When Was the Last Time You Screwed Up a Shoot?

When Was the Last Time You Screwed Up a Shoot?

We're all human and we all screw up. Though, as Photographers,  its not always noticeable to those around us. Of course we still notice, whether at the shoot, or after while we're reviewing our images. Here I've collected a bunch of screw up stories from some friends so that maybe next time you can think of these and not feel so bad.

I'll start off with a couple of my own.

You've probably noticed the image above of Slash from Guns 'n' Roses. Now, while the shoot itself wasn't entirely screwed up, I did manage to screw up a personal part of it. I used to carry my Mamiya 645 PRO TL Medium Format Film camera with me to a lot of celebrity shoots. After getting what we needed digitally, I'd fire off a roll or two of film for myself and always enjoyed making a print from each shoot. This particular time I was so wrapped up with everything that was going on since I was photographing a hero of mine, (I've played guitar since I was 10 and have always been a huge Guns 'n' Roses fan), that I totally forgot the sync speed on the camera is 1/60 and not 1/250 like my Canons. There I was firing away on a roll of film with Slash standing just feet from me and I had no idea that hardly anything was actually registering on my film. When I got home from the shoot I ran down to the lab and handed over my film. I asked the guy behind the counter that always handled whatever film I brought in to please try and have it for me later in the afternoon. He told me he couldn't make me any promises and I begged, telling him that I had just shot Slash and was dying to see the film. Back at the office, I waited for his call and just as I was about to head home for the night my phone rang. He let me know the film was ready, but I could hear in his voice something was up. I picked up the film, thanked him and had barely taken two steps outside when I started to tear into the envelope. Inside I found 12 proofs, each one containing just a top hat. The rest of the frame was completely black because I was over the sync speed. The guys in the lab must have had a field day with that one. The guy behind the counter and I still have a laugh about it when I go into the lab and I was so embarrassed at the time that I threw out the proofs.

More recently, just tonight I was packing for an early morning flight and took almost a half hour to fold a giant 5 in 1 reflector. I've never gotten the hang of those damn things.

Now that I've thoroughly embarrassed myself, here's some more from other Photographers. (Names withheld to protect the innocent)

"I backed my bosses car into the wall on Friday"

"Had trouble putting together a foldable softbox before a big shoot... while the client watched."

"Caught my leg on a trailer and ripped the entire leg of my pants, had to run to a store blocks away for new pants."

"Didn't know how to get the car I was shooting into reverse."

"I had a Rig pole slip out of my hand onto a Porsche."

"I arrived to a big shoot without my camera... had everything else, but no camera."

"I once shot an entire daytime wedding outdoors at ISO 2000."

"Thought I had put in a new CF card, but had actually reformatted over half my shoot."

"I have one of those pop up light tent things you use to shoot products, but it's a massive 5x5x5ft one. If flew open when I was taking it out of the box and after a year I still cant collapse the damn thing."

"I was shooting an interview and after ten minutes of talking I realized the mic wasn't plugged in so I had no audio. Told them to revisit it and go into more depth on those points so I could get more content."

"I got pooped on by a bird at a wedding while shooting the best man's speech."

"For the past year or so I've had an ongoing group chat on my phone with some friends. These group chats might include some... less than artistic nudes. Anyway, I was shooting portraits for a big company and had gotten to the CEO. We needed a prop so I gave him my phone. As I'm shooting away I get a message and he looks down at the phone and freezes for about 15 seconds. My friend had sent me a picture of a girl with her (too hot for Fstoppers) and the message Thank God its Friday. Had the most awkward conversation of my life while trying to explain the situation. I ended with, 'At least its Friday.'"

"The door broke off an Aston Martin racecar while I was pushing it into position... right in front of the owner of the race team I was shooting for."

"Shot 77 photos of a model with no memory card."

"Split my jeans wide open while shooting Bon Jovi."

"I shot a wedding and was waiting for the bride to enter. Doors open, bride and groom's kids walk in followed by what I thought was a surprisingly young looking bride and her brother... I shoot like crazy making sure I get good photos while they walk down the aisle. Check the camera to make sure I got it. Then the bride and her brother walk in, turns out they had 4 kids, one of them a 15 year old daughter. I got one blurry photo of the actual bride."

I love when Fstoppers posts turn into real discussions like our argument discussions about Photoshop. So lets hear from you readers. When was the last time you screwed up at a shoot? Share it in the comments!

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When i shoot a wedding in a poor lighting conditions, which is practicly every wedding I shoot, the thing I photograph the most are the walls. I would even call it my style. So practicly every wedding i shoot about 20% of shots are missed. Would you consider it a screw up?? :)

I traveled 4 hours to a nature reserve in the middle of no where to take pictures of new born elephants playing with there mothers in ponds, took every piece of equipment i had just encase. We arrived just at the right moment and i whipped out my camera only to realize the battery was still at home. out of frustration I left immediately.