Most clients initially hire a photographer because they like their style, creativity or reputation. If you want the client to hire you again, you need to listen to what they want so, by the end of the project, you can give them what they need. To illustrate my point, follow along with this short story about how my friend Anthony Neste Sports Illustrated photographer and an on-set photographer for HBO shows used this philosophy to capture an image that landed on the cover of Life Magazines Century of Change America in Pictures 19002000!

The Story Behind the Photo

I met up with Anthony Neste to record a Story from the Set a new video interview series Im working on. Anthony has lots of stories to share with valuable lessons. As we were preparing for the interview, I saw a photo he took of the late James Gandolfini the actor who brought the Tony Soprano character to life. Anthony smiled at the famous photo and said the shot was never planned. After finishing on set, he and Gandolfini walked by a pool as they were leaving. Anthony asked Gandolfini to jump in the cold water for a quick shot. Gandolfini laughed, thinking his friend was crazy, but followed along. Anthony had him pose with a cigar and ripped a few quick shots. This was back in the film days, so the two had no idea how the photo turned out. Anthony submitted the film for developing and forgot about the shot. The photo later made its way to the cover of Life Magazines Century of Change America in Pictures 19002000.

The Story Behind the Story

Let me point a few things out. When Anthony showed up on set, he was handed a script with a shot list. This list instructs the photographer on the photos they MUST take. In our story, the pool shot wasn’t required and was taken after completing the shot list. Anthony took the initiative to include photos he thought the art director would want without disrupting the set or causing a delay in the next scene.

As photographers, our job is based on giving the client what they want. Our reputation is built on giving the client what they need.

*Feature image 2015 Anthony Neste