Pay all the attention to the woman in front of the curtain


The last two weeks have been tough. We’ve been incredibly busy, which is a good thing. But it’s taxing.

There’s no better person to have by my side than Tina. I know, I write about her a lot.

She is my everything.

Sometimes I wonder if I work with her to build our business because I am passionate about my art, or passionate about keeping her by my side no matter what.

I love what I do, but I love what I do more because Tina is with me.

We had a 14-hour day on Wednesday, and at the end of the day we were photographing an award ceremony. Tina doesn’t shoot for those kinds of things. She can kill it with a room of people getting posed, smily shots. But her forte isn’t rifling through a verity of lighting situations and lens choices to cover the range of needs in a range of scenarios.

It was the 10th hour of a long two days, and she was sitting in another room waiting for me to shoot.

“You could grab a cab home,” I told her. “There’s no reason for you to stay.”

“No, I’m staying. I want to be here with you.”

She melts my heart and she doesn’t even know it.

The morning had started with a bang. Both days, we started with setting up location-based photo studio to shoot head shots of anyone in the company who needed one. Tuesday was a bit slow. We did about 20 shots over 3 hours. No big deal.

On Wednesday, we were setting up thinking that it would be as slow as the day before. At 10:40, a woman walked over before our lights were setup. The stands were out. My camera was still in my bag.

“Are you guys setup for head shots yet?” She barked from about 10 yards away.

“Um,” I looked around. The backdrop wasn’t even up. “No, not quite yet.”

“Lauren said you were going to be setup by 10:45. I have appointments (she tapped her watch), and I need to get my shot and go.”

“I thought we started at 11,” I asked. Tina confirmed that the woman was right. We were to be setup in 5 minutes.

Then the woman said, “And another thing … and you can keep working while I talk …” I stopped and looked at her. “I need to talk to you about Photoshop.” That brought me to a full stop, and I walked over to stand in front of her to devote my full attention.

“You can’t multitask?” She asks.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“You can talk and keep setting up.”

“You just asked for my attention, and I wanted to give it to you.” I said. “By the way, we do a professional retouch on all the photos we take,” I assured her. We get that question a lot.

“But I need a lot of work,” she assured me, still standing in front of her. “But you should keep working. What are you? A typical man who won’t ask for directions, can’t multitask.”

My face was burning red. “Ma’am, you just asked for my attention on something you found serious. Now you’re offending me.”

“Really? You’re just the typical man. I’m joking with you. You can’t multitask. That’s typical. I’m joking with you. You can’t take a joke either? That’s typical.”

“No, I find it disrespectful,” I said.

Tina couldn’t believe I told her any of that. She didn’t tell me to shush, but Tina has a way of alleviating the tension that can enter a room with the swoosh of her magic wand called charm.

I wanted to tell that jerk to fuck off. She just hovered there, in the way, watching us setup like a vulture waiting for its turn to eat from the carcass.

I wanted to ask her if people stand over her while she’s working and ask her questions. Does she think setting up lights is some menial, mindless task? What I’m doing is going to make her look either really good or really bad.

And if I do it wrong, it can suck.

Instead of saying anything more, I said nothing and continued to work … only a bit slower. I wasn’t going to let her destroy my setup and taint how the photos looked for the rest of the day.

Another group of people were starting to line up behind her. When we finished, Tina asked if she should stand in to make sure the light is good or have the first person get the first shot.

“You stand in, Tina,” I said. I snapped two shots and looked at my monitor to make sure it looked okay. Fortunately it did and I could move forward.

I looked up at the clock on my computer screen. “10:45” it read.

We invited the first woman over, that jerk. I wanted to point out what time it was, but I didn’t. I took a deep breath, and completed her session with professionalism and poise. But I wanted to kick her in the teeth.

Later, Tina and I talked about it, and she applauded me for how I handled the situation. “You told her what you thought. That’s important.”

“Yeah, but if you weren’t there, it was going to go downhill quickly.”

We high-fived that we’re a fucking great team. We rode out that long 14 hours together. We’ll ride out the rest of the jobs together.

Working together, living together, being together is a dream. And I’m living in it.

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