It is not always easy. Some shoots are more demanding than others. Sometimes, the demand is on the photographer’s shoulders, sometimes it is on the model’s. It takes the right mindset to pull material out of these difficult situations and Sara surely understood that.
I was planning a shoot last Fall when I came across her portfolio. Because I got pulled left right and center, the shoot never happened. While sitting in the living room a few weeks ago, watching the snow coming down, I realized I had never really shot any fashion in the show. Watching the snow coming down, it felt like a missed opportunity. Winter in Canada lasts forever or until the snow melts. This is typically when you realized you shouldn’t have procrastinating so much and now have to wait until spring, summer, and fall pass.
I remembered Sara. This would be totally different than what I initially proposed but who knows. After explaining what I was aiming for, she accepted to expose herself to some of the roughness winter can throw at us. We met at the metro station and headed towards the mountain. The sad part at that moment was that the weather was changing on us. When I loaded the truck in the morning, it was sunny and warm enough that I got out wearing only my hoody (yes, in case you are wondering, I was also wearing pants – have to specify it because I have friends that were not carefully chosen…). By the time we got to the mountain, the sun was gone behind clouds which is not a bad thing but we really missed the few warm degrees the sun would have provided, making the difference between “keep going, it isn’t bad” and “I wish I was surrounded by the burning fire of Hell!”.
I knew from the start that this would not be a volume shoot as we would be really limited in shooting time, with multiple interruptions to try to warm back up. The best thing would have been to be shooting next to the truck but the paths to the mountain are limited. We were in the woods for about an hour. Although Sara remained focused mentally, the body was having a hard time forgetting how cold and humid the air was. I almost felt like taking of my winter coat in sympathy for what Sara was going through. The shivering became more present and the skin tones were slowly shifting toward blue.
The sun got so far behind the clouds I eventually decided to pull out the flash. After a few successful images, I realized we reached the end of the road. It was all fine. We had good images which is what counts. It is better to have a short shoot with 10 good images than a 5 hours long session with 700 bad photos.
My hat goes off to models who are willing to overcome discomfort for the sake of an image. I came across a few of them over the past few years but I have to say this past weekend takes them all.