So, I was on a big shoot recently and had set up an on-location shot with some gorgeous scenery in the background. Zero wind, gorgeous Spring day.
I set the light up with a softbox (d'oh--a sail, naturally) and we were running to get a sunset shot in, so I thought, "Just leave it and sandbag it after you grab your people" and walked away. On the way back to the setup, walking up a curving driveway, I looked for my light and didn't see it. My stomach dropped.
I ran out ahead of the clients and sure enough, my light had fallen over BACKWARDS onto a decently busy road. I'm amazed no cars hit it in the 2 or so minutes that we gathered everyone. I managed to beat everybody there, pick it up, and have a full blown panic attack in the 30 seconds it took for everyone else to get there.
Thoughts: I'm a professional! I know what I'm doing! Why didn't I sandbag this! My sandbags leak! Why do they leak?! Why was I worried about sand leaking when we're outside? Does it mean I'm not a professional that my sandbags leak! I'm a professional, dammit! This doesn't happen to professionals! I'm definitely not a professional. Hello, Imposter Syndrome, my old friend.
People get in a hurry, and make mistakes. Even Annie God-Dang Leibovitz makes mistakes. Well, her assistants do (why get your hands dirty?), then she goes bankrupt. But I digress.
I went to test the light and despite a couple plastic fittings flying off into the sweet hereafter, it worked!
We got the shots, then I quietly panicked the rest of the night wondering if I'd be able to fix it. Not sandbagging this light was about a $600 mistake on lights that they don't make anymore and I can't afford at this moment to replace. Duly noted.
On to the surgery!
Robert, my darling, patient, engineer-brained fiancee helped me put it back together again.
The moral of this story is: slow the hell down. Don't get in a hurry and don't forget your g-d sandbags!! Nobody will be irritated when you spend 1 minute making sure the lights don't fall on them or fall and break and thus render the shoot a bit silly.
It also helps to have a supportive significant other or friend who has an entire woodshop and knowledge of their tools and who will calm you as you panic and pace.
Thanks for reading & don't let the bastards get you down.