Dealing With Back-To-Back Photoshoots As An Amateur Photographer

I had the opportunity to shoot two separate photoshoots this weekend (5/6 and 5/7) with two great models — Bridget and Lily.

The Saturday shoot was originally intended to be in the Lower East Side, but due to L train changes and Bridget coming in from Connecticut, we made a last-minute location change to Williamsburg.

My original idea was to have graffiti backdrops with Bridget in a grunge-y, LES-look, but having her in Williamsburg worked equally (if not better) as well! (We also had to move the shoot an hour back because she and her friends got lost while driving into New York City.)

I really wanted a shot of her eyes while she held a camera as a prop, but I’m not too happy with how it turned out. We did get some great candids, though!

From this point on, I think my style in editing has changed considerably. My photos were saturated in color, especially with orange and green. I’ve gone the other way as of late, desaturating all colors and tinkering with orange and red to salvage the skin tones.

I have to still work on how to tone the colors down when dealing with harsh lighting.

We shot from 1pm till 4pm — I bought her some Sweetgreen for lunch. And we went back to shooting again in South Williamsburg. I wanted to get a reflection shot of her in glasses. I think I pulled it off, but we’ll see how the public reacts to it.

The shoot ended up being really natural and fun. The conversations we had felt natural and not forced at all. No awkwardness whatsoever. I think going into something full of anxiety (let’s say, if I had a cup of coffee or two before the shoot), it would have been nerve-wracking and difficult to get the shots I wanted — not to mention, the model would’ve been unsettled. I also learned that giving the model some sort of feedback while they’re posing is important as well. For example, saying, “Great, keep that pose for a couple of more shots,” or, “Chin down, let me see that jaw line!” and explaining why you’re asking them to hold certain poses. Also, give your models a break!

I’ll be honest: I had no plans on Sunday. But Lily messaged me on Saturday night to ask if I wanted to do a shoot. We planned to meet at my apartment with Johnny — a great photographer — for some indoor shots and a bathtub shot, which ended up becoming a fantastic success.

I actually don’t have any of Lily’s photos edited right now (I was busy editing Bridget’s photos). Here’s a peek at what I’ll be going through this week:

That’s 819 photos. I can’t believe I shot that many.

Sunday’s shoot started around 1PM. I met Lily at the train station and walked her to my apartment. I let her vibe the place out, discussed the shots I wanted to take and deliberated on the clothes she was going to wear for the shots. The first pose I wanted was of her by the window, eventually using a coffee mug as some sort of prop, to give that “comfortable Sunday” atmospheric look you see all over Instagram. (I’m not sure if I got the shot. I’ll update when I go through the photos.)

The second used a cigarette as a prop in the same location. The third and fourth poses were of her on the bed. The fifth and sixth were in the bathroom.

Poor Johnny arrived around 3PM, after his train had lost power in Sunset Park. He rode an Uber to my apartment, which ended up costing roughly $50. The wait was worth it, because he ended up getting some incredible shots of Lily in the bathtub, surrounded by purple flowers. I actually used the flowers later for a shot of Lily on my bed. I tried my best to make the photo look like an editorial!

Around 4PM, we left for the laundromat to get some photos there and made our way down to Coney Island to get some shots I wanted by the Wonder Wheel and in an arcade. Both ended up becoming a bust. The Wonder Wheel was closed and the arcade wouldn’t let us shoot in there.

We ended up going down by the pier and taking some quick photos underneath it. We had to do it fast because the temperatures were dropping and the tide was coming in. I did get a double exposure shot of Lily, but let’s see how that turns up after it gets developed.

So what did I learn from back-to-back photoshoots?

  1. Talk to your models! Meaning, communicate what you are envisioning, keep their morale up, and keep them interested in the shoot!
  2. Keep it professional.
  3. Have locations in your mind. And have backup locations in mind.
  4. People will be late, so be flexible.
  5. You might get asked for a last-minute shoot, so be flexible!
  6. Props help (sometimes).
  7. Be careful with glasses because the reflections might ruin the shot.
  8. Proper lighting is key.
  9. Make sure your white balance is on point (or close to it) while taking your shots.
  10. In fact, take a couple of test shots and tinker with the WB.

And as for next week, I think I’ll be going to Fort Tilden with Johnny and Hiba for a shoot. That’s going to be a fun one.

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