Sometimes a photography assignment gets you out of your comfort zone. And sometimes that's exactly what you need to push yourself creatively and professionally.
When Zach Miller of Ziller Reptiles asked me about photographing his designer ball pythons for his website, I jumped at the opportunity. He specializes in breeding and selling ball python and crested gecko mutations, and the reptiles he produces are truly beautiful.
However, if you know me, you know that I have a slight phobia of snakes. I didn't want to pass up the assignment as his collection of animals are gorgeous and unique. Zach assured me that he'd do all of the snake handling and that they were very tame and used to being handled. Along with my assistant Lauren (who isn't afraid of snakes), we met on an afternoon at his place to set up a makeshift macro studio for the shoot.
I'm pleased to report that everything went well! The pythons were easy to work with for me and I didn't get too worked up about being so close to a snake. All of them were very docile; you could tell that Zach works with them every day and that they are healthy and well cared for. With the exception of a few hisses that made me breathe a little heavy, I kept my cool, concentrated on my work, and got some incredible macro reptile shots.
Sometimes overcoming your fears and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the best thing to do creatively. With the images that resulted from this shoot, I'd have to say that it was a successful session, and I'm proud of myself for confronting my fear of snakes!
The moral of the story: don't let your fears or preconceived notions get in the way of doing or creating something really awesome.
To learn more about Zach Miller and his designer ball python strains, please visit the Ziller Reptiles website.
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