There are so many aspects of a photo shoot that take place to get those effortless images that tell a story or inspire a dream. Before the months of post-production begin, a crew of talented people, each bringing their own specialty to the table, all comes together to bring an idea to life.
The idea began last December…starting with an introductory meeting with Rachel Roy, a peek at the spring collection for inspiration and a clear understanding of the scope of the project. Kevin, Kelly and I went to work concepting what the Rachel Roy woman was to us, and what story we wanted to tell. With inspiration from Georgia O’Keeffe, the colors of the spring collection, and the words from the designer “Effortless, Elegant, Exotic” bouncing in our head, we came up with the idea of American Exotic: our desert wanderer finding herself in the arid landscape out west. We wanted to put the clothes in an environment that would make them sing.
Once approved by Rachel we got to work with our producer. Where can we shoot in January that matches our vision but isn’t covered in snow? Locations had to be scoured with everything we needed for our shot list and then approved. Budget estimates had to be tweaked. Local crew had to be booked. Our model and muse had to be chosen. This is how we spent our Christmas holiday: taking work phone calls at family gatherings, working out equipment lists, renting equipment, buying film, writing video direction, confirming the crew and finalizing everyone’s scheduling with the producer.
One of the most important parts of being a photographer is directing everyone. Communication is everything. Only I can see what is in my head; I have to set the path, make the decisions and comunicate with everyone what we are going to do when and how, what time is call time because of the logistics of the locations and the light, when we are going to scrap one idea and head to another because I have a gut feeling.
And then, finally, we shoot.
Here is a small glimpse of what it looked like and how it worked ~
Deciding where to shoot, what angle is best, how the light is and where the model should go is all tested out before our model gets on set with stand-in shots. The art director, an assistant, the stylist will all stand-in and help me visualize what I want by letting me test shots until we have worked it out and can then get our equipment ready.
Making moments with can-do assistants
Having high energy, can-do-anything assistants is such a critical part to any photoshoot and making magic happen! Here is Jeff getting filthy so our muse can be kissed by the desert smoke in the final shot emerging from the cave.