“Make it work.” This little cluster of words is something I hear much more often than I would hope. This phrase teases and taunts me in a weird way. There are many variables surrounding a photo shoot: models, wardrobe, hair, makeup, weather, location, strangers, personalities, egos, hunger, thirst, energy, exhaustion, etc. The more variables there are, the more stressful a situation can be, and as the photographer, I am the ring leader responsible for bringing all of these things together. It is my hands that are responsible for delicately weaving all of these elements to create something beautiful.
I can say it is similar to fishing with 8 fishing poles which all happen to have fish caught on the line. You have to run back and forth to each pole reeling them in to a certain “sweet” point. In the perfect setting you are a pied piper and the fish will reel themselves in, but it is something else entirely when you get one swimming with no direction.
Normally this particular phrase is used in a context where one of your variables has fallen through the cracks. You don’t have wardrobe, the model shows up late, it is raining outside when you were hoping for a bright and sunny location shoot, or worst of all one of your crew members doesn’t show. The lurking phrase “Make it work.” carries a negative connotation when planning and hoping all aspects of a shoot will fall into place easily.
As a photographer you have to be confident in your ability to bring things together, even when you have a loose end. Of course the best shoot is when everything you planned goes above and beyond what you expected, but those unplanned situations will always occur. I then resort to my creativity and experience to bring it back together. And in reality, if all else fails, I always “make it work”.