What I didn’t expect, when I first started working on commissions, is how much pre-production is involved. When I was working on my own I did it all myself – narrowing down an idea to make it happen in real life. But when you’re on a bigger job, all of a sudden there are so many people. It feels like half the time is spent on group calls, making sure everyone has the same vision, making decisions and making it happen, step by step. There’s a lot of talking, planning and scheming, but it makes the shoot and outcome that much sweeter.
I definitely wouldn’t want to be doing what I’m doing now without being represented. It’s a super-lucky position to be in, because instead of having to hustle, I slipped into this very coddled world, where jobs are presented to me. But the most effective thing is getting to work with producers; when someone takes over the production side you have more brain capacity to focus on the creative, and give it your best on the day of the shoot.
Acclimatising to new pressures
I get nervous every single time I’m about to do a shoot. But I think that’s a great thing, because then I know I care. To calm myself down, I’ll just sit in a corner, sketching out every image I want to take that day. Even if I know I won’t forget anything, the nerves are still there. But I do a lot of prep, so I can go in knowing exactly what I want and have it all mapped out. Then, over the course of the shoot, things can go wrong or right in a way you couldn’t have predicted.
I was still at school when I began shooting. Most jobs happened over the weekends, so I didn’t miss any classes. After school I took a year off, but I was actually almost too busy because – even though I’m selective, I took on so much work. Jobs tend to drag on for much longer than you anticipate, so there were points where I was close to a complete breakdown. I definitely learned a lot, but I’m still mastering a work-life balance.