The Calculus of a Yimps Photoshoot

Have you ever participated in a fashion photoshoot?

In my opinion, it is a life experience not to be missed. It’s a bit like the front end of a complicated equation. Most people will only ever see the back half, the half with the finished product. They’ll never know the variables, substitutions, algorithms, probabilities, and derivatives required to arrive at an acceptable conclusion.

It’s tough math, a Yimps photoshoot.

Tough math, with lots of beautiful people in swimsuits and Yimps looking amazing.

This weekend we produced our first photoshoot of 2015 - a private pool party scene. It reminded me of our first ever photoshoot back in 2010 - also a pool party. Back on that day, July 9 2010, we did the whole shoot at one location: a private residence in an upscale Orange County neighborhood.

I’ll never forget that day. I was propmaster, creative director, wardrobe/stylist, and model coordinator. Johnny Beutler, one of the absolute best active wear photographers around, brought his gear & crew and performed photography duties for the day. Hiring him was easily the best decision I made for that shoot...having a true pro behind the lens resulted in images that we still use to this day.

Before that shoot, it all seemed so easy to me. Get beautiful people and take pictures of them looking cool. Very straightforward.

But in the immortal words of Yeats, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...”

And so it is with shoots. Models cancel. Scheduling mixups occur. Weather patterns change. Wardrobes malfunction.

So there we were, on Friday July 9th, with four male models and only two females (one of whom literally signed up for the shoot that same morning), wrong wardrobe sizes for half the guys, a pile of unassembled props, and time ticking away on precious sunlight. All these variables doing exactly what they’re supposed to do...varying.

With some vision, creativity, and guts, we made it work and got some stunning shots. We were hungry and tired, but we had a stack of fantastic proofs.

Fast forward to this weekend. Almost five years later...are we any better at this?

I think so.

Variables still vary. Things still fall apart. And a February pool party should have been by all calculations a disastrous affair.

But the glory of short shorts broke through the winter clouds like a lazerbeam of hope and triumph, and the months of preparation yielded what has been, in my estimation, the most prolific Yimps photoshoot we’ve ever had.

The only tragedy of this shoot will be the amount of incredible content left on the cutting room floor. We are simply overwhelmed with the proofs. They are so good. Our models were perfect. The women were gorgeous, the men brought energy, and the chemistry was organic.

As soon as the shoot was finished, the weather turned bad. It literally started raining about five hours after we were done. And the temperature dropped at least 15 degrees. It was as if some divine entity WANTED the weather to be good for the Yimps photoshoot. If there’s a god in heaven, I think I know what brand of shorts he’s wearing.

All blasphemy aside, it really is quite a thing to finish a shoot. And of course, at the end of a very long day, you take your first look at the proofs and say to yourself, “Time to get to work.”

Post production on photos is incredibly fun. This is the shiny glittery part of the equation, where you churn out finished products. The vision is realized; the razzle dazzles. But for me, the satisfaction remains on that left side of things, the side where you have to show your work to get credit.

March 03, 2015 by Matt Riley
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