The Shot I Love: The Photo That Went Viral

Fashion Photographer

Commercial Fashion Photo Shoot, copyright Mark Stout

When this photo was released, it immediately went viral and it did so with the right people.  It is the photo that we almost didn’t take, and in the story behind it is something I firmly believe:  Trust your instincts.

We planned this shoot to be exactly the feel and style you see in the finished images, however nature had other ideas.

On the day of the shoot, the sunny and warm forecast which we should have had in the spring/summer month it was taken turned unexpectedly to overcast and snow. We contemplated postponing the shoot, or moving it indoors to the studio. Then Chace Johnson, the model in the shoot, commented that he just had a “feeling” that if we did it as planned, something really good will come out of it.  I instantly knew he was right.

We took a vote with the crew and decided to use the adverse weather to our advantage. We modified the location slightly so we could keep the gear dry and use the bleak snowy city background to our advantage. Then just as we were at the point we HAD to wrap up the shoot so Chace could make it to another rengagement, the weather broke, the light changed, and I looked over and saw the perfect shot.

I said “One more shot.” He agreed. The crew quickly moved everything into position and I fired off about 30 frames, with Chace giving me a new pose for each, said that’s a wrap, and we packed up.

I knew we had it. So did everyone else.

The black and white version was put on my blog and I linked the post to Twitter and Facebook and something happened I have never seen occur before. It went viral, but it went viral with the art directors at major ad agencies and fashion designers rather than the general public.

I couldn’t keep up with what was happening. It was favorited, retweeted and rebroadcast on Twitter by the likes of Perry Ellis, Armani and about a dozen other major fashion designers.  It was  picked up and run in several online magazines, getting more likes and shares Facebook than I could count … and in the span of a week, I had and additional 750 art directors from major ad agencies and fashion designers send me Facebook friend requests.

While the creative and technical aspects of this shot are the same as I do on any shoot, this image is the result of something special. Trusting your gut feeling.  Taking what it working against you and making it work for you.   Usually I am the one who sees the opportunity, the way to make it work when others are ready to pack it in and regroup.  This wasn’t one of those times.  I was ready to move it into the studio.  But the instant I heard Chace say, “I think if we do what we planned something really good will happen. It’s just a feeling…” I knew he was right.

Intuition is something I have learned to trust. You plan, prepare and do everything possible to guarantee a successful shoot.  But sometimes in the end you just have to trust your intuition.  Had we not done so, this highly successful shot would have not occurred.

fashion photographer

Copyright 2015 Mark Stout

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