Photography. The process of managing light to capture the image you want. We love it. Every day we shoot pictures, we learn something new. A new tip, a new trick or a new angle we haven't shot before. Here at 10twelve, we are constantly using photography as inspiration and as a tool to tell stories.
“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.” –Ansel Adams
Every famous photographer defined themselves by something unique. It could be the lighting they chose, the angles they shot, the composition of their subjects or simply their quality of work. Regardless of what made them famous, there is a process behind the scenes that makes a photo shoot successful. Here are some of the main points to cover when planning a shoot.
Location matters. Indoor or outdoor, it will affect the styling of the shoot, the attitude of the photographer, the models, the help and everyone involved. Choose a location that sets the tone and makes the shoot interesting. Think about lighting, composition, background subjects, ability to get various horizontal angles and vertical angles. Find out where natural shadows and light will fall dependent on the time of day. You may have the perfect location but the best natural light may only occur during a small window of time each day. Keep in mind travel time for all parties involved to help the scheduling process. Also ensure there are no permissions required to shoot in your desired area.
Talent also plays a huge part in your shoot. Does the shoot require models? Are you using a modeling agency? Are you recruiting from Craigslist? How experienced are they? Have they done the type or style of products you are shooting before? Does their attitude or style fit with your location? Ask questions, interview your model. When working with an agency they will have a process for any necessary paperwork and waivers that likely cover themselves and you. Double check. Make sure you find their triggers to react for a smile, or whatever you may be going for. The talent-photographer relationship is important to the photo shoot.
Planning. We cannot say it enough. Be prepared. Time is money and what eats up money is wasted time. Once you have your location and your talent, prepare your product. Whether it’s clothing, cars or technology products, take your inventory and make a plan for shooting your pictures. If you need to consider prevention of damage to products, say the bottom of shoes, bring tools to do that. Maybe some clear packing tape or a mat to walk on. When shooting with models, hair and make-up are often part of the process. Make sure you allow this prep time and have a look in mind to provide creative direction to your stylists. If the model needs to bring any specific undergarments, clothing or accessories with them, ensure to communicate that. Being organized and having an inventory of images needed will help your session go smooth and help keep your budget in line.
Without lighting, there is no photography. Ensure you have the proper gear based on your location, products and subject. Does your gear require a power source? Do you need batteries? Do you need stands or mounts for flashes or light boxes? You may need to plan for extra hands to hold diffusers or other off-camera equipment. Just as you test and review your camera you should test and review your lighting equipment prior to a shoot. Make sure everything works as expected for the environment or subject you will be shooting. You should also review natural lighting options as discussed above in location scouting. Natural lighting is your friend if used correctly and can make all the difference in the final product.
Actual Photo Shoot:
Take a deep breath and focus on having fun. Whether it may be in or out of your studio, bring some snacks and waters for everyone involved. This small gesture will let the team you are working with know you care and instantly build appreciation. Brief your team on the plan, set a schedule and start shooting. Enjoy getting to know the team you just built. More than likely, you will see them again and be sending each other work.
Understanding the client’s goals and requirements is key to a successful shoot. Thorough communication with the client during the planning phase will avoid confusion on the day of shooting. What style is the client looking for? What medium will the photos be showcased on? Do specific products or features need to be highlighted? Is there an overall theme for marketing purposes? All of these questions are important to review with the client up front to help avoid surprises.
If you have successfully planned and executed a shoot you will have a solid base to begin editing your photos to provide your client with stunning and captivating images. Using your photo editing software of choice, organize and sort the pictures based on the client’s requirements. This may be by subject, product, color, model, etc. Once you have grouped your images accordingly pick the best, sort out the blurry, out of focus, poorly lit, and generally unacceptable photos. Balance the temperature across your images and correct for over or underexposure to provide a fluid look across your pictures. Now is the time for any touch ups if needed. Once you have the look and style you are going for export the images at their highest quality for client review.
These are a few key elements we have learned over the years. We hope they help you in your work. Stay tuned for our coming series regarding various categories of photography such as fashion, motorsports, technology and others.