A Fashion Shoot in One Day...The Process

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by benjikan, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    A Fashion Shoot in One Day...The Process

    I would like to describe the process of photo shoots that are done for either a magazine or advertising and what happens in the process. In most cases the steps are similar for all productions whether it is me or any other photographer.

    I will commence from the point at which the whole team has been hired and are present at the studio for the commencement of the day. In all cases there will be a photographer, photographers assistant or more, sometimes up to three or four, a fashion stylist, the person who chose the clothing and accessories for the photo session, the stylists assistant, a set designer, if one was needed and their crew. In most cases they had built the set the day before, but there will be somewhere there in case of changes that need to be executed, a make-up artist and assistant, a hair stylist and assistant, the models or models, the fashion editor and frequently the digital retouching artist, especially if there are going to be elements photographed to be added later.

    In most cases the crew shows up at 09:00. There is always a breakfast waiting that usually includes juice, croissants, cinnamon buns,baguettes, butter, jam and tons and tons of coffee and tea.

    The hair and make up artists set up their material in the dressing room, while the fashion stylist and the assistant start to unpack the clothing and hang them on clothing racks. This also allows the fashion stylist to present the clothing to the photographer. As there are always a lot more clothing than will be photographed, choices are often made in the morning to determine when they will be shot and how they will work together in a layout. The steamer and ironing table are set up and the assistant starts to work on the clothing to remove any wrinkles. Retouching out wrinkles is a major pain and it is preferable that the clothing are as close to perfect before commencing the shoot. While the stylist is preparing the clothes, the proverbial messengers are arriving with accessories from the different designer houses. These are usually very expensive jewelry and often come accompanied with a security guard. I have on occasion had several security guards attend my shoots especially if the pieces are worth over 50 thousand dollars per item. It is for that reason, that it is more problematic to shoot on weekends, as it costs a lot more for the jewelry companies to hire security guards on the weekend. Through out the day messengers are coming in and out of the studio, delivering items and picking them up after they are shot.

    The hair stylist has already begun and usually starts before the make up artist. This is done to avoid possible smudging of the work that has been executed by the make up artist. The two of them discuss what they will be doing and then call in the photographer and the stylist to give us an over all view of what the model will look like. This is done to avoid any misunderstandings. Re-doing hair and make-up is a nightmare and will usually take another two hours of precious time.

    While the hair and make up artist, fashion stylist and assistant are in preparation, I am directing my assistants regarding the lighting I wish to employ, color of backdrop (if that is what I will be using) or the lighting being used for the set. For this shoot, let's say that I will be using large accessories for the set i.e. couch, large chair, bird cage etc. I ask my assistants to set up the four HMI 1.2 kilo cinema lights in their general position. I will make the micro changes I require for each shot with the model and the subsequent clothing changes. I now ask the assistant to set up the flash unit or units as well as their placement and the 1000 watt tungsten lamp I will also be using for this shoot. I go with one of the assistants and choose the background color I will employ, based on the color of the clothing I will use for that background.

    The assistants set up the seamless backdrop and I unroll my package of gelatins that I will use on my shoot and decide on which colors I will use for the given backdrop. I ask the assistant to place the color I requested on to the HMI cinema lights as well as a full blue gelatin affixed to the tungsten lamp. I have also instructed the assistants to place two large transparent plexiglass panels on to the floor for this shoot. They will cover around 9 square meters. Once the lights have been set up, I place one of the assistants in the position where the model will be standing and start to meter the different light sources. Once satisfied I take several images and view them on computer screen.

    It is now probably around 11:00 AM and the assistant assigned to ordering lunch convenes with the team to determine what we all want. Once the bickering ends and a decision is made the order is placed.

    I get called in to have a look at what has been done by the hair and make up artist and comments are made and some adjustments may occur at this time. Once all is well, the model gets prepared for her first image and the stylist assists the model in doing so.

    The model steps in to the set and a marker is place where she will be standing, sitting or laying down. The hair stylist adjusts the hair for the initial position. The fashion stylist is called to adjust the clothing to suit the position that the model will take from the onset. Adjustments will be made as the model changes positions. The make up artist waits for the first test shot to see how the make-up looks under this particular type of lighting. Adjustments are made to the make up if it does not render well under the conditions. The look of the make up changes dramatically from the dressing room make up lights to the lighting on the set.

    Once all of the necessary adjustments are made, everyone leaves the set except the model and I fire off another images. I look at it again and make any adjustment needed to get the effect I am looking for.

    I now instruct the model to assume a role based on the storyboard of the theme of the this shoot. I usually say, "...do what you feel is appropriate and I will do my best to capture that moment..." Once I feel I have captured the image I usually say "Got it!" and the model leaves the set for her next change. We repeat the process and usually after a couple of shots, we break for lunch, which lasts no more than 45 minutes. I prefer not to drinking any alcohol with my lunch, as it makes me want to break for a Nap..LOL.

