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DeMato Productions visits the Maury Show...

Isn't it something that the photographer who coaches his clients to a place of comfortability and confidence in front of the camera on a daily basis devolves into a wrecking ball of nerves himself when staring down the barrel of a lens?  

Oh, the sweet irony...

But that's exactly what happened to me, recently.


I was contacted by my friends at Maury to come in and shoot portraits of their makeover guests after they've been given their transformation.  These images were to be used to replace the guests' current social media images.  

Now, this was my 4th time shooting for the show, so, having a camera recording me photographing the guests was old hat.  I had that part in the bag!  However, my excitement quickly turned into a fright fest the moment I was told that they wanted me to sit in the audience, wear a microphone, and answer a question from Maury about photography.

WHAT????????

In the interests of full disclosure, I wanted no part of that deal.  The idea that I would be in the studio with hundreds of audience members listening to me talk on camera was not my idea of a good time.  After all, I always believed that I belonged behind the camera.

Once I got off the phone with the Maury people, that's when I started coaching myself to step up and stop the BS.  

While the negative, oh-jees-people-will-be-staring-and-judging-you thoughts were racing about my mind, I also picked apart that irrational line of thinking, realizing that no one in that studio wants to see me fail, and that this moment should not be looked at with a doom and gloom lens, but rather, it's a great opportunity to spread the word about me and my business, and give people a glimpse at the value that I provide with my camera.  

I was booked for the show on a Monday.  That positive, self-talk got me through to the dayof the show taping, which was that Thursday.  Thursday morning, the anxiety monster reared it's ugly head once more and I needed all the support I can get!

Fortunately, I had a fairly large cheering section to help me not freak out.

One of the benefits of working with the Maury show is that I used to work on staff as a Field Producer for 9 years, so, it's always like going home when I work there.  While I was setting up my lights backstage, nervously talking to myself and looking like a freaked out HS senior waiting to ask his secret crush to the prom, everyone who stopped by to say hello was nothing but excited for me.  Those good luck wishes and support really helped me get out of my head a bit and back into the moment, which was important since I had to shoot 4 people in a relatively short amount of time.  

After I finished setting up, the video camera started rolling, and we zipped through the 4 portrait sessions.

Next stop — the Maury studio...oh jees!

I was told what question Maury was going to ask me, so, I began to maniacally put together an answer in my head...


...Off-topic, but, in all the years that I've worked on the show, I never sat in the audience during a taping.  I decided to commemorate this moment with a selfie:


Once the cameras started shooting, I spent the next 25 minutes feverishly thinking in my head about the answer.  Sure, I was clapping along with the rest of the audience, smiling, and I especially enjoyed seeing the positive reaction from the guests' family members as they saw their pictures,  but, running the answer in my mind was going on the entire time.  

And, of course, when the moment of truth came when Maury introduced me to the audience, I blanked and ended up freestyling the words as they were coming out of my mouth.  

Below is the result:

All in all, it was a great experience, not only because I was forced out of my comfort zone and took care of business, but mostly because the guests were very happy with their new pictures — that always puts a smile on my face, :)

I think it's very important to practice what I preach, and, if I expect my clients to come out of their shells, leave their fears at the door and be authentic for the camera, why wouldn't I hold myself up to that same standard?  Yes, it's uncomfortable, and yes, it's nerve wracking, but, in the end, it's important to feel the fear and do it anyway.  

That's what growth is all about.