For my first month working for Splash News, I had only done paparazzi work (i.e. shooting on set). But then they had me show up to Rockefeller Center at the crack of dawn two days in a row to shoot the Today Show halloween special. On the first day, I was one of about 15 paparazzi on set. Most of them seemed to be familiar with the setup and had started a numbered list with their names on it. We were called out by number to enter the press pit, which was a small section of risers on the side. Of course I was near the end of the list, so I ended up on the top riser, furthest away from the stage area. My view was obstructed by paparazzi heads and videocameras – not good, not good at all. But thank god for the 5d2’s live view – I was able to hold the camera above my head and get decent shots. The Today Show anchors were dressed as Star Wars characters and played a round of ‘Jedi Jeopardy’. I won’t get into my opinion of Star Wars (*cough*inserteyerollhere*cough*), but they did a cool job with the theme on set.
ALSO — you can see my on the show! Check out this clip from MSNBC and starting at 2:33 you can see me in the navy blue hoodie with yellow lettering!
On halloween morning it was drizzling and substantially less people (and paparazzi) were around for the show. The ‘surprise celebrity’ turned out to be Nick Cannon, who was hosting a mock segment of ‘America’s Got Talent’, with Lester Holt dressed as Susan Boyle – pretty hilarious. Amy Roebuck played Simon Cowell. We actually had a good view of the set this time, and the anchors took time to pose for the paps.
I normally only get to do paparazzi work for Splash News, but for some reason this week I was given a few events to attend. The first was a launch party for S.Kuhlman (a men’s designer) on the Upper East Side, where some of the Real Housewives of NYC would be making an appearance. I’m admittedly a fan of crappy reality tv, but I’ve never seen the Real Housewives and had no idea who they were. How was I supposed to spot them? I ended up just taking pictures of whoever posed on the red carpet and then googling the cast members later to see who was there. At one point, I ended up wedged between a table and the stairwell and had to listen to the 3 housewives talk about pregnancy cravings. It was like I was the 4th person at the table! Very weird.
Of the 5 zillion performances going on for CMJ, we randomly chose to check out the bands at Trash Bar on the other side of the neighborhood. It ended up being a really cool, grungey dive bar with old truck seats as seating outside of the bathrooms downstairs. The stage was also downstairs, but oddly enough the crowd was pretty small for a Friday night.
The first band we saw, Twin Berlin, was my favorite of the night. They’re an emo-punk band. After their set, the lead singer and I bonded over being native Connecticutians… except I had escaped and he hasn’t yet. The next band played horrible metal music, the kind that makes you wanna cut off your ears. It was so bad that we fled upstairs and played a game of pool until their set was over.
Then the Neutron Drivers went on and were pretty awesome. Lauren out-danced a drunken MILF while they played. Afterwards, the lead singer accidentally poured his beer on me. Literally POURED, not spilled. He didn’t even realize he was doing it until I shrieked. But he felt really bad and insisted on buying me a drink I didn’t even want. Aw. I didn’t even pay attention to the last band because by that point it had gotten pretty crowded, and my pants were completely soaked. But overall – a great night. I love live music, and I should really make a point to see more shows.
I was hired to second shoot a wedding for Precision Studios, assisting Ilan Swirsky. I drove up to the Renaissance Westchester Hotel with Kasia (videographer) and the GPS got us lost once we encountered a road block. I now understand why it’s important to allot extra time for travel! But we arrived on time and the whole day went smoothly. Everything took place at the hotel: the getting ready process, the family portraits, the ceremony, and the reception. It didn’t matter that it was a rainy day since we were indoors anyway.
It was my first time attending a Jewish wedding, and I got to witness the circling of the chuppah, the breaking of the glass, and the horah. It was so much more lively than the typical Catholic wedding. The dancefloor was occupied the entire reception, with the groom leading the pack. Seeing the bride and groom being hoisted on chairs overhead during the horah was pretty exciting, I must say!
As a second shooter, I tried this time to shoot from different angles than the main photographer. I had little direction, so I just aimed to be wherever he was not. A few times this led to me being alone in a room with the bride and a few family members, i.e. while getting ready, and just before walking down the aisle. I wasn’t sure if I was meant to be there, so I did my best to stay as unobtrusive as possible. I think it led to some interesting shots of a few intimate moments before the wedding, if I do say so myself.
I had such a blast at this wedding, just like at the last one. I’m determined to break out on my own and start my own business soon – 2010 here I come!
I had the honor of assisting a friend of my mom’s, Fran McMullen, shoot a gala event for the Africa-America Institute. The night began with a silent auction and cocktail hour in the hallway outside the dining room, where I was left to photograph the items up for auction, the bar, and candid shots of the attendees mingling, while Fran was ushered around to photograph various VIPs. This is my favorite part of event photography, getting to document everything as it happens naturally even if it’s not the ‘main event’. I hate posing people for shots, so I was happy that Fran was taking care of that. I bounced my flash off the ceiling for most of these shots.
Towards the end of the auction, Russell Simmons walked in and henceforth always seemed to be socializing with different people. He signed some autographs as well. I honestly wasn’t sure what he looked like, but I recognized him with the Yankees cap on. Julianne Moore was another celebrity on the guest list, and one of the first people we tracked down in the dining room to photograph. She politely posed, but it was obvious she preferred to be left alone after that.
The second part of the night took place in the dining room, starting with dinner and then the awards ceremony and a few performances. We quickly lapped around the room, looking for people on our list to photograph. Only problem was that we had no idea who was who! We had a seating chart where we were able to pinpoint which tables held our VIPs, but no real way of determining who they were. My method was to try and guess, and if it wasn’t obvious then I’d snap shots of everyone and quickly move on. All of my shots here were horrible because I had to use direct flash without any sort of modifier or diffuser. So bad! I’ve been meaning to get one of these things, I just haven’t decided which yet.
Luckily I had a much better time photographing people on stage. I snagged a prime spot right in front of the stage, to the left of the podium and right in front of the performers. I didn’t even need to use a flash, which made me happy. I always prefer to use natural/ambient light whenever possible. We snapped all the speakers and award recipients, then got to see some amazing African dancers and a band perform. Very entertaining.
In-between speakers, performers, and VIP captures, we were able to sample a bit of the gourmet meal. I had the fanciest looking salad I’ve ever seen, along with other unidentifiable albeit delicious foods.
By the end of the night I was exhausted yet energized, which is how I typically feel after a day with my camera. It’s such a satisfying feeling, which I think is how I know that this is what I’m meant to do with my life.