Confessions Of A Pro Photographer: Corey Rich’s Top 4 Photo Bombs

Confessions Of A Pro Photographer: Corey Rich’s Top 4 Photo Bombs

As a fellow commercial photographer I know that clients come to us for consistency and reliability. They hire us because when they are spending the big bucks on advertising campaigns they don’t want to leave things up to chance. It is part of our job to deliver the end product on time and free of flaws, but even a professional at the top of their game still battles with human error.

For this very reason it was so refreshing to read an article from  at PhotoShelter entitled “Confessions Of A Pro Photographer: Corey Rich’s Top 4 Photo Bombs”. Corey Rich is a seasoned adventure photographer and videographer as well as a recent Nikon USA Ambassador. With his extensive list of big budget clients one would expect a truly minimal amount of screw ups. This is where you would be wrong. Corey Rich takes a stand and admits to dropping the ball a number of times. If anything, these high stakes, high pressure gigs bring out the best and worst in human error. I’m glad Corey could be so candid and forthcoming in pointing out the fact that no matter how good we are, at some point we all fall victim to our own stupidity.

Read The Full Confessions Here

Photo Blunder

In the spirit of sharing blunders, I would like to tell you about one of my own.

A few years ago I was shooting a model for a lifestyle spread which had several key images already planned out by the client. Everyone involved knew exactly what we had to do, and since it was an outdoor shoot on a cold September day, we were more than happy to get the job done quickly. As we approached our last batch of images for the day we had the model doing some poses on the ground.

After several shots we thought about trying some changes to the scene, and due to what the model was wearing, she had trouble getting up. Being the gentleman that I am, I reach over with a helping hand, completely forgetting I had the camera swinging around my neck. And swing it did. The lens hit the model square in the eye.

Embarrassing and stupid as that was, we all agreed things like this do happen, and the model, though a little rattled, ended up being ok. Nothing a little make-up couldn't fix. Regardless, we decided that was as good a point as any to wrap the shoot up. Luckily for us we already had the shots we needed after reviewing our captures up to that point.

Feel free to share your own blunders in the comments, and maybe, just maybe, it will save someone from making a total ass out of themselves. Visit me anytime at Peter House – Commercial Photographer to follow our work. Till next time.

Photo Blunders

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Working at a large commercial studio back in the day, we had a large coved studio set up to shoot the final image in a catalog shoot. A large outdoor scene with tree and snow and products. Shooting on 10x8 transparency sheet film.

With all the studio people. photog, assistants and all the client people, art director etc. we should have caught any issues.

But after loading the film onto the processing machine, once dry someone pointed out there was a aluminum step ladder still propped up against the tree!

All the eyes on set and we still missed it, being film it cost a pretty penny to retouch it out.

Peter House's picture

Haha, that is fantastic. Thanks for sharing! I think it's often the case that we nit pick the scene and focus on all the minuscule details that ultimately leaves us missing something as large as a ladder. That, or everyone thought it was supposed to be there, hah.

Paul Bryant's picture

So true! I shot a music video last summer with a tight schedule and a crew of four plus the talent, so everyone was doing several jobs.

We set up for an important shot inside a shack we'd built for the video, did several takes, and moved on. When we pulled up the footage the next day the shot looked great, until the PA asked, "is that your camera bag?"

Sure enough, I'd left one of my bags just outside the shack, and it was reflected in the shiny surface of the guitar that took up most of the shot. Fortunately it was my Domke, so if we cut carefully it just looked like a pile of leaves or something. We didn't mention it to the client until after he'd approved the cut, and then we all had a laugh about it. :)

Jayson Carey's picture

I did something very similar (but on a smaller scale) during a wedding reception. While I was rummaging through my bag looking for my macro lens for the ring shots, the bride and groom came up and snagged me for an impromptu big-group-shot under an arched trellis at the beautiful garden their reception was in. I had forgotten all about my camera bag, which was tucked neatly inside the trellis, but off the path so nobody would trip on it. Of course it's a large black and blaze-orange backpack that's half-open.

The picture was too important to cull, so I spent over an hour touching it out, actually copying the bottom part of a planter that was symmetrically placed on the other side of the path to replace the portion of the one my bag was in front of. It ended up being one of their favorite shots from the wedding, and I never told them that almost an entire corner was retouched.

Paul Bryant's picture

Good save! Glad you were able to salvage the shot... :)

Experience is the best teacher . . . . preferably someone else's. It helps us all when we share how we've stepped in it so the rest of us don't do the same. I try to let people know the stupid things I've done exactly for that reason. Thank you Corey and every other pro here who isn't afraid to confess to being human, and let us all make new, original mistakes to share instead of repeating the lessons someone else already learned for us.

My favorite stupid thing -- one I can't seem to learn not to do -- is failing to return my camera to the standard settings I always start with (which works really well when I remember). Then I beat my head against the wall for 10 minutes trying to figure out why all my shots are over exposed until I finally realize AGAIN that my flashmeter is set for ISO 100 but my camera is still on 2500 or something.

I always say That I am an adherent of the First church of Murphy.

