Improvisation on Last-Minute Shoots

While we all love it when a gig lands in our lap, sometimes the timetable doesn't work in our favor. Having a decent amount of time leading up to the shoot can be critical in getting the best results for you and your client.

You'll have more time to scout, research, and plan out the shoot day. However, sometimes you have very little time leading up to the shoot and you really need to be able to think on your feet. This handy video from Damien Dimik not only serves as a nice pep talk but also has some handy tips to take with you on a last-minute job.

Damien Dimik, a talented photographer and relatively new YouTuber, has put together a little video that outlines some challenges he faced on a real shoot, his thought process during the day, and how he overcame some of the hurdles he faced. Of particular interest to me is the final shoot, where he ends up photographing in a large dressing area against a narrow white wall. Although he was prepared with an expensive backdrop, in the end the backdrop didn't work with the clothing or look that his client needed. 

It's important that we as photographers remain flexible during jobs. If we are too rigid, when things go sideways we can look like a deer in headlights if we need to change our strategy. That look of silent desperation doesn't exactly instill confidence in our abilities. We need to remember that we are the "experts," and our client likely doesn't see the situation being as dire as we do. If we can roll with the punches, everyone can still come out happy, even if we know that the shoot could have been so much better had we only had more time. In the end, a happy client is a happy client and they're much more likely to hire you the next time around.

One of my favorite strategies to employ while figuring out a tough situation is adjusting the lighting. Adjusting power settings, changing the light elevations a little bit, etc. can give you that extra two or three minutes you need to formulate a new plan. What strategies have you all employed to help get you through puzzles on a shoot?

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John Shooter's picture

Never watched video.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Nice. I never saw his videos before. He actually has some interesting stuff and good work.