Communication is the key aspect of any photo shoot, make sure you have a firm understanding of what the client would like before you proceed. Don't get caught up in a certain lighting style or post process that you have wanting to try out. The client's desired outcome of the photoshoot is of paramount importance. Try not to take offense if the client wanting something changed or altered, it might hurt a bit at first but months down the road 9 times out of ten times you will realize it was the right thing to do in relation to the clients needs.
Try to pre visualize how the photo shoot will go down. Have a contingency plan if a light blows up or if a model is caught up in traffic, or it starts to pour rain. Never give up on the shoot even if things start to go sideways. An old modeling industry professional had the courtesy of revealing the importance of improvisation and quick thinking when in the heat of a large photo shoot. The more you shoot and more experience you gain of course the much easier this becomes. Whatever you do,don't have a fit and throw the shoot, most likely you won't have another chance with a client. Usually the photographer is the central controlling force of the entire shoot so try to push along the objectives in the most congenial way possible. Thoughtful pre planning and preparation will ensure a safe and comfortable shoot.
Professional photographers in the early stages of their career can be targets of shady business practices so beware especially in your first couple years of business. Sadly some people seem to regard young artists as disposable talent with weak business sense. This is not true for most clients. 99 percent of customers will be great people and a pleasure to work with. Only an extremely small percentage would be considered shady and dishonest, yet it only takes one bad experience to cause endless trouble, wasted time and and a wave of negative feeling to flood your mind and occupy your daily thoughts. If something seems strange with financing then address the issue immediately or it could lead to an uncomfortable situation in the future.
Try to use the gear you currently own to the best of your ability until you feel the technical need to upgrade. Buying the latest greatest photography equipment won't necessarily improve the final outcome of your images. We all know the temptation in the back of the head to purchase the most expense lens or studio strobe set up with the hopes that it will place us on a higher photo level. Usually this will not be the case. The high level gear will come with time and necessity. Try to use what gear you currently own unless you absolutely need a particular piece to further your artistic vision. You can rent particular pieces as you need them. When your art demands the equipment it will become a more worthy investment.
When shooting creatives: endeavor to build your portfolio with pieces that will attract the kind of shoots you are looking to do more of. I mean to say shoot creatives of the style you love the most. When you have fresh new pieces that are targeted to your strong points clients will respond positively. Occasionally creatives can get taken over or side tracked by the stylist or make up or even model and you may end up with pieces that may benefit them, but not be used in your own portfolio and thus are practically worthless to you. It is well worth it to do comprehensive pre planning of the shoot and make sure that everyone is on board and happy with the direction of the creative. Everyone should walk away with pieces that they feel are great and needed in their own portfolios.
Professional Make up artists are a crucial element of any successful photoshoot. Make up artists are in some ways more important than the photographer because they can make or break the shoot. All lighting, posing, models' facial features and photographers skills can be put to waste if the make up is not set correctly. Make up for photo sessions is different than everyday make up and a skilled hand can set the proper base for a particular photo lighting situation.
Make up artists experienced in a variety of skin tones and facial types are an indispensable asset to any professional photographer. Communication with the expressed intent of the desired outcome is key. It goes both ways: you will learn the make up artists' methods and they will come to know your style of lighting and post production and be able to apply the corresponding make up treatment as needed. As time goes on you will have a mutual understanding and the quality of both your works will improve.
A make up artist is usually the first contact with the model or sitter and can put them at ease and get them excited about the shoot. They set the tone and mood of the shoot. In this sense the hour or so that the make up spends with the model is like a pre shoot therapy session. Finding an artist with good interpersonal skills is very important. Of course nothing pumps up a model more than seeing themselves in amazing make up and lighting but when the personality and conversation are pleasant the model will be that much more ready to express themselves when it comes time to shoot.
Allow time for the Make up. They will need about an hour to apply the make up so please budget time, it's not worth it to rush.
Make sure they have enough light. Make up artists need to see what they are doing and having a similar lighting source to one that you will be using for the shoot will help tremendously. If in doubt just blast the make up area in strong light, this will be better then having less light.
Defend your artist. Once in a very blue moon the model or sitter might fight against the make up artist and blame them for everything. In this case try to find a amicable solution and work together with both parties to set their minds at ease. Don't throw your makeup artist under the bus but rather try to find a positive solution. Some sitters, especially those unaccustomed to professional photo soots may be apprehensive of new styles of make up and may not understand that photo makeup looks different in the photo make up mirror than day to day applications. So again: Photo make up and everyday makeup are very different and look different in the mirror.
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