    I will generally be able to do between 6 and 8 images in a day, if there are not a lot of extreme hair or make-up changes. If there are, I am lucky to get 4 off. Of these 6-8 images we can see around 8-12 pages, as some are double page spreads.

    Throughout the day, I will ask the assistants to change the backdrop color as well as the corresponding gelatin colors for my image. By around 19:00 to 20:00 the shoot is wrapped. The stylist start to pack the clothing, all of the accessories that were of value have already been picked up by the messenger services, the hair or wig is brought down and the make-up removed by the make-up artist. My camera gear and computer gets put away. Everyone says their good byes and ask to see the images once the post prod is completed. The editor has already given me the dead line for the post prod, so we know what the turn around time is.

    That is a short description of a day in the studio with a Fashion Photographer.

    Benjamin Kanarek Blog ยป A Fashion Shoot in One Day…The Process
     
  2. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    Sounds fun, but I was surprised when you said you get about 6-8 images in total for a WHOLE days shooting...
    I'm guessing your over cautious/know just when the image is right
    or you meant 6-8 images which get used for Production
    I'm guessing it is the latter as 8 images seems a low number for 11 hours shooting
     
  3. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    I meant 6-8 pages. I shoot off at least 4 Gig of images in a day.

    Ben :)
     
  4. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    We (me and my tog partner) also do fashion shoots here in our little town...
    Smaller population (20,000-odd) smaller number of fashion outlets, so smaller budget to work with... Outlet owner + comb + make-up + savvy replaces the dedicated hair stylist and assistant, make-up artist and assistant, and fashion advisor and assistant... Kettle available to make your own Coffee and tea but BYO Macca's, Hungry Jacks or Baker's Delight for Brekkie... (My 'personal assistant' - don't ask me what her job is between shots - but she provides 'inspiration' and helps to remove wrinkles... survives on watercress sangies [watercress and nutty bread from local Woolies] and is also a co-shooter...)
    We tend to take direction from the outlet owner as to what she wants... Being country-gals, they know what they want - and don't generally tolerate any artsy-fartsy suggestions from the likes of us..
    90ft sq sheets of plexiglass (in one piece) are not available here - not in Dimmy's, anyway - so we make do with 2nd-hand white-ish sheets from our local St Vinnie's... $1 each - not bad...
    So then the Models enter the set... Each a shining beauty in her own right, and the Fashion Clothes do not entirely do her physique justice... But, never mind... we tell the model to do whatever she feels is appropriate and we capture those images... But being Country-Girls, their poses are more suited to fornication than fashion... And throughout the day we change the lighting and the backdrop to suit the mood of the shoot... And by 5pm every-one on the set is shooting...
    Oh... Fashion-Shooting in the Country is so inspiring...
    Jedo
     
  5. shmne

    shmne No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Mmm this solidifies me wanting to get into fashion photography. Sounds like I need to up my chops quite a bit before even considering it though, I have my basics down but with only around 4 months of actual experience I have much to learn!

    It sounds like a long day, do you ever get tired of doing it? Do you have any creative privileges or do they art directors pretty much take over?
     
  6. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    Is this Q for ME..??
    Or Benjikan..??
    Jedo
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For a moment, I was like "6-9 images a day????" :lmao: Your correction, Benjikan, is more realistic. :)

    Shooting fashion for me is similar, but in way less time, way more dynamic and because I have less equipment around (I prefer to use scenic locations instead of backdrops), way more varied. In a "typical" 6 hour shoot, I will have taken a good 400-500 shots with a typical 3-5 models in about 10-20 different lighting and/or location changes. The models may go through 2-3 clothing changes and usually after the original MU session, have a couple touch ups in between. No shoot is ever the same, though. I do seem to prefer shoots that are in the 2-3 hour range, though. :)

    Believe it or not, my favorite ones are the ones that are done under the pressure of little to no time. Using a sunset, for example, may limit a particular kind of shoot to 2-3 models in about 5 minutes and 100-200 shots. When everything rolls like a well oiled machine, you just hear me talking fast, guiding the models, snapping away and have this HUGE smile on my face.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  9. shmne

    shmne No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Benjikan :)
     
  10. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you for the information. ;)
     
  11. Kcc

    Kcc TPF Noob!

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    Yes yes, thanks for sharing!
     
  12. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Great! It's not like you are telling us anything that we do not know already. The whole world knows how a high end fashion shoot goes down. I think even Lifetime Channel ran a reality series on it. What''s your point?

    Love & Bass
     

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