I know, I know, I shouldn’t be giving “The Shot” on VH1 (here) any “press” but it was free on itunes and now I’m hooked (I have a secret love of really bad photography). I think it’s more of a disservice to the young impressionable photographers who read this blog to not point out the fallacies and I can at least highlight the important lessons that can be learned and… oh hell, it’s such an effing disaster I can’t turn away.
Here’s some of the takeaway:
- Russell James is a master at shooting swimwear with dappled sunset lighting so whoever’s gonna win this thing needs to get the assistants to light everything that way. Russell is the client here and has a certain taste in photography.
- As long as your photos are good it doesn’t matter if you follow instructions. One team shot a dress twice but their photos were better so they still won. Yeah, follow the art direction but don’t let it get in the way of making good pictures first.
- Talking about photography is really difficult so people tend to focus on shit they know something about. During the critique it was: Oh, that hair is horrible or that dress is awful or the position of her head is odd.
- Fashion people love graphically strong images. Russell was hinting at this when discussing the big beautiful ship that no one took advantage of to create strong elements in the background.
When you’re given a bad situation and very little time to make something out of it people rely on instinct and that’s where experience comes into play (this is why you only hire veterans to shoot covers, it’s virtually guaranteed something will go wrong). If you threw Russell James into either of the situations presented in the first episode I’ll bet a million bucks he would recreate something that could be found in his book. That’s just how it works; no one is going to reinvent themselves in 5 minutes.
Unfortunately, that meant the wedding photographer just had to go and recreate a wedding scene. Come on man, time to step up, I’m pulling for you.
I got the photo assistants out of the credits because these guys are probably the only reason any of those photos even came close to working out: Adam Franzino, Doyle Leading, Tim O’Malley and Ben Tietge.