At the end of April I got an instagram DM from a long term client of mine saying a friend of hers in Charleston was looking for a photographer that coming week and that she was going to send my name her way.
I said “Awesome, thanks so much!”
Excited to get some work thrown my way. I tapped on the friend’s profile to discover she had over 60k followers. I know in the social media world that’s nothing too bonkers but it’s definitely the highest follower count out of anyone I’ve shot for before and therefore….I was stoked.
Fast forward to the day of the shoot. I pack my crap up, get in the Ford Fiesta, and head down to Chuck Town. The plan was to meet up with two absolutely lovely sisters named Sarah and Molly at The Charleston Place Hotel. I stroll up to the courtyard of the hotel, camera bag in hand, and I’m met with this very grand garden display. It actually matched perfectly with the dress I was wearing that day so I felt very much a part of the scene.
After appreciating the courtyard for no longer than 30 seconds, because I’m absolutely nothing if not punctual, I headed into the building. To describe the entry into this hotel as a “lobby” feels, frankly, disrespectful. This space deserves a name much more grandeur than what “lobby” offers. I will henceforth be referring to it as the foyer and I would like you to read it in a French accent, thank you.
In the center of the foyer under the double staircase is a little black greenhouse structure. During the month of May, The Charleston Place is hosting several different artists in this space. During my visit I had the chance to see the very fun and playful fashion illustrations of Meredith Wing.
Moving on from the fancy foyer, I headed up to the fourth floor pool and rooftop deck to meet the ladies. Y’all. When I say that shooting with these women was an absolute breeze, that is beyond understatement. Years of practice posing for photos does not go unappreciated, but boy do they make it look effortless.
I’m snapping away, doing my thing, and suddenly I start to question my whole life. Do I want to shoot with influencers every day now? This is amazing… look how she knows exactly which way to tilt her head and I don’t even have to tell her. Am I still a good photographer if the models don’t need my direction? It was a whole moment, y’all. I came to the conclusion that
- While, yes, I did absolutely love this shoot, I love my current clientele so I think I’ll stick to who I’m working with and see if I can get the odd influencer shoot every now and then.
- Yes, I am still a good photographer even if the models know just what to do. A lot of the time I have the joy of shooting with those who aren’t used to being photographed and therefore become used to assuming the role of hype man and teacher and dog trainer and baby cheerer upper. It’s easy to forget that even when I’m not wearing all those hats, I still have photographic vision that I’m proud of.
I won’t to pretend to have had all of these well put together thoughts right there in the moment in the kind of indoor kind of outdoor pool at The Charleston Place, that by some sorcery perhaps only known to the wealthy or the pool boys to the wealthy, did not smell like chlorine. This was in fact a revelation that I had over the several days following while I did all the editing and reflecting on my experience. What kept me from having these thoughts in real time was that, annoyingly, for whatever reason, I kept dropping all my crap. It was very embarrassing. Please don’t judge a professional’s talent by their butterfingers, I beg you. Fortunately no lens caps were harmed on the pool deck of The Charleston Place that day.
I suppose I should share a few more photos, eh?
We took a stroll through the first floor of the building thankfully almost entirely undisturbed by any other guests. We walked under the very cutesy umbrella ceiling past luxury fashion and handbag shops and a little court yard with comfy looking couches that we couldn’t get to because of, what I’m sure millions of photographers would consider to be their greatest nemesis, a locked door. *shakes fist* Being thwarted by the door gave us the opportunity to loop back around to the foyer and scope out Meredith Wing’s exhibit again, and I snapped a shot of Molly appreciating the little glass building while looking oh so casual chic. No big deal I was just standing here like this admiring the architecture in my super cute dress….
And with this grand exit back out into the courtyard we were finished. This whole saga was an hour long if I’m being generous with my estimate. It was probably about 50 minutes. I repacked my backpack, reloaded the Fiesta, and spent a couple more hours appreciating Charleston, my job, and my life before making the hour and forty five minute drive home.
Thanks to Sarah and Molly for the lovely morning, the easy breezy shoot, and for reminding me that I can still be good at my job without having to be the teacher.
Until next time, folks.
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