A few months ago, I was commissioned to photograph a feature for a new magazine launch The Simple Things. New launches are always exciting, scary and exciting. When I worked as publisher, I would feel a mixture of excitement and sickness. There was that triumphant feeling when the publishing proposal was passed by the board of directors, but then the hard work began. Finding enough people to work on it, pulling together editorial ideas that were just sketches on paper, realising that the budget would have to be pulled and squeezed like a bit of dough to keep within strict budgets. And so it would go on....until the moment of truth. A big bundle of newly printed issues would thump on the floor of the office. Hurredly, we would flick through the magazine, almost too close to the project to make a call. Had we got it right? Would it sell? What would we need to work on? But by then the second issue was well underway and the third being commissioned and...
Back to The Simple Things. I was given a fairly tight brief,
'We want to run a feature on a day out picking apples, we want a family and friends this sort of age and....' I was told by the commissioning editor. We talked a lot about the 'feel' of the magazine so that I would get that same feel in the shots.
It had to have: this light, these clothes, this style of model, these types of apples, these kind of props, this sort of location.... so it went on. In my head I had planned how I was going to tackle it. I found the ideal location and worked out when the light would be just right. I picked out spots where my models should be to get the shots, which had to look natural. I checked the weather and the whereabouts of my models and bingo one day looked as though we could go ahead.
Working with children is always tricky, they get bored very quickly so I had to make sure that it was fun, that the time spent with them was as short as possible and hopefully they would do what I asked of them; munch a few apples, climb a few trees and crucially (and this was nearly a deal breaker), wear clothes that we wanted. They were great, as were the adults who patiently walked up and down when I asked, hurried when I said we were losing the light and despite not being professional models looked the part and wore warm clothes even though it was about 80 degrees. Several hours later our shots were in the bag. A friend who was helping me out said that she didn't realise how much work and organisation was involved, in the magazine it's just a few pictures. Maybe not so simple afterall, I would just stick to reading the magazine.
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