I finished up assisting international photographers in London and returned to South Africa as a budding fashion photographer. Very shortly after returning I was taken on by Storm agency who started to represent me as a fashion photographer.
As you can well imagine I was feeling great, I believed I was on the road to being the next “big” thing in fashion.
But then followed by biggest mistake which would affect my life as a professional photographer in the long run…
I was invited to a birthday dinner at a restaurant in Cape Town where, besides the birthday girl, I didn’t know too many people.
In a conversation with an unknown couple, the usual question popped up, “so what do you do?”
Feeling absolutely fantastic having just signed a representation deal with an agency, combined with a few whiskeys on ice, I blurted out that I was a photographer.
“Cool, I’m looking for a photographer, do you shoot product stuff?”
Feeling oh so above myself as if I was the next Helmut Newton, I said, “No, I’m a fashion photographer…!”
The guy I was speaking to, turned out to be the head of the (now) market leaders in energy drinks and who was just about to start a massive marketing campaign, which resulted in them getting where they are today…
I know that sometimes shooting events can feel like hanging onto the lower rung of the ladder of photography. But here are the reasons why I still shoot them.
- It’s a place to create rapport with a potential client – it can lead to bigger shoots.
- You can meet a lot of people who might ask for your details.
- Shooting events is good practice for having to shoot quickly and creatively.
- You can turn the event into a story creating your own visual angle.
- You can shoot; people, food, interiors and reportage all at one time – while getting paid for it.
- You get to shoot with flash and no flash – playing with and balancing light.
- There’s usually food and drinks for the help 🙂
The main thing is to shoot to the brief but it still offers options to practice and perfect your craft.
As a reportage and portrait photographer, I always take on events when asked. It helps me to get better as a photographer.