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Anecdotes: Prince Tennis

Let The Games Begin

I’ve been a professional photographer for almost fifty years, and the number of anecdotes and stories I’ve encountered along the way still pop into my head at one time or another. Since I teach an online class with the BPSOP I’m constantly going through my files looking for photos to show to my students for any number of reasons; mostly to show an alternative way of looking at similar subjects or ideas.

Sharing a glass of wine or a martini while talking to some of my fellow photographers that take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops planet will usually unleash a story or two.

There’s been enough time pass by so that the bad experiences have mostly melted into any lasting memory I might have had since so many years have passed. The funny memories and anecdotes will hopefully always remain in my mind, no matter how much time goes by.

I was shooting a series of posters, centered around a tennis court, for Prince Tennis rackets that appeared in pro shops  around the country. The campaign’s slogan was let the games begin, and it referred to the fact that people would do anything to play tennis, even shovel snow off the court. I was to produce four different posters, all at one time which made it logistically difficult since one of them had to look like it was shot in Winter while the others had more of a Spring and Summer backdrop.

Since the time of year was during the Winter months, a decision was finally made to shoot three of them in Santa Barbara, California while one of them needed a location somewhere in the North where we could find some snow; easier said than done…why?

I had hired a location scout around the Santa Barbara area to find just the right court. A court that would get either very early sun or one that would be a good place at sunset; to obviously get the best (golden hour) light. I was also suppose to send a scout up north to find the same thing. This is where a serious dilemma would play a big part.

Even if the location scout were to find a snow covered tennis court, by the time my crew and the people on the agency side arrived, there was no guarantee that the snow would still be there; and a lot of money would have been wasted. Having thought through that, I came up with an idea. Since the other posters were to be shot in Santa Barbara, why not just cover a local tennis court with snow? It would cost about the same as everyone flying up to who knows where and maybe not getting the shot.

The agency account executive, wearing a blue t-shirt and his head down, was just told about the additional $4500.

Well we had good intentions, but as my mother use to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. The client had approved $4500 for enough shaved ice to cover the courts, but the day of the shoot turned out to be a record breaker and the temperature climbed to ninety degrees when we started laying out the ice; $4500 turned into $9000 and by that time we were committed.

The account executive on the account was freaked out when we told him what was happening, the client took it pretty good…why?

He was pre-occupied and had something else entirely on his mind. Right before I climbed into the giant crane so I could shoot straight down, he came up, pulled me aside, and asked me for a big favor.

He said he would make her a star

He asked me if I would take a quick picture of this blonde he had met the night before in a bathing suit. It seems that he had met her in a bar and promised her stardom in exchange for…your guess is as good as mine!!!

Since he was willing to pay the extra $4500, it was the least I could do…I took one for the team…literally.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my upcoming workshops at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime…I got a million stories.

Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmal.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.


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