Shooting Together (For Business and Pleasure)

Unfortunately due to a heavy workload, I haven’t had time to finish Spider-Ken. That will have to be the subject of a future post. However, here’s something I've been meaning to post about for a while.

For most of the adventures I've posted about in this blog, I've had a silent partner. During each shoot that I've done purely for fun this month, I've had Wren Bentley with me. This has been great for two reasons. First, she’s my girlfriend and is great eye-candy. Second, and probably more important in this context, she’s been a great artistic eye with her own experience and perspective. After mostly shooting solo for the last three years, it’s been really fun to have someone else behind the camera for a few adventures.

Wren Bentley with a Canon 60d.

In my first post, about purchasing my new camera and gear (READ BELOW), there are photos of me with my 5d. These didn't magically appear. Wren and I went to a park near my house, and while I was screwing around taking pictures of birds and whatnot, she was doing what we came there for-taking great action shots with my 60d. She has her own set of photo experience to draw from, including graduating from the Art Institute where she took photography classes and worked in the camera equipment cage. From her time there she already knows what each piece of gear is and what it does. And since she’s also a professional Graphic Designer (, she knows what to look for with light and composition. Now that I have two cameras in my professional kit, one is in her custody to give her the chance to get a little more hands-on time, and to turn her tech knowledge into photos of her own.

Wren, feeding a goat and matching it's expression.

I've already talked about our day at the Zoo together, but I didn't really talk about what a fun date it was. Not only were we able to point out shots to each other and help with any glitches, it was really cool to do something together that’s usually so singular. I’m used to working alone when I work creatively. I paint alone, I design alone at a computer, and so far I've shot alone. I've always gotten a charge out of shooting, and to get that charge while you’re with someone else who is obviously getting it too is kind of addicting. I hope we can do more of this together.

Chilling out after shooting Josh.

Also sometimes you just need a hand. In all of the Super-Josh photos, Wren is just out of frame shaking Josh’s cape or holding a reflector. Or a creative voice. During the Spider-Ken shoot, time was a factor. We had to shoot it right and we had to shoot it FAST. It’s easy to get tunnel-visioned. That’s when it’s most valuable to have someone discreetly whisper in your ear “I like what you’re doing, but what if we tried…” We got some good angles and compositions out of that shoot because of that. It’s great to have collaboration, and it can only make the work better.

And I know for myself, there are nights like last night. I was shooting a commercial event by myself and was getting really frustrated. I had to rush around to be in three places at once, and as a result, didn't initially feel like I was doing my best work at any of them. During a quick break I texted Wren my frustrations and the reply was:

Most helpful text I could have gotten, and even better because I knew she knew what she was talking about. The rest of the night went really well, with the reminder to slow down a little, and get the shots done right. Thanks again, Wren.

What do you guys think? Do you have a collaborator that pushes you to make you better and that you support in return? More adventures soon.