1. always ask for more. not more money, more direction. ask for clear direction of a project before you get into it. and definitely before you arrive on location. if you don’t get an answer that you are satisfied with ask again, and then again, until you get the information that you need. it is a hard place to get caught trying to work with a vague idea of what a AD wants, even if they have no idea what they want. “i’ll know it when i see it” is not good enough. push them for direction, it is their job to direct the overall look and feel of the images. if they are doing their job properly, you should have a good idea of what the end product should be.
2. if you don’t think it’s going to work, it’s probably not going to work. photographers are visual people, seems pretty obvious, right. for the most part we know what will work or not work when we see it. though for some reason when we have others on set we will tend to shoot ideas or at locations that just don’t cut it. express your thoughts to the client or AD on set and tell them that you don’t think a specific idea will work.
2.1 (cuz it goes with 2, but is different) if the job is rushed, still take the time to plan. sit down with the AD or client, even if it’s for a couple of minutes, and run through what each of you are thinking. sketch out the lighting setup, and the composition. this way you have a visual reference of what you need to accomplish, and you won’t get caught in #1.
3. stand by your work. at the end of the day, those are the images that you made, and like it or not, those are the images that you will have to stand by. be honest about them, but defend them. you made decisions during the course of the project that resulted in the images that you shot. even if your client doesn’t like them, there is a reason why you shot them. maybe you took a risk on something, maybe you composed something too conservative; whatever you did, there were reasons and/or influences (either yours or someone else’s on set) that made you choose that decision. back them up and stand by them.
those are the things i learnt today. i have unfortunately learned them the hard way, and will definitely be changing my mental check list for jobs. to be honest they seem rather common sense, but i’m amazed at what gets overlooked when you’re in the heat of things.