The Shot – Behind the Scenes
A look at what happens before the shoot.
We specialize in location shoot. Being stuck in a studio rarely fits into the style of our images. It’s a huge world out there and life is too short to create the very common and mundane high key, white backdrop photos. We scout out locations constantly and lucky for us – we have some really unique places in the Pacific Northwest. Creating compelling images is our goal and location shoots adds a sense of drama.
However, there is very little drama behind the scenes. It’s a fun and relaxing experience, no matter if it is a commercial, boudoir session, portrait or wedding. After a consultation and follow up – the gears start turning and concepts are established for the shoot. Gypsy themed boudoir shoot on a commune in the Cascades, Country Girl shoot on the farm or Fantasy Themed woodland wizard – all require props, wardrobe, sometimes set design and clearly thought out shoot plan. We take care of the details. Before we even press the shutter, there are permits, rentals and staff to organize. The day of the shoot we arrive on location and prepare for the session. It can take several hours prep time for an hour or two of shooting.
To start, we want you to look your best. Hair and Makeup are a transformative process. Sometimes simple looks can take more time than wild creative ones. Assunta does double duty if hair has not been hired. Makeup has its own consultation before the shoot. Ordering and using the correct products is based on skin type, wardrobe and concept. Wardrobe advice is given through the entire consultation and planning stage. On site, small alterations might be made to fit correctly. When we do a themed shoot, wardrobe is the showcase for a highly creative design.
Prepping the location can be quick and easy and sometimes a little pain and suffering. Removing distractions, litter or clutter before a photo is taken can make or break an image. You might be saying – take it out in Photoshop. That option does not apply in many instances. Branches may need to be trimmed, cars moved or curtains pulled back. Making the site safe for the client or model is a professional habit that means minimizing all risks. For instance -working with animals, fire and poor weather need to be a consideration before the shoot. While some of our shots might appear to be risky at first glance, they are well thought out. There are certain locations we will never use for safety – railroad tracks are not only redicoulsy amateurish and cliche, but lethal.
Props and equipment are then setup. Props are tested before the shoot and then again on site. Complicated lighting with many stands, strobes, modifiers, scrims and diffusers is held to a minimum. It’s also less gear to keep track of, and since its on the location – wind is our enemy! A six-foot softbox doubles as a sail. No army of assistants also means an intimate shoot. A natural light shoot is sometimes done to keep a soft feel to the images, but most often there is one main light. Occasionally, there are times when every strobe is used for unique and complicated lighting. Reducing the amount of gear means we can shift to another spot quickly and efficiently.
Once this is all done, we bring the client or model on site and start the real work – taking photos. In reality, it’s not taking – but making an image happen. The photograph is a creative process and pressing the shutter is a brief moment when it all comes together.