I always wondered what it would have been like living during the Woodstock days, so when an acquaintance of mine reached out to work on this editorial for a “boho” concept, I picture headpieces, crochet, with that carefree hair length. It took us a good month or two to cast the right model, scout for location, and put a story-board together to do it just right. We call this the Bohemian Wanderlust, inspired by the whimsical and carefree spirit of bohemians that share their love and peace.
Despite what people think, it isn’t just the model doing the work, the people behind the set like the stylist, make-up artist, lighting specialist that also come into play in creating the story behind the picture.
We only think about what is seen in the photos, and never the work that goes on behind it. There is a whole process behind producing an image. You asked just what goes on behind a shoot, so I answered;
Research for inspiration – get inspiration from movies, books and magazines. Tear them out (known as a tear sheet in the industry) and create a mood board. This enables you to have a visual idea of what you’re trying to achieve.
Location, location, location – choosing a location is an important part of the shoot. Helpful tips when choosing a location include: 1. Do you need permission to shoot there? 2. Can you access it at the right time of the day? 3. Are there changing facilities for models and prep rooms? 4. Will members of the public likely get in the way? As a photographer and blogger my eyes are constantly on the look out for a new and interesting location. Never stop looking is my advice to you.
Styling – styling isn’t just about the clothes, but also refers to hair and makeup. All very, very important to your shoot. Hair and makeup stylist/artists can be found in various art colleges if you don’t want to pay for one. There are also budding stylists and artists who need to work on their own portfolios.
Sourcing models – This brings me onto an important subject. All models, photographers, stylists and make up artists starting out need to develop a portfolio or book for themselves. It’s this common goal that binds everyone together in a symbiotic type of way. You’ll often find everyone involved working on what’s known as a TFP basis. Back when almost all of us were using film, the term TFP stands for “TIME FOR PRINT”. A photographer and model would not charge each other for their services. Instead, after the shoot, the model would receive a selection of prints from the photographer and they’d both end up in a win, win situation. Both now having images for their portfolio without money crossing hands.
The shoot itself – On the day of the shoot it’s highly unprofessional for anyone to be late. In this business there are very few second chances, so whether it’s for a casting or a shoot, never be late! What normally happens first is hair and makeup. A word of warning, if done properly, this can take anything between 1½ to 2 hours before you start shooting, so factor this into your schedule. The good thing is it gives you as the photographer time to set yourself up and discuss any last minute ideas with your team. When you’re ready to shoot, it’s helpful to have tear sheets handy to refer back to. This helps the model with poses and creating the correct mood. I am always energetic on a shoot. Your passion and love for what you’re doing should come out automatically, so creating energy shouldn’t be a problem. Other ways of doing this is having some appropriate music in the background to get everyone energised!
Post editing – This may be something people don’t really think about. Doing the actual shoot itself is only half the job done. Afterwards it’s imperative that you download, save and back up your images! If you’re at the point when you’re working for a client, the last thing you want is “no images!” Once saved, catalog them in an easy place to find. Sounds simple, but a lot of people don’t do this. After this, we use software referred to as the “digital dark room” This is where we can enhance colours, crop and sharpen images. We can remove blemishes on the skin if needed and also use software to create artwork, add text and create effects to your photos. The most commonly used and very professional software is Adobe Photoshop©. Again, having a sound knowledge to get the best out of your images during post editing is beneficial to you as a photographer. Post editing is an important and necessary part of your job and will make you more saleable to your clients if you have good skills.
Anyways, who knew that 10 minutes away from the bustling Toronto skyline, there was this dreamy area by Ashbridges Bay?! Our model was a trooper climbing and mounting on trees just so that we can get that perfect shot. This is exactly why I always keep my eyes opened for awesome locations.
Thanks for reading!