After arriving at the shoot location I realize that this is an outdoor shoot with no electricity for my hot tools or airbrush machine, no tables for my supplies and very little shade from the blazing sun. I knew then that this would be a challenging day and I would need to improvise a lot. Oh and did I mention I couldn’t have been more inappropriately dressed in a Betsy Johnson silk dress, black sweater and a pair of BCBG patent leather pumps and it was 100 degrees. I immediately started working on my models after I checked out the clothes from the stylist. I couldn’t seem to find level ground for my director’s chair so each girl had to sit on cement blocks to get their hair and makeup done. Without hot tools I had to try my best to come up with beautiful hair looks that were tousled, adorned with braids and a little disheveled.
We were all so hot and sweaty that it became comical until I realized that wasn’t our only problem… I had been swatting horse flies and wasps for hours and now my feet and ankles were being attacked by red ants! Note to self, pack bug spray and sun screen as I later noticed a sunburn on the back of my neck from trying to shield my models from the sun. I had to pack and unpack my kit several times chasing the few spots of shade that was on a constant move as the sun progressed in the sky.
Just as unbelievable thirst was setting in I noticed that my only bathroom would be a port-a-pottie and then I decided I’d rather be thirty than have to go into that dreaded thing. At that point I think I would have paid $20 for a lemonade if I had the chance. The girls were getting restless but I kept plugging along because the photographer’s energy was contagious and despite all of nature’s hurdles I could tell they were getting amazing shots which made me want to keep going.
After about 8 hours and 4 looks we were informed that there was a second location that we needed to get to before sunset so we started to pack everything up again and head out. We drove another 30 minutes and I was following the caravan of cars filled with photographers, assistants, models, and stylists when I finally saw where the last shot was taking place... a beautiful, desolate, gorgeous piece of beach – there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The downside was if I thought it was challenging at the first location to do hair and makeup, how was I going to accomplish anything with all of the elements AND wind, sand the constant mist from the ocean? Luckily the models were doing bathing suit looks so I just needed a spray bottle and my fingers to create the final looks. As I stood back while the last shots were taken, my toes in the sand, the crashing waves in front of me and an incredible sunset off in the distance I thought not of the struggles of the day but that I love my job and if I get 3 outstanding shots, I would brave the elements all over again.