Drew Gurian is a young, up-and-coming portrait photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Each month, he’ll be bringing you a behind-the-scene perspective, navigating the freelance marketplace of one of the busiest photo markets in the world – New York City. This is the fifth part of his story.
Back in November, I was hanging out with some friends on a Friday night and got an email at 8:30PM with the subject: “Any chance you’re available tomorrow AM for a Hunger Games portrait?” That’s a pretty typical subject line from The Associated Press (AP), though admittedly, cooler than most, and a fairly typical timeline for an email before a shoot the next day. I immediately sent a text to my editor with a “YES!! I’M IN!”, knowing that if I didn’t respond quickly, the shoot would go elsewhere.
These aren’t anything like lots of editorial shoots where there’s creative calls, art direction, locations picked out, propping, styling, etc. On the contrary, these are very much a fly by the seat of your pants, improvise all the way sort of shoot – which I’ve come to absolutely love. When shooting an A-list celebrity for a client like AP (one of the largest news agencies in the world), there’s a huge amount of pressure to produce a high quality, highly reproducible set of photos, and there’s absolutely no room for error. To that end, there’s also no retouching allowed on any photos I submit to AP, aside from basic brightness/contrast, etc. In other words, my lighting needs to be spot on. Oh, and I usually have five minutes (if I’m really lucky) or less with whoever I’m shooting to do all of this.