Asked..." How do you put a Fashion shoot together?"

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by benjikan, May 8, 2007.

  1. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    I really don't where to start...

    The team is always the following: A Fashion Stylist, Hair Stylist, Make-Up Artist, Model or 's, Phoographer and Assistant or 's....

    A stylist is the person that chooses the clothing, shoes and accessories. The stylist is briefed before the shoot by the photographer. This briefing is a think tank session that is intended to garner a "Theme" or "Story" that will be the thread running through the whole shoot. It is like writing a storyboard. Let's say we want to do a ten page fashion story with the theme being"My Day at the Laundromat" for example. The shoot will be about a girl who has a huge pile of clothes to wash and is spending the whole day in the place while people are coming in and out as she observes the procession. All "Good" fashion stories start with a theme, from simple to complex. Well these people i.e. models are dressed in specific "Brands" of clothing that should cover a range of designers or manufactures to give a reason for it being a "Fashion" story and not just a "Model Portfolio" Yach...Sorry. All fashion magazine expect at least a six page story with a theme. Now how are you going to choreograph all of this. You are going for a ten page story. Well it could be two double pages and six single pages or three double page spreads and four single pages. On the former example you will only have to shoot seven images that being three horizontal images and four vertical. That could be done in one day but two days would be preferable. Now you have to define each of the shots in the "Story" Perhaps the first opening page could just be a picture of the Laundromat empty and void of anything except the ugly fluorescent lights and the washers and dryers. That might be where the title would be. Lets call the story "Living in a Laundromat".

    The next shot could be the star of the show who might be wearing a "Miss Sixty" pair of red jeans an "H&M" blouse a pair of "Adidas" shoes and a "Victor and Rolf" Bag...Remember all magazine reason for existing is to catalogue what the designers are coming out with two to three months in advance of the product hitting the stores, so the stylist will have access to all of the press offices representing the designers showrooms. So let's continue. The next image is the introduction of the first couple or individuals coming in to do their laundry. They are perhaps passing dirty clothing to the one that is depositing the socks in to the washing machine. Perhaps it is being throw and caught etc. The story continues with different amusing vignettes and perhaps ends with a close up of the girl, still alone in the Laundromat of a close up on her sad face looking through the glass door on to the world outside...

    That "IS" a fashion story.

    Now that you have decided on the story, you have to decide on the rest of the team. Remember that the Fashion Stylist was chosen because she/he was appropriate for this kind of challenge and in your estimation a think tank session with this person would result in an interesting treatment. Knowing the story you both will have to find a hair and make up artist or one that is very good at both which is rare.
    You will be doing your casting based on looking at books of Hair and Make-up people to see if their style conforms to your treatment (story). Now that you have found the support team it is time to cast for the appropriate subjects.

    In the story you decided that you needed three people. The other two will look different in each image so you could get away with just three "Models-Actors" The casting is so important in re-enforcing the theme of the story. For me stranger is better, but that is a matter of taste based on your being "Plugged In" to what the looks are that are happening today.

    You will have the stylist or yourself call the model agencies and brief them with the criteria of you theme and they will respond by sending you portfolios for the purpose of honing down the selection. Once selections are made you will call the agency to have them send the chosen finalists to come for a face to face casting. The casting should be attended by the whole team. The hair and make-up artists will comment on there observations as well as the stylist and yourself, all seeing the model from a different perspective.

    Once the democratic decisions are made, you will have the final decision approval authority based on their input. The agency will be called to confirm the dates you gave them when they asked "What are the shoot dates. We will send you books of talent available on those dates..."

    You will get either a first or second option and hopefully a first. If you are certain of the selection confirm immediately. That will guarantee their availability.

    Set the time and place of the shoot and give the agencies all of the telephone contact info and visa versa for the whole team...

    That is how to put together a shoot. Although a condensed version. You must also think about the flow of the story. Two full shots two close up details one beauty shot etc etc etc...

    The Beginning...
    Ben
     
  2. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    With all due respect... Sounds like that is the "Vanity Fair" 5,000 a day shoot. How do you do it when it is just you and the model trying to create great work?

    Love & Bass
     
  3. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    Here is my answer....From someone who asked a similar question:

    From another Forum:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by codiac2600

    Ben you really are an astounding photographer/artist/helpful person lol. These shots you put on this forum are always of such amazing caliber and just makes me want to try and venture into shooting with a model everytime. I have a question if you don't mind and it's in regards to the lens used because I'm in the process of purchasing a few lenses and would love to get such crisp and clear results as yours and would love a basis for my search. Sorry if this isn't thread related by the way .

