I have a dilemma, and frankly, it’s easier for me to hash it out here in my blog than in my head. Perhaps readers can offer me insight, or maybe just seeing it all down “on paper” will help me make a decision. So… here goes.
I am supposed to attend an event soon. It’s a group shoot type event which I’ve attended a few times before. It is definitely a chance to work with some folks I wouldn’t normally get a chance to work with, and the past events have definitely been a lot of fun. Both rather positive things, though many of the folks are repeat attendees… though in some cases that’s ok, as many of them aren’t nearby enough for me to work with regularly.
In theory, it’s also a good networking opportunity, and a good way to build one’s portfolio. I say “in theory” because for one, I’ve yet to get a paying job, or even a repeat TF* request, from any of the photographers at the past events I’ve attended. I don’t really count “pleasure working with you, hope to do it again sometime” as a request–to me it’s a polite statement, much like, “nice to meet you, hope to see you soon” which you’d say in parting to someone you just met, but know you likely won’t get together with on your own anytime soon. Additionally, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to build my portfolio from group events. Now, sure, with the new look I do need some updated images, but for the specific kinds of images I’m looking for, going to a group shoot likely isn’t the best place for me to get them. There’s another issue relating to that that I’ll get to in a minute.
For this particular event, it seems that most of the models will be doing nudes/bodypainting, and most of the photographers are interested in that kind of work or highly conceptualized stuff that I don’t need in my portfolio. And I totally understand not wanting to work with the “boring, not-even-willing-to-do-topless-implied, model who wants to stay clothed and get commercial or commercial-fashion style images that are minimally edited and retouched cleanly”… especially when there’s 10 other models there prancing around in various stages of nakedness, covered in paint and/or fake blood, willing to be tied up and whatnot. In my experience, a model’s experience is often overshadowed by another model’s willingness to show her tits. :shrug: Nothing I can do about that really, except deal with it.
Now, factor in the fact that I’ve only received usable stuff from a couple photographers who were at the last event, and things aren’t looking hot. To top it off, I can’t really even use the stuff I got because my look changed pretty dramatically. I’m still waiting for stuff from a few photographers, but with the change in my look, don’t really care if I get it at this point… again, it won’t really be usable to me at this point unless it’s exceptional stuff, but you’d think exceptional stuff would have been sent out already and not just sitting on someone’s hard drive a month and a half later.
I’ve also found that while I might get great web-ready stuff from events like this, getting un-watermarked, print size files doesn’t typically happen. And with my working on building a print book, that’s something I absolutely need. Should the shots be print-worthy, of course.
Which brings me to me next point of concern. It seems that, of the attending parties, the only photographers that could give me the type work I am looking for might not be able to deliver the quality that I need–that is, work that is equal or better to what I already have in my portfolio. That’s a problem. I’m a firm believer in the concept of “trading up”, and I know that I’ve got some high-quality work in my portfolio. Sure, there are a couple folks who are attending that can get me some great stuff, but I’d almost rather work with them outside of the group atmosphere so we can really knock out some top-notch stuff, instead of hurrying along at a group event so everyone can have their turn.
Let’s factor in the fact that I’ve had one person contact me to let me know they want to work with me, and it happens to be another model, and I’m sensing there just aren’t many people interested in working with me there. Now, I’m all for working with other models, but all of the other issues above factor into it.
Now, sure, I could just show up with my big ugly orange suitcase packed full of outfits I want to shoot in, my ideas in hand, and shoot with whoever’s willing to shoot–after all, that’s what I did the past couple times and it worked out ok. But I’m not big on just shooting my outfits and ideas, and I don’t want people to shoot with me because they feel obliged to. And, of course, there’s the quality thing again…
Bottom line is, I’m having trouble justifying spending the time and money on an event where it’s pretty clear I’ll either not work with many photographers, or I’ll get back shots that I can’t use for one reason or another. But at the same time, I’ve already made a commitment to be there.
No idea, still, what I want to do here. Perhaps I still need to mull it over. Any thoughts?