Professional Photography - my intro

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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Back in the film days. A friend of a friend, pro commercial photographer. I fixed some electronics for her one night and she showed me her arsenal of cameras. Being gadget crazy I examined them all.

A few days later I got a couple of phone calls. Her assistant was a no show and she had a major photo shoot scheduled in the morning. Could I come help? -Okay.
Square one, be at the model agency at exactly 07:00. Bring ALL the models to her studio promptly. None of them are allowed to drive their own vehicles. -Okay.

Women modelling clothes and underwear. Five foxy ladies. This is going to be fun. NOT.
My first clue was her moaning and cursing. Models had decidedly different skin tones and color. I'm told it is going to be a very long day.
Altogether there were about 12 lights in the studio from near floor level floods up to spotlights on masts 10 feet in the air. Most had various color filters that had to be swapped out now and then. My job.
The garments were laid out across a long counter and covering most of the floor in a quite large room. The models were all professionals and went straight to digging through the clothes and sorting who would fit what.
The floor in front of the backdrop was covered in tape markings. Stand here for full frontal, there for side shot and so on.
The main camera was a Hasselblad mounted and fixed in position. The boss had another three cameras hanging around her neck and two more on a worktable beside the Hasselblad. Each had different lenses and filters. It was another of my jobs to change the rolls or magazines of film.
Everything was rush rush. The modelling agency charged per model per minute from the time they left the agency, thus my picking them up.
And let the chaos commence. Boss lady's job was half photographer, half choreographer. She spent most of her time squatting or kneeling on the floor with dashes up or to the side to snatch shots. The Hasselblad shutter release almost always in her hand or teeth while she fiddled with other cameras.
Another of my jobs was labeling the shot rolls of film. Model number, garment worn, and notations of lighting and sometimes which camera.
And then the sand in the vaseline. Where the pro comes in. Skin tones and colors didn't work with certain clothes. So the boss would have the models swapping out clothes. Meanwhile I sometimes had to change the color filters on the lights and make adjustments. Not a moments break, constantly go go go go. Finally a half hour lunch break then back at it. Rolls of shot film stacking up. Another of my jobs was running the films down the street to a lab where they would develop them and make copy sheets. Little thumbnail prints of the pictures. I'd guess around 4000 shots all totaled.
I dropped the models back at the agency around 19:00. The boss had to work through the night and most of the next few days. The catalogue, big brand name store, was already on the printers layout table waiting the pictures.

Cross pro photographer off my list of career choices.
 
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RoachCoach

Arachnobaron
Active Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
595
I have a family of photographers and I can see your pain. The models should have already known positions(choreography). Having a Hasselblad your photographer should have been well aware. They interned you. A 4k stack to develop and enlarge would take another separate professional. You got played back in the day. They still do that to grips. Tell them to eat your butt if you have any experience. Most of them just have a camera and a vision with one outfit. Run away if it is just a dude with a camera. There is nomenclature on them. To be fair, if you even have a hair of left brain then you can grab a camera and quality lens and make way more money than you thought possible. Commercial photography is booming now. I got the unfortunate painting gene from my family and my brother got the eyeballs for photography gifted from 2 generations. If you got it, then count your blessings you aren't on the other end of the spectrum.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
8,763
I have a family of photographers and I can see your pain. The models should have already known positions(choreography). Having a Hasselblad your photographer should have been well aware. They interned you. A 4k stack to develop and enlarge would take another separate professional. You got played back in the day. They still do that to grips. Tell them to eat your butt if you have any experience. Most of them just have a camera and a vision with one outfit. Run away if it is just a dude with a camera. There is nomenclature on them. To be fair, if you even have a hair of left brain then you can grab a camera and quality lens and make way more money than you thought possible. Commercial photography is booming now. I got the unfortunate painting gene from my family and my brother got the eyeballs for photography gifted from 2 generations. If you got it, then count your blessings you aren't on the other end of the spectrum.
You called it right. I simply downplayed and omitted the photographer and the models efforts. We're talking a brilliantly polished and performed 11 hour ballet. The models were fantastic. They reminded me of a fire ground scenario. Only the boss spoke as a rule and that was terse and to the point and everyone knew exactly what they were supposed to do. There was always another model or two waiting just off set and they helped each other get ready, pinning or clipping clothes in back to make them form fitting.
Trying to remember the details. There were several themes.
-Fun in the sun, the lighting set up to look like a sunny day. The garment colors were very vivid and nobody knew how they would look under those lights. So it swung from enticing or make your eyes water. and grab the Tylenol. Change clothes, change model or change lights?
-Sports theme which had the boss jumping all over the place while the models posed with sports equipment, tennis rackets and the like.
-Casual attire. Major lighting change and huge pain in the butt where the darker skin models didn't contrast at all with some clothes. The opposite of the fun in the sun where the lighter skin models looked glow in the dark.
-The lingerie theme was confusing as more than one model present, seated, standing, kneeling and so on and there just was no one perfect angle for the shots. The models came into their own better there as they knew exactly what colors worked, disappeared or clashed.
And there had to have been around a hundred little nuances and details involved that just washed over me.... huh? Action shots had to have the cameras at a certain height or above unless _____, intimate a different height and on and on. So damned many little details that makes the shots work nobody who looks at those catalogues has a clue about.
And the models. Perfect hair, perfect makeup, redone over and over and over on the run, best poses and sides, they knew their business alright.

