Have you ever wondered what goes into producing a high-fashion photo shoot? Of course, the success of a commercial production depends on attention to detail and careful consideration on how to best sell the product being photographed. But you may be surprised by what photographers like Jeff Rojas prioritize on set and in post:
Having contributed portraits to both Elle and Esquire, Rojas knows a thing or two about running a studio shoot smoothly. Above all else, he stresses the importance of an effective workflow. Here are just a few pieces of advice he has to offer on formulating a beauty photography workflow:
Get everyone on the same page
When working in the studio, the photographer often has to take on the role of director. From a creative standpoint, this might be a bit of an obvious point to make. But it’s important to also direct things from a logistic standpoint. Don’t keep information to yourself. Make sure that every person on set has a clear idea of what’s expected of them and what their role is in the production. This includes models, assistants, artists, and anyone else that might be on set.
Back everything up
Every digital photographer’s worst fear is of losing images to a corrupt memory card. It’s possible to prevent this from happening on a high stakes shoot by tethering directly to a computer. Before getting too far, it’s smart to set things up so that your shots automatically sync to a physical or external hard drive.
Let your team see what’s going on
One of the best ways to keep your team in the loop is to let them see what’s going on in real time. By tethering to a program like Capture One or Lightroom, you can get your images to automatically load up onto a large screen, allowing assistants and models to see results right away and to play a more active role in the image-making process. With multiple sets of eyes on the look out for flaws, you gain a level of quality control and can get more immediate feedback on how to improve the photograph.
Be careful with your colors
In a fashion setting, few things trump color in terms of importance. From a commercial standpoint, it’s crucial that the appearance of the product that you’re selling matches what the viewer sees in the photograph. From an aesthetic standpoint, you want models and objects to look the best they possibly can. This means implementing vibrant colors, avoiding clashes, and paying attention to details such as the luminosity and gradation of skin.
Balance improvisation and structure
Don’t be afraid to experiment or try out new things. Trial and error is essential to any creative process, and getting outside of one’s your comfort zone is the only way to grow as an artist. But don’t go into a situation totally flying by the seat of your pants. Establishing a game plan will keep you and your team on track.
Find a way to get what you need
Especially when working for a corporate client or on commission, it’s important to take budget into consideration. At times this may feel restrictive in terms of getting the gear necessary to make the best images possible. Get creative and think of alternatives to work around roadblocks. For instance, if you’re lacking the money to buy, say, a medium format camera, renting might be an option.
“Everything that I do on set is purposeful,” Rojas explains. Being purposeful in your actions is one of the best ways to ensure that you stay on track and make the best photographs that you possibly can. Don’t overlook details (no matter how small). Make a mental checklist of what needs to happen in order to create your vision and execute it step by step. And, most importantly. don’t lose sight of the purpose of the shoot.
“Beauty photography is all about beauty. It’s about the gorgeousness of a woman (or a man), whoever you’re photographing and really taking that and capturing it in an image.”
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