Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary
When an opportunity presents itself are you ready for the unexpected? Not all opportunities are fully realized immediately, but leaving yourself open to the possibilities may prove to be beneficial more often then not.
About a year ago I answered a call from Concentrek Group, an advertising agency and a very good client of mine, hesitantly asking me if I might be interested in shooting some images pro-bono. My first reaction was “What d’ya have?” When he said the Glass City Rollers, a Toledo based flat track roller derby league, a hundred ideas burst into my head all at once.
We met a week later to discuss the team and the direction of the photo shoot. One of the first things that struck me was that each team member had a unique name and a rather interesting and creative bio–like Satan’s Little Helper, No-Holds Barbie and Moxie Morbid. I suggested interpreting each team member’s alter-ego to its extreme.
Now the fun began, since I had to locate an appropriate location to shoot all 16 team members. We decided on an old abandoned factory in Ohio. The grounds were overgrown with brush, piles of scrap metal were heaped everywhere, windows were broken out of buildings and the walls were decaying—a perfect setting to bring these characters to life. Since we were going to shoot in an abandoned factory and the last thing I wanted was to have 26 people arrested, I made sure to get approval to be on the property the day of the shoot. With all the legalities out of the way we were clear to begin the shoot.
The day of the shoot, we had several make-up and hair stylists as well as a number of assistants to handle the high volume of shots to be done in a very short amount of time. The girls did exactly what I had hoped for and embraced their persona's fully in order to get the perfect shot. No matter what I asked of them, they were great and willing to give it their all. Eight hours later, the shoot was complete but now the real work began post-production.
I wanted to enhance the edginess of each character leaning towards a more hyper-realistic effect. This process in total took more than 100 hours to complete. I will be highlighting some of the color channel techniques I used in the final images in my PS Pointers video tutorial starting on November 5.
This project took many days to prep, arrange, shoot and complete but the experience and final images were well worth every minute. Sometimes as creatives we need the opportunity to extend our creative muscle every now and then and to see where the opportunity will lead us. This project gave me the chance to create some unique images for my portfolio with the cooperation and energy of a lot of people that otherwise would have been extremely difficult for me to orchestrate on my own. As a result, I have won a number of awards for this series which is great for the ego and several jobs from new agencies that saw and liked my work which is great for the pocketbook–a win-win situation!
Sometimes its worth taking the time to explore the possibilities of projects that are placed in front of you, you never know where it may lead. If you accept the challenge, never compromise your work whether or not you're compensated. Remember your work should represent you so treat it with the same respect. Donating your time and talents may also have rewards that no monetary value can compare, so be prepared to reap the benefits when you least expect it.
"It is those who can spot opportunities who are truly exceptional." anonymous
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