Thursday, January 24, 2013

Diary of an Aspiring Stylist: Post-Shoot Debrief
Creative Direction

After taking a break over the holidays to relax and spend time with family, I'm finally getting back into the swing of things for my styling alter ego.

I had a lovely chat with a local photographer a few weeks ago. We talked about what fashion and photography meant to us and what we wanted to get out of future projects. I was thrilled to shoot with him, and he allowed me to take on a major role with him in the creative process for the shoot.

We started with some inspiration. He's a big fan of Pinterest, so we had some shared boards where we shared some of our favorite editorials, photos and fashion. We brainstormed some themes and decided on one that we thought would work within our short timeframe.

The make-up area with a reference photo pulled up on an iPad.
I've actually been wanting to do an androgynous shoot since I started styling, but as I've mentioned before, it's not exactly a popular look. (This is obviously a recurring theme for me this month, as made evident by my Men's Fashion Week recap.) He was totally on board with it though, so that's what we decided to start with for our first shoot together. Casting our model was a cinch - we found a model with strong features who was also beautiful and feminine.

During make-up application and hairstyling the photographer and I explored the studio props and the surrounding area. I knew with androgynous looks I wanted a serious vibe, and I started gravitating toward industrial pieces.  There were a lot of rundown, industrial-looking places within walking distance from the studio that seemed to fit with the props and backdrops I had favored, too. 

The photographer was insistent that he "[didn't] just want pretty pictures". He felt very passionately about editorials telling a story, and he viewed it as a true art, which was truly awesome to see and be a part of. Looking at the beaten up surroundings and how corporate our menswear was, the story started coming together on its own. Our model played the role of the wealthy, cutthroat entrepreneur that profited from selling out and destroying her companies and her employees' livelihoods. What helped was the timelessness of the settings, men's apparel, and the concept of the corrupt executive taking advantage of those beneath him.

Now all that was left was dressing the model and actually taking the photos. While I helped with the creative strategy, the photographer and model owned the tactical application of our idea. Her poses and expressions coupled with his eye for angles and lighting made for some photos that I can't wait to share in a few weeks!

  • Bring a book.
  • It will take one hour at the very least to get the initial makeup and hair look down. It only takes about 15 minutes to set up the wardrobe, so you'll have a ton of downtime. It's a wonderful time to chat with the team, but if you have multiple looks then you'll have multiple hours of spare time, and the other team members may be working during that time.
  • Bring your phone charger.
  • Everyone occupies themselves with their phones for a good bit of the downtime. And everyone takes and posts lots of photos during the shoot. Because of these habits, at every shoot I've done at least one person had their phone die on them.
  • Bring snacks.
  • Seriously, these things take a long time. I can't stress that enough. Every shoot I've done so far has averaged about 6 hours long, and none of them have served meals. Many shoot coordinators will provide snacks, but you'll probably want to supplement it with energy bars and beverages.

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