I had a fashion shoot the other night. A friend (by way of being my cousin’s fianceé) is a partner at a fashion label and they needed to update their website photos. This was a detail shot for one of their cardigans.
I’ve always noticed how photography seems to have more misconceptions about it than many other endeavors. There’s the classic The more megapixels, the better. The adorably naive Weddings are easy money. And that self-satisfied standby, All that’s stopping me from taking better pictures is a better camera/lens.
And one of my favorites, Fashion photography would be like a dream come true.
But while most of the other misconceptions are easily explained away (it’s not the number of megapixels, but size and quality, that count most; weddings are usually 10 hours of shooting plus 20 hours of post, and the pay is split with the assistant — it adds up; and a better camera won’t make you a better photographer any more than expensive clubs would make you a better golfer), that last one tends to be a little harder to dispel. After all, you spend a day surrounded by beautiful women that you see in various states of dress (and un-), and get paid to take pictures of them. Where’s the downside?
Except that it really is work like any other. Murphy’s Law is always in full effect, so you have to work harder to make up for him. Meanwhile, you have different personalities to learn how to navigate and negotiate, you have delays, late talent and crew, and so many pieces of equipment any one of them could go kaput at any time. And all the while you have to remain high-energy and inspire liveliness in your subjects.
At the end of the day, work is work is work. And while I’d rather photograph a beautiful woman than roadkill or crime scenes, ultimately it’s still a job. And god forbid you meet a … challenging personality. You’ll soon find yourself longing for safer work. Like photographing the insides of volcanoes.