Thursday, 18 June 2009

You know the 6 Ps make sense

According to one variation of the old 'Six P' adage, "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance". One job, a few days ago, was a case in point - and stands as a lesson in both the positive and negative outcomes of heeding this advice... or not.

OK, so I had an assignment up in London, for which I was given about 4 days' notice. Nothing unusual there - people often leave it far later than that, and I am more than happy to fit them in if I have the availability. With a number of calls/emails/texts exchanged, everything was confirmed and I knew I had to be on site for a 9am start. Which meant skipping a networking meeting but still being up at a considerably-less-than-favourable hour.

Lesson 1: If an event/meeting/job has taken considerable effort to come to fruition, don't waste everybody's hard work by messing up on the travel arrangements. I always allow plenty of time for my journeys and on this occasion it was just as well; due to tube strikes (and therefore more people choosing to drive into work) on that day, what should have been a 1.5-hour drive actually took an additional 45 minutes. I arrived at 8:45, so no panic and no worries.

Once in the building, I had a short wait for my contact to arrive, before being led back outside to do some exterior shots. After that, it was back inside to set up and do a few general shots at the first location whilst we waited for our (non-professional) models to turn up. Give them their due, they all arrived dead on time, at 10am. However...

Lesson 2: Please, please,
please - if you are wanting your staff/colleagues/students/associates/friends/neighbours to stand in as subjects for your pictures... ASK THEM BEFORE THE SHOOT! Long story cut short, there were around 8 people expected to assume the role, and not one of them would agree to being photographed. In fact, so I gather (it was decided that the client would 'negotiate'), some of them were demanding payment for their 'modelling services' and were even less willing when the reply was a resounding 'no'!

Having wasted valuable time waiting for a decision, we eventually got around this considerable oversight by having a number of staff change out of their uniforms and into their everyday clothes. Not ideal, but this was the only option short of coming back to finish off the shoot another day.

Of course, the general public observing the resulting pictures will be none-the-wiser. But that's not the point. The fact remains that the whole shoot was jeopardised by the actions of one or two people, very nearly wasting both my time and theirs. Whilst I appreciate these things can and do happen, in these tough economic times, I would encourage everybody to ensure they have everything in place ahead of the agreed day/time; not just with regard to photography shoots, but in the general day-to-day running of their operations.

Failing to do so just might cost you considerably more than your time.

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