There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to photography, and I never thought about what goes into a shoot until I started producing them. Producing a photo comes down to two very important things: preparation and detail. It all starts with a vision, and when everything goes according to plan, the vision is realized.
Producing photos is one of the most exciting responsibilities of my job. During a typical photo shoot, I’m running on pure adrenaline (which comes in handy during overnight shoots). Basically, I live for photo shoot days!
I recently managed and directed a photo shoot for one of our clients in which one scene consisted of friends watching football while enjoying beef. Each pre-production step was essential to creating the successful final shot. Emotions behind the scenes depend on preparation, and preparation consists of an attention to detail that’s inconceivable to most. Here’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what it took to get fully prepared for the day of the shoot:
- Visualize the shot(s) – convey to the client and receive client approval
- Confirm location
- Confirm photographer
- Confirm food stylist
- Discuss recipes and props with food stylist
- Purchase props
- On location walk-through with photographer
- Find models
- Choose wardrobe for models
On the day of the shoot, the weeks of pre-production preparation came down to producing a single shot in a matter of a couple hours. Here’s a peek behind the curtain on the set of the photo shoot:
- Food stylist arrives early to prep food
- Photographer sets up lighting
- Models arrive, wardrobe and make-up are finalized
- Models are placed on set and given direction
- Food is brought on set
- Test shots are taken and adjustments made to food and models…
…until the perfect shot is achieved.
Now I look at all photography differently. When I see a photo in an ad, I critique it and wonder what did the set look like, what kind of lightening did they use, and how many hours did it take for their vision to come to life?
Attaining the perfect shot is exhilarating! Everyone on set anticipates those long awaited words…“that’s a wrap!” Then we move into the last step of the process: post-production, when photos are re-touched to account for small imperfections. When that step’s complete, the vision is fully realized!