(Vanelli’s note: Michèle Grenier, a talented sports photographer based out of Quebec City, Canada, needed 75 hours of mentoring before she could complete her degree in photography. After meeting her at Photoshop World a year earlier, she called to ask me if I could be her mentor—I’m based out of the East Coast of Florida. Honored, I said yes and, when she arrived, we dove into a 13-hour day of learning and shooting. To help reinforce her learning, I asked her to gather her thoughts and write a few “How I Got the Shot:” articles. Here’s what she has to say:)

Michèle’s story

You know this old adage “What you seek, you find”? This morning, Vanelli showed me a concrete example of that meaning. How can you turn a friendly conversation into a potential money-generating project? You are a few lines away from discovering it!

Share your excitement about a project

We met portrait photographer J.D. Mazza. We talked about an upcoming photo shoot. As the discussion went on, Vanelli talked about creating rain for photo session he planned to do later this week. He said he’s already done it outside, but was looking for a solution that would allow him to shoot in his studio. 

JD joined in by telling us he had worked on Hollywood sets. JD shared a few tips and they came up with a killer concept: a versatile three-purpose set. A simple handmade open-topped four by eight foot box eight inches deep. When lined with plastic sheeting it serves as a pool—for indoor or outdoor water shooting. Remove the plastic then turn it upside down. It becomes a stage. Stand it up, voila! it’s a wall. Vanelli suggested making an eBook that tells how to make the set piece. It could become available to anyone who’d be interested in building on their own. How clever!

Recognize opportunities

A simple idea and a casual conversation—that’s all it took to bring to life a very promising collaboration. I realized that I should always be open to new collaborations and new opportunities. As Thomas  Edison once said: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.” From that moment, I decided to make sure I keep my eyes and my ears open!