A couple of paid jobs!

In amongst the December madness of over-eating and over-spending, I have been otherwise focused on getting some more real-life photography experience under my belt this month.

Musical Booking
An old school chum of mine got in touch through facebook and we got to catching up.  I did my usual shameless self-plug, and shazamee! I got a booking.  Edd has played the guitar for as far back as my school memories go.  I recall a weird school play I was too young to be in at age 4/5.  All I remember is lots of the neighbourhood kids dressed up as cards, and Edd did a mini-set on his junior acoustic alongside his teacher at the time.  When I began playing Saxophone in Middle school Edd and I became better friends as we were both in a very drafty mobile (designated music hot spot of the school) dropping in to have hour long lessons from the visiting music teachers, or to practice in school orchestra.  I do recall one occasion (I must have been 10 or 11, Edd a year older) where whilst we were both waiting for our one or two bass notes (it was a small mobile and loud horns and guitars we lumped together at the back) Edd told me all about the wonder of lighting one’s farts.  Naturally I was shocked and dismayed that this was even possible, but Edd told me all about how it was done, and what foods you should eat to get the best results.
<Cue an Edd blush> 
He is a true gent now and I’m sure never partakes in such juvenile activities as these any more.
Moving up through to high school I sort of lost touch with Edd.  He went off to be much too cool for deigning to noodle in the back of another drafty school annex in orchestra practice.  He was more involved in those very honest and “angsty” teen bands some of us find themselves in at that point in our lives.  They performed the Headline spot after the multi-aged school band had performed a rendition of Corrie’s theme tune (“for the Mam’s”) and Sleigh Ride (“for the Grans”).  I had about four or five notes to play in both of these, but was probably far too preoccupied with teen vanity issues like “Is my hair straight enough, or “Does my Rimmel lipstick go with my -overly short- school tie?”
I do recall a drunken night out later in our collective high-school/the-next-step hiatus, for a mutual friends 18th or 19th booze up in one of the nearby sleepy little village pubs.  Since that evening I hadn’t seen Edd for years and years.  So a boozy catch up seemed the best environment in which to catch up in.
So that’s what we did. 
Our vibe has changed from a staccato “Catcher in the Rye” mood to a more free-flowing melodic “On the Road” exchange.  I think it’s always a good sign and positive reflection of a person when it’s possible to reveal how one has changed and thinks differently about things during a catch up conversation.  There is nothing worse for me than when you have to revert to trustee stories that begin with “Do you remember the time when…”  a clear sign, you no longer have much in common with a person, and that neither of you are going to be at all enriched from each others company. 
So all fully caught up, we made plans to do a shoot.  Edd is in a few bands, teaches guitar, and performs solo.  On this occasion he wanted some promotional shots of him, to use for self-promotion.  So we scheduled time in our busy diaries to make this happen.
3 Months later, and 3-4 cancelled shoots later, we eventually met up at the upstairs flat where Edd does some of his teaching.  He brought outfits and guitars a-plenty, and I fashioned my flashgun into a light on a boom, by gaffer taping it to my household broom.  A “boom broom”, if you will?
Here is a mini-selection of the fruits of the day.  As you will probably be able to see, we had a really chilled shoot.  I loved the easy pace of this type of work, in comparison to the high-intensity hour-long shoots I do with clients in my part-time job.  It was really important to Edd and I that we keep things real and honest.  So there was no call for me to put Edd into any contrived poses, or try to add a subliminal narrative about the kind of musician he is.  Edd simply played a whole host of tunes, and we had a chat.  I clicked the shutter whilst this was happening, and swore at my boom broom and dodgy sync cable for not working reliably for me.

Following the shoot, we then agreed to stay on a full-throttle Rock and Roll mission, and had a nice cuppa and cupcake at nearby cupcake cafe.  I have to say, utterly fabulous cream-icing.  Best I’ve had outside of the USA!

You can find Edd strumming in all of the following bands.  He’ll play at any event for a very reasonable fee.
My First Wedding
Now I’ve assisted other photographers on Wedding jobs before, and a lot of my part-time studio job is dedicated to editing wedding work and dealing with (sometimes demanding, and slightly deluded) wedding clients.  But I’ve never actually shot a wedding myself, in my style, in exchange for decent money.
In my idealistic college years, I swore I’d never compromise my artistic calling to provide such a service photographically.  But now out and in the real world, in the geographical situ that I am, Wedding work is something I need to know how to do, in order to earn a crust in this industry.  The experience can’t hurt my “Photographic Journey”, and I’m not really so proud as to find myself sitting in freezing cold rented accommodation, eating beans out of the tin and droning on about my integrity as an “artiste”.
In a previous admin job, I made very good friends with Emma.  She is a wonderful person.  Incredibly kind, generous and gentle.  Like most goth’s Emma is like a chocolate box caramel.  Seems tough on the outside, with swathes of black fabric in her wake, and blaring scary music surrounding her, but within minutes of meeting her, she’s really all gooey and lovely.  In our shared time a-top an ivory tower, in a time warp to 1940’s administration, and under the wrath of a leader akin to Saruman, we became firm friends.  When I met Emma, she’d just gotten engaged to Gary, whilst on a tropical holiday, and over the time we worked next to each other, she kept me updated with her plans for her Gothic wedding, which was to take place near to Christmas.
So although I was studying photography, as well as working in the tower, she asked if I’d shoot her wedding for her, as I’d be all qualified by the time the big day rolled around.  I agreed.
As time has gone on, I left this job, but stayed in touch with Emma.  And before we knew it, the Wedding was imminent.  We met up a couple of times to consult about the photographs she wanted, and I was very relieved to see that the bridezilla mask had not blinded her, she was clearly going to be a chilled-out bride.  A perfect situation for my first Wedding.  What could go wrong?
Jesmond Dene House in the Snow
A couple of days before, record breaking snow fall hit the North-East.  This was about a week before the rest of the UK realised snow was any kind of an issue for the country.  I decided to not let this be an issue, and thanked my lucky stars that the Wedding and reception were all taking place at the one venue.  So the biggest priority would be to just get there and get the job done, and worry about digging our way out of there afterwards.

Here are a small selection of the photographs I got.  From a technical point of view, yet again I felt really inhibited by my equipment.  I was a blushing mess when my loud shutter noise was a din during the couple’s vows and my speed light was in no way speedy or reliable because of it’s age.

So from these two paid jobs I feel much more confident that I really am setting out onto the road of being a professional photographer.  I have loads of jobs planned out that I want to get set up next, but I know the quality of my work is being affected by my equipment.  I’ve just been hired in my forth part-time job, so now I’m paying off debts and saving for new kit.

When Emma & Gary return from their fabulous honeymoon, work will begin on designing their album.

Signing off with Christmas Wishes, I’ll be back in the New Year!

L x


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