When The Photographer Blows It...And I'm The Photographer


Where to start?

It was supposed to be overcast. That's what the weather report on my stupid phone told me. Overcast skies are great for photos, so long as it doesn't get too dark too fast.

Then, 45 minutes before my session is supposed to start, I hear rain on the magnolia outside the window. I throw open the door and see fat rain drops splattering on the sidewalk.




I know that my client is already on her way because I've been working with her for about 5 years since her maternity session. She doesn't live close.

I snatch up my phone and look through the contacts and realize I don't have her number. Really? REALLY?! So I get on Giafoto and start going through years worth of messages and finally find a phone number. I ring her up and find out she's at a pumpkin patch just outside my town. This was the only time they had to get pictures done this fall. Her fiance is going out of town...

So, I search my brain in a panic and realize that I can try to shoot at my barn. That might work. I can keep them dry and hopefully get enough natural light drawn into the camera. Ooof. This isn't going to be a relaxed session, that's for sure.

I grab up my camera bag that I found open a few days before. The camera is inside. Okay. Let's go.

I drive too fast but make it out to the pumpkin patch in about ten minutes and they follow me out to the barn. My barn is literally in the middle of nowhere and it takes 15 minutes to get there. I am sweating even though it's chilly. By the time we get there, my heart is pounding.

Freaking nerves!

Her fiance gets out of the car. He's a big guy. I get nervous because guys HATE getting their pictures taken to begin with, but so far, nothing about this session is going as planned. We are in a whole new location and it's drizzling rain. I plaster a big ole' smile on my face and say way too cheerfully, "Hi! I'm Gia!"


I'm such an idiot.

But he smiles back and seems like a really nice guy.

We start the photo session. The children are small and they move a lot. This is a problem because I've slowed my shutter down to 80 in hopes that they will be still enough for clear photos while also allowing me to draw in extra light. My ISO is cranked open--my aperture is big.

At some point, I realize (as does the dad and his son) that the ball of fluff in the middle of the barn is some sort of large dead animal laying on it's back...mouth wide open...teeth barred.

What. The. Heck. 

I venture out into the drizzle to get some wider family shots. I try to keep mom and dad under the awning of the barn and let the boys venture out with me. The rain stops. I pound out the rest of the photos and now just have to do mom and dad by themselves for their engagements portraits. About five minutes in...the camera turns off.

I look down in a panic and see the battery is dead. I could seriously just cry. I run back to the van to search through camera bag and find the extra battery is missing. I don't know what to do but walk back in shame and explain. I offer to give them what I have free of charge.

However, they really need those couple shots for Save The Dates....

I search my brain in a panic. The sweat starts again.

So, I say, "Why don't you drive into town and eat dinner. I need maybe 15 minutes to get some juice in this battery and then we can finish these last photos off in the park."

I cross my fingers and hope that the guy doesn't want to throttle me, but he smiles kindly. They agree...though I realize this is THE WORST!!!

I speed into town while they run for burgers for the boys. I plug the camera in and search for the other battery. London must have went through the camera bag and that's why it was open a few days before. I can't find the dang extra battery, though. I pray as hard as I can that Jesus will make the other one charge up enough and make the rain stop and give me some pretty, golden light.

Fifteen minutes later, I snatch the battery, push it into the camera and switch it on. I have exactly one tiny little bar of power.



I hurry to the park where they're waiting. As I'm walking across the lawn...the rain starts. Just a drizzle on my hair...and then it begins pouring. No one can tell if I'm crying at this point, but I am pretty sure they would notice if I puke on my boots. I swallow the vomit down...and plaster on a big...stupid...bright smile.

"This just isn't my week, guys!"

They have thin smiles on their faces as they nod at me.

 I work as hard as I can to get good engagement portraits. I've already made it up in my mind that this session is now free. Because...COME ON! I throw a tartan over my head and the camera and poke the lens out the end so that I can stand in the rain while they stand under a gazebo to stay dry. I pop in under the roof to adjust settings, re-position them, turn up my ISO as high as a dare without getting a terribly grainy image....

And I just want to lay down on the cement and sob.

The little boys are playing in the rain. They're soaked. I'm soaked. Rain is running down the back of my sweatshirt.


Bright, golden light shines out on the horizon.

Jesus answered that prayer...but it was still pouring down rain. I keep shooting the best I can. We can't move around very well. We can't do various poses that I normally would...

 But I shoot.

And I shoot.

And I am soaking wet.

I blew it. 

Mother Nature blew it.


It's done.

Oh. And they insisted on paying for the session. :(

 Soggy. Tired. And need a new brain.


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