One of the best things about being a portrait photographer is meeting people. However, unlike meeting people casually in a social environment, meeting a model moments before a photo shoot can bring angst for both the model and the photographer. Models may feel a bit awkward at first about being photographed, and photographers feel the inner pressure that comes with desperately needing to get “the shot” that somehow (falsely) validates his/her existence as a photographer.
A few days ago I had the great opportunity to meet and photograph Pete Habib. When Pete arrived for the shoot, he was all smiles. I noticed there was a calm, confident demeanor about him. This was a good sign! Because we had not previously met, we spent a few minutes talking and then started going over objectives for the shoot. Pete was really easy going and seemed quite relaxed. I knew we were going to have a great shoot! No matter what the environment, I love photographing people, but when a model is as relaxed and personable as Pete, it just makes everything so much easier and a lot more fun.
My wife and a few friends (Becky & Lauren) were there to help with the shoot. Pete’s lovely girlfriend (Pauline) was there too. For the next several hours we collaborated, bouncing ideas back and forth. All the while, Pete accommodated our every request. He graciously agreed to every pose and prop we suggested. Pete’s sense of humor and good nature made the shoot a total success. It was one of the most productive (and fun) shoots I’ve done in quite a while.
Pete is a great guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him a bit. At 23, he has already achieved a great deal in life. Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Pete studied overseas (Glasgow, Scotland) for a while and then returned to Los Angeles. He recently graduated from UCLA with a degree in Comparative Literature (with a double minor in French and Russian Literature). Pete has also traveled a bit. So far, he’s been to Paris, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, England and France. I learned that Pete is passionate about music. He’s quite accomplished on the guitar and the piano. In fact, I discovered that Pete and a few of his friends are currently working on a heavy metal album! When I asked Pete what in life was important to him, he said people and relationships are the most important things. He believes it’s important for us to individually appreciate the fundamental value in all people. For such a young guy, Pete sure has a lot of wisdom to offer the world.
After the photo shoot was over, my wife and I returned home. That night, I began the process of sorting through the 200+ images we had captured. In reflecting on the day, not only did I get to spend the afternoon with some great people completely immersed in photography, but I also had the pleasure of making a new friend. Life is good!