In May, I volunteered at the San Francisco Portfolio Night. Portfolio Night is an around-the-world event that matches graduating art directors with established art directors. I volunteered to help because I thought I might be able to hook up with some budding art directors who need some of their ideas photographed.
I did in fact hook up with some. Cliff Seto is the first one that I've worked with. Cliff had an idea about shooting messes as crime scenes to advertise vacuum cleaners. We pulled this production off in a couple days - Cliff was in a hurry to get his portfolio finished so he could graduate, and I was in NYC when we started talking about it. I got a friend to loan me his house, stopped by my local pet groomer to pull dog hair from their vacuum cleaner, and Cliff got a plant. Darcy Rogers via NAOPA volunteered to assist and was super helpful.
I think the three of us got these pictures to about 90%. We really needed a stylist to go all the way, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to secure one, due to the compressed timeline (and styling budget of zero).
It was easier and harder than working without an art director. On the one hand, I had to interpret what Cliff was going for; on the other, in those moments when things stopped flowing, I could look to him for some guidance. Happily, Cliff is a good communicator, and I've learned some things to help that along (eg, asking for photographic examples, offering quick sketches).
The whole thing was a good experience - I like working on other peoples ideas. Next week I'll start shooting something with another art director from Portfolio Night.