strategy to give copycats a hard time. Whatevs. I understand it.

It’s going to be a pretty intense shoot on my behalf since I will be balancing flash and very low ambient light in an underground parking lot. The story is pretty tight – tighter than the P-Diddy + Natalia Vodianova editorial in the February 2010 issue of American Vogue. It will also be very cinematic with a handful of shots where one model is the main focus and the other model (or hints of) is seen in the background. It will be pretty contrasty with 1 light being the main light and the other being a back/sidelight instead of a fill. I’ll probably at ISO 400 (trying to avoid 800), wide open, and shutter speeds of close to a second. We’ll see what he has to say.

Approved or not, all of my non-impromptu shoots start with this. I take the time to plan things out and create a shot list so I’m not figuring things out on location. No, I’m not going to be bullshitting my way during the shoot by saying “yeah, I got it. It looks good.” In a world of instant gratification and in an industry of people who are quick to do the whole “Book the shoot and figure it out later” thing, I think it pays to be someone who actually knows what he’s going to do beforehand. As said before, I don’t like it when my pictures just “come out.”

Great pictures are made, not taken.

More planning and “meditating” in the basement parking lot for me. The Summer Solstice shoot is next Saturday the 11th. That shoot has been brewing for more than 3 months now (with 1 rescheduling) and I am dying to finally shoot it.

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About Carlo

I like film photography, K-pop, and yogurt soju.

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