And yes, I got played. One of the top five most confusing stressful days of my life.

PS There was one set of shots that fascinated me. The models slowly walking and posing momentarily while the Hasselblad fired away. I think we went through about 10 magazines of film doing those shots.
 
Last edited:

RoachCoach

Arachnobaron
Active Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
595
You called it right. I simply downplayed and omitted the photographer and the models efforts. We're talking a brilliantly polished and performed 11 hour ballet. The models were fantastic. They reminded me of a fire ground scenario. Only the boss spoke as a rule and that was terse and to the point and everyone knew exactly what they were supposed to do. There was always another model or two waiting just off set and they helped each other get ready, pinning or clipping clothes in back to make them form fitting.
Trying to remember the details. There were several themes.
-Fun in the sun, the lighting set up to look like a sunny day. The garment colors were very vivid and nobody knew how they would look under those lights. So it swung from enticing or make your eyes water. and grab the Tylenol. Change clothes, change model or change lights?
-Sports theme which had the boss jumping all over the place while the models posed with sports equipment, tennis rackets and the like.
-Casual attire. Major lighting change and huge pain in the butt where the darker skin models didn't contrast at all with some clothes. The opposite of the fun in the sun where the lighter skin models looked glow in the dark.
-The lingerie theme was confusing as more than one model present, seated, standing, kneeling and so on and there just was no one perfect angle for the shots. The models came into their own better there as they knew exactly what colors worked, disappeared or clashed.
And there had to have been around a hundred little nuances and details involved that just washed over me.... huh? Action shots had to have the cameras at a certain height or above unless _____, intimate a different height and on and on. So damned many little details that makes the shots work nobody who looks at those catalogues has a clue about.
And the models. Perfect hair, perfect makeup, redone over and over and over on the run, best poses and sides, they knew their business alright.

And yes, I got played. One of the top five most confusing stressful days of my life.

PS There was one set of shots that fascinated me. The models slowly walking and posing momentarily while the Hasselblad fired away. I think we went through about 10 magazines of film doing those shots.
They may taken a few hundred shots, but the one they got that nailed it was at least 3 months rent. Things we can get with a mediocre body and lens with a braindead subject in 5-10 shots. Ever seen Telsa stock % from 2018. That's the curve for capability over the same time. Ignore the huge dip we are eating now though. My cheeks are permanently clenched this past week.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
8,763
They may taken a few hundred shots, but the one they got that nailed it was at least 3 months rent.
"It's not the image but what it conveys. It can be technically perfect but useless in a catalogue, dull drab and boring."
This epitomizes what of defeating my extreme left brain linear thinking. I can see exactly what she meant there but the nuts and bolts refuse to allow my brain to grasp them. I can see the one third two thirds or 10-90 percent rules in landscapes and keeping the horizon level. And not make the viewer feel like they are suspended in mid air. But while I can see one shot standing out in a series of a dozen shots as a model slowly moves I'm just not grasping why.
But the end result is like you said. Those shots that manage to make it into the catalogue get directly reflected in the corporate sales figures that makes the stockholders smile. Catalogues that people look at just to enjoy the eye candy, ignoring the fact it is 100% sales pitch with the sole purpose of parting people from their money.

PS Elon Musk can go suck a hot spoon.
 
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