    Thank you again oh and I do have an interesting tidbit to add where you actually came up in a heated arguement with a very ignorant person I met at my place of work which I'd love to share since I have nothing better to do lol. I do a lot of photography for bars/nightclubs here in town (used to be with my pentax Dl but just had to get the K10 w/ vertical grip which has made a major improvement in what I try to do) and as I was walking around when a gentlemen stopped me and asked to see my camera (the K10d) and was happy to let him see it and the next thing I hear is, "Pentax, why would you use this piece of junk" and proceeds to hand the camera back to me with an evil smirk across his face. Normally I'd smack someone for being so rude, but I chose to ask him why he felt the way he did and all that came from it was he was a some other brand fanatic and proposed that no professional photographer uses Pentax. Knowing that I could use my "piece of junk" to bash him over the head I just told him to look you up and see what a real photographer does with junk. Hopefully you get a few more picture views of of this exciting ordeal lol. Well thought that was a funny thing looking back now and just had to share it with you.
    First off..I am very proud of you for not "Bashing him in the Head" with your Pentax. Can you imagine the damage you might have done to the lens? Not the body off course, it is too well built.

    As to your queries. What I wish to identify here are several points that come together as a composite to finally realize the final single image. Each element is as important as the next and if just one of those elements are too weak, the whole image will fall apart and fail to work.

    What you are seeing when you look at an image I am posting, is not just my photo. It is a team of individuals providing their talent (which in general is of the highest calibre in the industry) and expertise to the final outcome. All of these individuals from the Model, Hair and Make-Up artist, Fashion Stylist and PP Retouch (for skin generally..Never my lighting) are essential in getting the "Film Finished" so to speak. Being that I am based in Paris considered one of the three major centers in the world for my metier, I can draw on this exceptional source of talent. These people gravitate to these centers, just as Hollywood attracts actors and actresses, film directors, producers etc.

    I have had this discussion with so many very talented photographers who become so frustrated with their work because they cannot produce the images they imagine for lack of the talent needed to do so. They ask, "Ben, why do my images lack something that I can't quite define?" And I brutally have to answer.."They smack of being Provincial..." Anyone who has done this God forsaken business as long as I have can smell it the minute they see the image. Everything from So So model, bad poorly done make-up, abysmal hair, no fashion styling at all or perhaps at best borrowed from a local clothing store and totally out dated by my "Snobbishly Arrogant" standards and really badly overdone or incompetent retouching.

    If anyone wishes to do what I do, it is really quite simple. Gain a vocabulary. Go out and look at or buy, Italian Vogue, French Vogue, Citizen K International, Numero, Surface, Issue One, Oyster, Soon, V, etc etc etc..Not the S--Ty mainstream crap. Absorb it, look, observe, look, observe. You must attain a base for even knowing HOW TO OBSERVE and what to look for. DO NOT YET STUDY THE TECHNIQUE!!!That will come later. Look at everything that is happening. Look at the hair the make-up the clothes the model the theme the ambience. Keep doing this over and over and over until you learn how to be "Discerning". To become discerning you need the vocabulary.

    Once you've done that and come to the realization that I might want to try this, you can choose a high end provincial market or "THE MARKET"...I started with Toronto, stayed one year, moved to LA to NY to Milan and eventually Paris. You can get some pretty good talent in Chicago, LA as upper echelon almost there markets and get away with it. You can get the good models in Chicago when they come in to do the shows. Chicago have some good model agencies.

    Never do a test without all of the "support team" I mentioned. Hair, Make-Up and Fashion-Accessory stylist and of course the Model. "IF YOU DON'T HAVE THIS TEAM YOU WILL BE WASTING YOUR PRECIOUS TIME."

    We can talk about how you can and will get a relatively good serious working model and support team for your shoots and what to say to get them. A model agency will know immediately by the questions you ask if you are a novice or advanced shooter. Ask the wrong question and BYE BYE..You'll smack of...OH, just wanna meet models, forget it buddy! Never F--K around with Model agencies. Always be as forthright as you can with them. They can screw your career when it is just starting with just two or three phone calls. When you get to my level, it is the inverse.

    Oh yeah...What lenses...Ah I don't give a S--T what I use as long as it gives me what I want to do. But for you I'll recommend these. Depending on your funds I would suggest the 12-24 for wide angle shooting, which I love, stopped down one stop at least. A 28-75 Tamron f2.8, brutally sharp. If you can afford the 40L and 70L lens get it and the 100 Macro by Pentax. I love zoom lenses and 90 percent of my magazine stuff up until Pentax was shot with the 17-40 L by Canon.:er:
     

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