Working on a small commercial had the camera guy producer decided it would be fun to unload the last days footage himself instead of myself the guy hired as the loader. In the set darkroom he proceeded to fumble the footage into a bucket of soap stored in the darkroom. The days rushs were a bit interesting.

Not really a blunder but, whenever i'm out shooting i'm, without fail, left wishing i'd brought one lens or another. keeping the kit small sometimes has it's drawbacks

I was shooting a model at a commercial neon sign company. With fishing line, we hung a whole bunch of neon signs and tubes and art so it was hanging over her and all around her, She was posed on a big sheet of colored and reflective plexiglass. Behind her was another big sheet of plexi propped up against a couple of sawhorses. I asked an assistant to adjust the plexi sheet behind the model as I was having a bit of a problem avoiding reflections I didn't want in the shots. Somehow, the assistant caused the sheet of plexi to fall over forward. As it fell, it smashed into most of the hanging neon. Neon glass broke and crashed everywhere! Somehow, the model ended up without so much as a scratch on her even tho she was covered in neon stuff.. which was incredibly lucky since she was wearing nothing but a bikini.

Yeah, some small blunders here too:

- Just like helping the model up and hitting her with the swinging camera, I almost hit a small baby I was trying to pick up. He was the baby that I was hired to shoot.

- I was taking some detail shots of the bride and groom's wedding rings, and I noticed that the larger one had the bride's name engraved on it, so I asked loudly, for al the groom's guest to hear: Hey Alex, how come Christina has larger fingers than you !
That's how I learned that at least in my country, the wedding rings have the loved one's name engraved on it.

- I was shooting a trash-the-dress session on the edge of a mountain rapid. As I use primes, I had a small lens holder on my belt and at some point I tried to put my 85 1.8 Nikon in it. But the holder was not secured to the belt, and it fell of, with the lens inside, and landed right on the edge of the rock I was stranding on, almost falling in the rapid.

- At some point, I was shooting a session with off-camera flash, and I had a large stand and umbrella. But as the sun was quite strong, I had to place the stand close to my subjects, and as a gust of wind blew, The stand with the flash and umbrella tumbled and hit the bride on the side of the head.

Luckily, since it was placed at a rather small distance away, there was not much force in it, so the bride was ok.

- I also went out for street shooting just to find that I had forgotten to put a card in my camera.

- Recently, I had an important photo setting planned, so I charged all the batteries, put all the CF cards in the bag. I had two batteries in my camera with the battery grip attached, and two more for spare. Upon leaving, I remembered to take the spares as well, just as I was leaving.
When ariving on the shoot scene, I realised that I had left my D700 turned on, and over night the photo backpack somehow pressed on the shutter button, forcing the camera to expose and focus. The result was that the two batteries installed in the camera were completely flat, and have I not had remembered to take the two spares, I would have had absolutely no power to shoot.

Excuse my poor english, it is not my mother tongue.

Cheers !

Regan Shorter's picture

I always forget to take my SD card out of my laptop before shoots... I had to buy another one to always have on in the camera at all times!

Been there. My forcing function for not forgetting that is my camera doesn't get put away until the card is back in it. I leave it setting on or next to the case with the card slot door open. But like you, I also always have extra ones.

Jayson Carey's picture

yep, I was getting ready for an engagement shoot, and dumped/formatted all of my cards. When I went to set up for the shoot, I realized I had left the wallet of cards sitting next to my computer. Luckily I was less than 5 minutes away from home, but I have learned to leave an extra CF card in my bag separate from the rest.

Nice title "confessions of a photographer" I hope you have Bert Stephani's consent for that or did you take another photographers IP tweak it a little and call it you're own? Just sayin...

olivier borgognon's picture

On my first shoots in Mallorca, by the sea, I had set-up my Canon 430EXII, tripod, umbrella... take a few steps back... frame, shoot, frame... whooossshhhhh.... see my whole light set fly 30m and end up in the sea... Sigh, goodbye Cactus Wizards, 430 EX II, umbrella... tripod survived a short time as rust got to it even with WD40. Lesson learned : Sandbags or WaterBottles to create a LOT of counterweight.

On a shoot for my daughter's school race. in the morning i prepare all my gear, tell her i'll come at noon and shoot the school race, so she can tell the teacher + school director i'll be sharing with them some of my images in low res and parents can contact me for full res images. 40mn drive to her school, get there and obviously i took everything BUT the CF Card, and in the small village where she lives, forget about finding a CF Card.

My personal biggest blunder so far, has to be when I drove down to FL to see the final Space Shuttle launch. I expected it to be busy at the cape.. but, nothing like it was.. Traffic was insane. Anyway, I had my camera battery charging in the car on the drive out there, long story short.. I had to park on the side of the highway, and run about 1/2 mile just to get a clear view of the launch complex. And I was still on the other side of the bay! Anyway, Got the car parked, grabbed the camera, ran down the highway, Got there with about a min to spare before lift off. Flipped the power switch, brought the camera up, and went to take some pictures, only the camera wasn't working.. then, I realized that I had left the battery charging in the car.. Talk about about being angry with yourself.. that's not exactly a shot you will get a second chance to take. I did manage to sneak in a really terrible cell phone shot though.. lol I was determined to get at least something out of it! lol But, yes.. I still kick myself for that one..