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Gateway Health Plan: Trouble Shooter

As a photographer, I have a habit before every photo shoot. Typically, it begins with a restless sleep the night before. I review the details in my head wondering what I may have missed. Fortunately, the ritual doesn’t extend much further than that. Once the shoot gets started I usually calm down and everything is fine. However, every so often, there is an exception with a photo shoot you have a love-hate relationship with even before it begins. This was that job.

It started with a long bidding process followed by numerous conference calls to discuss the bid. What follows is a waiting game to learn if the job—or photo shoot—will be awarded. I’m not ashamed to say this was a photo shoot I would have been relieved not to been hired to do. The 2-day shoot seemed overwhelming as it required 6 location shots, 11 professional talent and with only 2 weeks to produce. A cloud of doubt seemed to overtake me, of course I didn’t want to let on how I was feeling, but it was grim. We had to location scout, acquire permits, cast for the talent, prop each shot, wardrobe all talent, take care of catering, and about a million other things to do. While I’d taken on big jobs before—this one was the biggest.

The locations were critical for multiple reasons. We needed locations close to one another so we wouldn’t lose precious time in transit between shots. Lighting presented another challenge because we would be forced to shoot outdoors in the middle of the day (less than ideal). I had to consider where the light would be at a particular time of day and at a particular location to plan the schedule accordingly, which didn’t allow for shooting at the “golden hour” on 3 different days.

The day before the shoot I still didn’t have final confirmation on my one location at a local grocery store (even though we were to be there the next afternoon). Finally, I got a call from the store manager to inform me they changed their mind and decided not to participate in the shoot. Panic set in. The last thing I wanted to do was call my client with bad news that the location fell through. So, I quickly began networking, found the right person who knew the right person and pretty much begged them to let me shoot there. I had to change the time which created it’s own set of problems, but ultimately it worked and I got the shot.

Despite the 91-degree days, a camera body breaking mid-shoot on the first day, makeup melting off from the talent, shooting over a hornet’s nest at an exterior location and missing the must-have blue baseball socks for another shot, the shoot actually went extremely well. I attribute the success to a fantastic crew and a lot of excellent trouble shooting. At the end of the two days I had a happy client. Due to the stress of producing the shoot I lost about 5 pounds, but I gained an arsenal of new skills—a win for my growing body of work and my body.

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