Every now and then I get invited to work on a big collaborative shoot with other photographers, The Addams Family Wedding was one such venture. They usually involve lots of people and something fairly elaborate. This was no exception, my VPC camera group was running not just one, but I think it is maybe four times, a 1920s Speakeasy/ Gansta theme shoot, in an old car garage I believe, lots of brick walls and concrete. There are even bullet holes in the windows! We had four models, two girls I have never worked with before and two guys from our group who generously offered to dress up and play the gangsters. We brought bits and pieces from all over the place, purchased costumes and such. Each photographer chips into the pool and we use that to pay for studio rental etc.
This time there were about 20 photographers, which made grabbing a shot difficult, but we all worked together to get something decent, splitting our models up and having different shooting areas. We also had real cigarettes and cigars, as well as a smoke machine, I would have preferred to Photoshop the smoke in, my poor lungs took a battering and I felt tight in the chest for days! Their smoke machine perhaps uses different liquid to mine and that seemed to affect me as well…or perhaps it was just the cigar smoke?
Anyway, three hours of fun and hilarity later it was a wrap for our session. While these are fun, it does make me appreciate my own little home studio and my team all the more. Our big groups make grabbing something unique difficult, while there is loads of enthusiasm, most are not professionals, our models are often family members, friends of friends etc. It is nice to have my own team and my own space to works in…oh and my own concepts too, they offer a little more originality. Don’t get me wrong I will still do the big shoots as they come up, loads of fun and it is good to give back, I am often called on to direct and push people around! I try not to do that too often.