Maybe it was the glossy pages of magazines that got you the idea, or maybe it’s just
that you’re having this creative itch to create something tres chic, but either way
everyone in the world is getting more familiar with a fashionable shoot (hello,
Instagram’s #ootd). But no, it’s not a photo shoot.
By grabbing a couple of stylish friends and an expensive camera won’t make you the
next Steven Meisel. From my personal story, being a photographer for 4+ years
made me learned a lot from my team, the creatives on set from fellow
photographers, to stylists, models, and make-up artists. So, I thought about creating
a guide on how-to produce a fashion shoot like a pro, formed on top of my years of
trials, tribulations, and experiences.
Like Chuck Palahniuk said, “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of
everyone I've ever known.” Nowadays, if somebody said to you that there’s no
such thing as originality anymore, I’m afraid that might be true. But fear not, the first
idea might not be ‘authentic’, and it’s okay. Develop that idea of yours with great
references and mood boards. Get inspirations from music, movies, books,
traveling….it could be anything. Because to create beautiful images, it involves a lot
of ground work before a shoot takes place. These references will establish the mood
and creative direction. From there, it’s so much easier to plan and arrange the
location and props for the shoot.
The ultimate squad goal for photo shoot is when you succeed on getting all the
creatives’ visions to sit on the same page. It’s important to create a sense of team at
the start, by communicating the desired end result and what is required for each
team member. A solid team of creatives that gel well together. On this pre-production
process, you also want everyone to be proactive, putting creative input because in
the end it’s all about teamwork.
The It Face
A fashion shoot is never complete without the right model. In this world, she (or he)
doesn’t have to be pretty. They just have to have the it factor to rock the shoot’s
concept. Get to know the model first beforehand. A moment of chat to tell the idea of
the shoot is gonna make the model easier to direct. She or he also need to be
comfortable with you on set. I often create different sound tracks on every shoot so it
helps the model get into the character.
Whether it’s studio or on location, it’s essential to prepare everything beforehand in
order to create a warm and inviting space for creativity. On a studio shoot, the
physical space has to be a positive working environment. It’s not that hard to find
one as there’s a lot of spaces out there available for hire. Location shoots are more
tricky, I would say. Always double-check if you need to book access and permission
to shoot there. This can be arranged by paying a visit in advance to discuss the
location permit. The last thing you want to happen is when a security guard ruined
your shoot and told you to get out. Eeek!
Styling and Beauty
Although these works might be done by the stylist and make-up artist on set, it’s
important to get everyone on the same vision and mood. I personally think this
aspect put a great amount on the work’s end result. After all, it’s fashion photography
and the photo will be yours, so you want to make sure that every element counts.
Last but not least, don’t forget to bring your sense of humour on set.