It occurred to me this morning that I produce all of these photoshoots, yet most people probably have no idea what work goes into producing a successful photoshoot…so I thought I might enlighten you! Everyone has a different way of working, but in my case, I’ve got a bit of a process. Things change depending on who the shoot is for, and what the basis of the shoot is. So let’s dive in!
Who’s the shoot for? The images you see here were shot just over a week ago for Claire Headdon! Claire is a bridalwear designer based in Falmouth, and an extremely talented one at at that. I adore her work, and we’ve known each other for a few years now. I was lucky enough to work with her in April for my first ever bridal shoot, and I’m so grateful to her for letting me borrow her dresses that day! Claire approached me in August, explaining that she needed the samples of her dresses photographed so that she could do a sample sale, and asked if I could shoot them for her. Of course, loving all things bridal, I said yes.
Where will the shoot be? As this was a client shoot, I asked Claire where she would like the dresses to be shot: on location, or in studio? In this instance, Claire was interested in a studio shoot. That made things pretty straight forward, as I’m lucky enough to have a space big enough in my apartment to accommodate a studio set up. I push all our furniture aside, borrow some lights from Falmouth University, put up my backdrop (which I bought pretty cheaply here and here), and the studio’s good to go! If Claire had wanted to shoot on location, we would have had to discuss what sort of location she was interested in, and then it would be up to me to suggest places I know, or go out and look for them. Location hunting can be such a fun aspect of my job, but also a time consuming one!
What will the images look like? One thing that is extremely important in the pre production of a photoshoot is a moodboard. A moodboard is a collection of images in a folder, Pinterest board or on a piece of paper which gives an idea to everyone in the team of what the final images will look like. I’ll spend an hour or so before the shoot finding images I love, and coordinating with my client, in this case Claire, to come up with the perfect inspiration. In this case, the idea was to keep things minimal and clean, with a white backdrop in studio. I’ve made the moodboard that I created for this shoot public on my Pinterest page, so you can see it here!
Who Will Be the Model? Finding the right model for a photoshoot is one of the best and hardest parts of the job. Being down in Cornwall, we don’t have any model agencies to scout models from. If I was based up country in London, you can bet my job would be a lot easier; all I’d have to do is ring an agency and ask if they have any models available for “testing” (this is when a girl is new to an agency, and needs to build her portfolio – she works for free in order to gain the images she needs to book payed jobs). In my case, we needed to find a local girl. I’ve worked with plenty of amazing Cornish girls in the past, but I’m always looking for more. I put a post up on a local Facebook page, and that’s where we found Jessica! She was the perfect model, with the most beautiful smile you’ve ever seen.
What will the hair and make up be like? I think you are all familiar with Ione by now, right? Ione and I worked together for the first time in March, and we got on well immediately. I loved her work, and being such a close age (she’s only a year older than me), in a similar stage in our careers, and with similar aspirations, we’ve worked together pretty much non stop since. She’s my go to with make up, and she’s a pretty incredibly talented hair stylist too! In some cases, clients will have clear ideas of what they want the hair and make up to look like. But if they don’t it’s up to me and Ione to come up with a plan, pitch it to our client, and make sure they’re happy with what we’ve got in mind. In this case, we kept everything very simple and clean. Claire’s dresses speak for themselves, and we didn’t want to overpower them with any over the top make up or hair!
Do we need accessories? Depending on the client, I may also need to source accessories, or in some cases, wardrobe. In this case, Charlotte Reed from Grace Baskerville jewellery approached me asking whether I required any jewellery for the shoot, and upon showing Claire her beautiful pieces, the job was made pretty easy for us! Charlotte came along on the day and added that little touch the shoot needed thanks to her jewellery.
When Will We Shoot? This stuff might sound basic, but another part of planning a photoshoot is all about planning the logistics. As the photographer, I’m pretty much the producer as well. When working for really big clients, photographers will most likely have an art director or producer working with them to organise things like this, but in my case, it’s just little old me. I coordinate with everyone coming on the day to ensure that everyone knows the date and time that they’re expected to arrive.
And then before you know it, it’s shoot day! I adore my job. I love that I get to plan the day, work with people I not only admire but love, and create beautiful images. I really hope this post has given you a bit more insight into what it is that I do day to day, and how much work goes into the production of a photoshoot! Let me know if there are any other things you’d like to learn about in the comment section below.