Fashion photography – it’s not all rock n roll and sushi. There’s a common misconception that photographers just turn up, click the shutter a few times and great images appear ready for the front cover of Vogue. Well this, unfortunately does not happen, not at this level anyway. The reality is that a lot of planning, organisation and teamwork goes into each shoot. The photographer usually gets the starring roll in the credits but behind every successful photographer is a great team.
I’m using the latest shoot I did for the Exchange Arcade magazine Spring Summer 2015 article as an example because its still fresh in my memory and is a fairly typical scenario of what happens during the course of my shoots.
Btw if this blog piques your interest, I’m putting on a Fashion Photography Workshop in August where you can step into my shoes for a day and work with my creative team on a fashion shoot.
Lead times for projects varies depending on many factors not least of which is how organised your client is. 4-6 weeks is optimal, this gives me time to put my creative team together, cast and book models, interpret the brief, put together mood boards and do any other necessary prep work. My team members are trusted freelancers and are picked because they have the right skills for each particular job in hand. They consist of – make up artist, hair stylist and fashion stylist. On top of that we select the model/s that are suited to each project according to look, style and availability.
The fashion stylist is a photographer’s best friend. Their job is to create the look, collect, organise, dress the models, monitor for adjustments and generally look after the garments. I remember the days when I worked without stylists and my life was so much harder then.
On a serious note this allows me to concentrate on creating images. They help make sure that all the garments look pristine in the shots and do all the fine adjustments to help make sure each photo is perfect.
A hair dresser and a session hair stylist can be two completely different things. A hair dresser creates hair styles in a salon for real world use and has the luxury of an allotted time period to do this in. A session stylist has to be a creative genius, create hair styles to a precise brief, in a short space of time, under pressure, and it needs to be perfect for the camera. And then he/she has to do change after change in no time flat.
I choose my hair stylists very carefully as wayward hair can equate to hours and hours in photoshop.
In this case the concept was based on the 70s and Craig delivered some amazing hair in his usual professional manner. What a guy!
Much the same as their hair stylist counterparts, good session make up artists have a skill set that is dedicated to creating images for photography and moving image. The first thing you’ll notice is the huge case of make-up that they bring with them. This is totally necessary as they need to cover any eventuality and they don’t always know what precise skin tones they’ll be working with. Be prepared to be shocked if you ask them how much said make-up costs – quality does not come cheap…
Session make-up artists like Natasha come with years of experience in the industry and understand the concepts of working to a tight brief, time constraints and can deliver perfection under pressure consistently.
So as a fashion photographer I tend to headline on the credits and get the plaudits for all the fab shoots I’ve been lucky to be involved in. However as you can see that behind every good photographer, there’s a great creative team. My job starts off as a project manager and only when I have everything and everybody in place do I get to do what I enjoy most. I interpret the brief, create the lighting and sets, click the shutter and shout ‘Yeah Baby,Yeah!’ (ok not the last bit….probably). Oh and don’t forget the hours and hours spent in post-production.
This all culminates in the finished set of images and even though I’ve been doing this for many years now, there are few things in this world that excite me as much as seeing my work in print.
There I go again, I meant ‘our work…’
If this has piqued your interest and you would like to learn more and experience it for yourself, please check out the Fashion Photography Workshop I’ve devised for August.
PS. Special mention to another one of my team – the photographer’s assistant. In this case Mr Spencer Jones who also took these wonderful behind the scenes shots.