One of the many perks of becoming a freelance photographer is I never know what job will come up, or when the next job will arrive. Ok the “when” might cause a bit of unease from time to time, if not now maybe in the future, but the “what will come up” part is truly fascinating. Already I have met people I wouldn’t have met, and shot yachts and boats I wouldn’t have shot if I had stayed with Yachting Monthly. Some of them you’ll see on this website.
Then come the requests for quotes. The joy of getting an email about potential work, thinking through the logistics of a job, going through the details, how long it will realistically take me and pricing it all up accordingly. What can go wrong? What can I do to prevent “it” happening? If “it” does happen how can I get work out that situation and still get everything that’s required of me and more.
That’s one side. Then there is the journey in the mind, the type of images I want to get, thinking through how to get those images, video or stills. How to best serve the client in the time available, the time they are ultimately paying for. Where the shoot will take me, the experiences of the shoot. Then there is the weather, the beautiful weather, the damn right awful weather. I’ve been out in more gales that I can remember, but I’ve also stood in a field in bright sunshine, for well over an hour before, waiting for a building I had to photograph on the other side of a valley to be lit up by sun light. A very long line of cloud kept it hidden under dull flat light for what seemed like most of an afternoon, while the sun illuminated by either side of it. But I got the shot in the end.
A really interesting request came in the other day. Something that, if I get the job, will challenge me. Not just jump in my car, drive down to the south coast, shoot a boat and drive home again for supper. A project I could really get my teeth into, a project where I could be experimental after covering all of the bases, a project that has a number of unique problems like no other. As a photographer I like a challenge, I wouldn’t enjoy working on the water so much if everyday was just a walk in the park. I love the knowledge that I can take photographs in conditions that other photographers can’t. I’ve seen professional car photographers trying to shoot power boats, not being able to stand up because of the movement of the photo boat. Their earlier mirth at the sight of me dressed in full oilskins soon faded after they had taken a wave or two. Their humbleness of having to ask for a cloth as the toilet paper, they had hastily stuff their pockets, turned to mush on the front of their lens. I’ve seen people accidentally drop a £1300 lens from the flybridge as it slipped from their hands – Luckily for them, but not for the photographer whose head it landed on, it remained on board. Yet through this chaos I still get the images I need and more.
No two days on the water are alike, unlike in a studio environment where everything is, or should be, under control. I enjoy studio work too, playing god with light, adjusting the angle, exposure and feeling of light are all skills that are a world away from standing on a bucking rib. But that’s what makes photography great for me, I never know what tomorrow will bring.
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