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 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 found out a few hours prior that John Krasinski would be at the McNally Jackson bookstore in Soho discussing his new movie “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men”. Not surprisingly, about 90% of the audience was college-aged girls (not that I helped the ratio at all, ha). I had a seat around the corner, with an obstructed view of him reading from the screenplay. Not only does he act in this movie, but he also helped write and direct it. And yes, he is every bit as fantastic as his character Jim Halpert on ‘The Office’, except perhaps a wee bit less nerdy/awkward. I love when you meet celebrities or see them speak and you can totally see them and their personality in the characters they play, and then it all fits together in your mind.
So he read, took some questions, and then signed books for the fans. I contemplated creeping forward during the reading and squatting down between the rows of seats, but instead I barged my way to the front as soon as he finished and snapped a few shots as he began the signing. I should really get paid for this, huh?
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.
At the conclusion of NYC Fashion Week, Williamsburg had its own Fashion Weekend at Secret Project Robot. I have minimal interest in fashion, yet somehow I found myself in attendance (what can I say, I’m a sucker for the Brooklyn underground arts scene). The crowd was saturated with hipsters; the clothes were nothing I’d ever be caught wearing. Despite sticking out like a sore thumb, I actually enjoyed the show because it was more of a performance than a runway strut. They actually DID things while modeling the clothes. I was thoroughly enjoying the night until people started smoking in the room. Isn’t that supposed to be taboo these days?