I used to be a line cook, kinda like the ones you see on Hell’s Kitchen. Except real kitchens aren’t like that, so don’t buy the hype. Real kitchens are make do, or make great. There’s no die, there’s no not do. It’s all about get it done. The person who ordered their food is expecting their food, not an empty plate coated in excuses. One of my chefs would hear people making excuses, why they were slow, why they ran out of an item, etc. He would always stop them in mid excuse and say, “no stories, just results.” That philosophy has haunted me my entire adult life. It’s an important lesson in being a professional.
No stories, just results. Make do, Make Great.
Last Sunday morning it was the phantom voice of said chef that drove me from my bed to shoot for a sunrise shoot that saw no sunrise. I’m not gonna lie, I whaa whaa’d to myself in the dark about the cold rainy weather and the early call time I had arranged. Lack of sleep, and a glass too many of wine the night before had me in less than chipper, let’s rock this sunrise in the park shoot, type of mood. Not to mention that I have a 4 month old baby. Sleep is a rare luxury. Then I remembered, I am a professional, and professionals get up and make it happen.
If it was your wedding day, the wedding would happen, whether it was raining or not. If I was your photographer, you would expect nothing short of amazing from me. I got out of bed, texted the models and Interns, giving the option to back out to anybody who wanted. Everybody was en-route, and ready to give it a go. Yay! I got dressed a bit haphazardly, thank goodness for sweats. I soon realized I wasn’t the only person in my house who wanted to snooze the rainy morning away. Who could blame them. I bundled up my son, and together we hit the road.
Again, with the snarling face of aforementioned chef in my mind, and the refrain: “No stories.”
Make do. Make great.
Jessica and Johann left their houses at 5:30 am to meet me and Intern Sooji for the shoot. You may recognize Jessica from my Downtown Shoot. Jessica is vivacious and witty. She’s the type of person you could bottle up and drink for an energy boost, or eat as a protein snack. I mean that in the high energy way, not like the cannibal way. Err, metaphorical, yeah. Either way, she is awesome. I wish I could put her in my pocket, and make jokes with her all day.
Her boyfriend Johann is a perfect match for her. These 2 exude all those warm happy fuzzy feelings, it was almost like we didn’t need to be sad it was overcast and the sun never came out.
They make their own sunshine.
Off we went, with models and intern Sooji confirmed to meet at the park. It was an excellent opportunity to work with less than ideal conditions, and also a great warm up for the upcoming weddings I have. I am so excited for the couples that are getting ready to get married, and thrilled that they are taking a chance with me.
We started out in a particular field, and Intern Sooji helped me watch my son Shannon. She held him so I could shoot for a bit, and then when it was her turn to shoot, I perched atop his stroller (that thing is sturdy!) and nursed him back into an early morning nap. It was a peaceful morning, with just a few joggers, a couple million spiders in the grass, and me doing what I love, with my son there to somewhat experience it. Having him there is sweet, but it is also a mental distraction. I can’t help but worry if he is ok, and what you don’t see in these shots is that he is sleeping in his stroller, surrounded by tall grass, just a few feet out of frame. I see now that working in these conditions has helped temper me for future shoots, honing an ability to focus, concentrate, and deliver. Much like cooking for 200+ people a night. Focusing amongst bustling bodies, screaming chefs, clanging pots, fire and knifes is much like focusing with a sleeping baby, waking spiders, and a headache.
Make Do. Make Great.
When I hear people say things like, “oh I didn’t get the shot I was too tired”. I hear that you didn’t care enough to move yourself into the right place, at the right time. Maybe you were too lazy to make the extra leap to get the shot. When people complain they are tired, I laugh. I have a kid. Go ask any parent you know if they are completely rested. Chances are, they aren’t. Go ask any business owner, entrepeneur, hustler, or dedicated worker if they are tired. It’s not a part of their vocabulary. Your laziness is my chance to succeed.
No excuses. Just results.
Special thanks to Sooji, Johann, and Jessica for taking a chance with me that morning, for hustling, carrying a stroller through tall grass, and for being all around awesome. Thanks to that chef, and the many people who have honed me into the hard working, no sleeping, baby juggling photographer that I am today. Thank you to the couples who are entrusting their memories to me, and thanks to my supportive family, friends( new
and old) who keep this dream alive.
I am doing everything I can to exceed your expectations, and my wildest hopes.