improvising when things go wrong

April 26, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

We all do it.  When things don't follow our well laid plans, we have several choices.  We can panic.  We can complain.  We can try to get back to those plans.  Or we can improvise, compromise and make the best of the new situation starting from where we are.  Making this choice seems so obvious, but when we throw in our expectations, our emotions, and any other variables, we get overwhelmed and don't make the obvious choice.

I had a case of this earlier this week.  We had a big event for our high school senior models.  We had rented a larger studio so we could accommodate our big group.  We brought in our lighting set up, our backdrop stands, our accessories, our food and drinks, tables and chairs for makeup artists, samples of our work, graduation announcements and invitations, credit card processor, cameras, tripods, and so much more!  We decorated and set up tables and started our music.  We cooked the pizzas and laid out the cookies, cups, drinks, etc.

Then, the girls came in for some senior pictures.  This was not to take their final pictures, but to give them a sample of what it is like to work with Welker Photography.  While they were getting their hair and makeup done, I was going to finish setting up the lighting and backdrops.  

Then, we had set back number one.  Our makeup artist didn't show up.  The other makeup artist cancelled because of a car accident earlier that week.  Then, the one remaining artist didn't come.  And she didn't come.  And she still didn't come.  We called her and found out where I had made my first mistake.  The original time was from 5-8.  I changed it to 4-7 so we could use more daylight and have the girls looking amazing for a night out.  BUT, I forgot to tell our makeup artist.  Oops.  

Panic? not me.  I pulled out my thick spring issue of "In Style" magazine.  I told the girls to go through it and find makeup styles they wanted to try for this fun event.  They started curling and styling each other's hair.  The music was fun and they had a good time.  Then, when our makeup artist finally showed up, they were having fun and ready to go.

Setback number two was a big bigger.  I set up the lighting stands and the backdrop stands.  I hung the cross poles and put up backdrop number one.  Then, I reached for the second one and it wasn't there.  I couldn't believe it.  I had left it at my home studio.  It is huge and heavy.  It is my go to backdrop for studio shots.  And it was missing.  I decided to remain calm and carry on.  No really.

So, I hung large fabric pieces on the stand.  Then, I layered other fabrics over the top for textures.  It looked really good.  Phew.  However, I never did use that backdrop but stuck with the black one for the whole night!  lol.  So much for panic time.    It didn't look nearly as professional, but the results of the images were very good.

So, what happened that night?  We started late, we finished late,  We laughed and got silly and ate pizza and pigged out on cookies.  We got pampered with camera ready makeup that looked fabulous.  We met new friends.  And these high school senior girls got ready to get their senior pictures taken.  My mess ups didn't ruin the day.  Instead, they helped me relax.  I recognized that things weren't going to go as planned and I just decided to roll with the punches.  If it wasn't going to be perfect, I decided to just relax and take it as it comes.  Patience in tough situations didn't come easy, but it sure pays off in crunch time keeping stress at bay.

I think high school senior photographers, like me, love making our clients look and feel amazing.  I know that is why I have such a passion for this style of photography.  And we achieved that with some great lighting, camera-ready professional makeup, hair styling, laughter, fun, and some luck.



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