So I was sitting in the living room last Saturday, browsing Facebook, Twitter, 500px, flickr and such, waiting for the day to pass by as I had nothing booked for the long holiday weekend. I then received an email from a friend of mine, asking if I would be willing to participate in a portfolio shoot of a young model. The idea was to shoot her in a field in St-Lazare. The problem was it had been raining for the past couple of days. Fields and rain are rarely a good mix. With that in mind, I started to think of a plan B location.
I was not the only photographer invited; Vince and Victoria were going to be there making us 4 photographers, including Peter, for one model. That would have to do because this last minute, about an hour remote from Montreal, on a long weekend, things would get tough in the finding people department. We were looking anyway; who knew, we could get lucky. In the end, we decided to go along with only one model. Victoria had another commitment and Peter was not going to shoot much anyway.
I contacted a friend of mine who has a few fields of his own to see what the ground humidity status was. He offered one of his fields in case the one we had in St-Lazare was a no-go. That was the best phone call I could have made over the weekend! His field was simply gorgeous. There was still a heavily overcast sky above us that we wanted to take advantage of. The problem with many fields around here are the electrical power line flying over them. His field: all wide open, nothing above our heads! Even the buildings at the end of the field were so far away, cloning them out simply took seconds. It was then us and nature.
We met Nancy at Peter’s place and then head to Ste-Justine-de-Newton, a small farming community on the other side of the mountain. We had to shoot quickly and be done by 4:30 so Nancy would have time to go back to work. Vince started up with Nancy since he was the 1st one ready. I was still looking around to find my angle. When came my turn, I opted for a 1 light setup and a wide angle (17-40) to get most of the environment in. As long as I kept in mind to keep Nancy in the sweet zone of the lens, there would not be enough distortion on her to make her look stretched. Once I had those dramatic looking sky shots, I switched to the 70-200.
The shoot went like a charm. Wide open space and big modifiers are often preambles for equipment disasters. None this time, yeah! Later that evening, Vince started to post his images to the world. Every time an image showed up I went “mmm, I have one like that. I have one like that too…” . Was that a problem? Not really. Vince an I go back a few years. We have the same shooting interests, pretty much. It was all good and fun. I remember dropping a “Damn! Vince beat me!” in the living room with a big smile in my face while watching Family Guy and receiving emails that I was tagged on his photos. Vince and I have 2 different postprocessing styles so the images would end up unique anyway but that led me to go back to something I use to do a lot more, black and whites. There are many color images in the lot too. It would have been a crime to discard all that color info but in my opinion, with great color hues come great black and white tones.
I met Vince and Peter again last night. We talked about the last Sunday shoot and started to plan another outing for the next couple of weeks. What is nice when you shoot with someone and don’t feel like you are competing against each other’s is there is no shame telling the other photographer “I never thought of that angle before. Can you show me what you got there?”. We can all learn from one and the other and that can only benefits your skills. We know it is not a copycat thing but a “how can I branch that to my style” experience. I will certainly work with Nancy again too. We wanted to have images that would stand out on Sunday. Nancy is an athlete so there will definitely be images to reflect that at some point in the future.