The photographer wanted to interview her over the phone before she offered her the job.
She phoned her and it became apparent right away that in order for her to get the job, she was going to need to do a lot of listening, and not a lot of talking, even though at the beginning of the conversation the photographer mentioned that she might like to hear her shpeel. She never gave the shpeel, just let the lady talk.
Thanks to the conversation she knew she was in for a unique experience on set that day. She was pretty sure the photographer had little intention of actually inviting her on the set, merely wanted her there to keep tabs on the talent: a large family of non-models, (who were amazing by the way) who had never been in a professional setting.
The photographer introduced her has “their person”, and explained that if they needed anything, they were to come to her. After the photographer left, she welcomed them with a smile and got them settled in their spot, and started to chat them up. The 8-year-old girl was extra shy, so she tried to find topics that would interest her. She let the family know that they needed to mentally prepare for a long day, be prepared to hurry up and wait, change clothes if needed, sit and be tested for lighting, where the bathroom was, encouraged snacking (but not in wardrobe) and tried to give them information that 8 years of experience had taught her, etc. etc.
After a little while, the photographer asked her to come over to the side because she needed to speak to her about her baby son who would be thrown into some of the shots later in the day. She walked away with her and then the photographer asked her why she was talking to the family, as if that was the absolutely wrong approach to her job for that day (talent wrangler). She smiled and replied: “I’m building trust.” Insert look from photographer. “These people have never done this before, I am giving them the lay of the land, and the little girl is completely clamming up, so I am trying to get to know her so that she trusts me and will open up and then open up for the camera.” The photographer kinda shrugged and went on to the next thing.
When it was time for her baby son to be on set, she seemed to think that he needed her breasts. She observed that the photographer mother would whip out the sisters with the slightest hint of her almost-a-year-old son moving his body into a more horizontal position. She watched the baby latch on for barely a sip and then get interested in something else. She thought it was a bizarre dynamic that made little sense. When it was time for the baby’s shots, she barely gave him or anyone a chance to settle into the scene. She called upon her to come in and help and she did the best she could…the photographer took a toy from her hand and gave it to the baby, in which she asked: “Are you sure?” (thinking, if you give a baby a toy and then take it away because it can’t be in the shot, the baby will cry…baby NEVER gets a toy/prop unless it can be in the shot), and she snipped: “Yeah, I’m sure.”
When she was invited to interact with the baby for a shot, the photographer yelled at her anytime she put her hand in the frame. One of her techniques for babies is to touch the baby to get it’s attention, and jump out of frame. It’s highly effective. She found it quite difficult to get the baby’s attention without engaging him in touch. A few times the photographer barked at her to get away or go away and the final straw was when she physically pushed her out of the way. Keep in mind, she had also been ordered to help in each of these instances as well.
When she was pushed out of the way, she got her feelings hurt. She felt completely defeated, rejected and like she had been schooled. Later on the only way she could get the baby to engage in the scene was if the family was singing, and of course that was her idea, not the photographers. She left the set dreading the next day, the producer told her to take her money, run, and not think about it. She just appreciates a little respect you know? Needless to say, she will never work with that photographer again.