Posts tagged shoot preparation
Art Directing Your Projects

It’s interesting to me that some designers think they will hire a photographer and stylist for a shoot, tell him/her what shots they’re looking for, and then have the shots delivered exactly as they want with no more work involved. I always want to remind interior designers that this is your photo shoot, and that you need to art direct the day – exactly the same way that a shelter publication will when they shoot a project.

Why? Because it’s your brand, and you need it to be visually represented in the best way possible. A good photographer and stylist are going to make the rooms look good, but they may not understand your brand and what you really need from the shots

I like to work in a partnership with my clients where we’re both fully committed to getting the best visual representation of the project. And it always works best if the designer is fully engaged in the process from the minute we sign an agreement. So what does that mean?

First, you need to think about who you’re going to pitch the project to, or how the images are going to be used. Discussing this plan with your photographer will impact how the project will be styled and shot. You should also think about what the takeaways will be for the person reading the article or viewing the project.

You want to scout the project again, preferably with the photographer and a stylist. It’s a great time to think about how many shots you’ll need, how many horizontals vs. verticals, what accessories and florals you want, what the light looks like, and so much more.

Be realistic about the shoot and the amount of time it will take! Especially if there’s a room that needs the daylight and it’s going to start getting dark at 6pm. It’s so important to have a shot list ready to go. It will speed up everything and you can be sure that we don’t miss a crucial angle or room. 

So the number-one question I get from a designer is if they really need a stylist for the shoot. My answer is always yes! First, you’re too close to the project and may not be able to visualize how it needs to look for publication. Things look very different on camera.  A stylist can help move the shoot along, styling the next room while the designer and I are shooting the current space. It’s more efficient and more effective. Plus a good stylist will know what trends magazines are looking for regarding props, floral, etc.

And if you still need to be convinced – my styling team and I have a very HIGH publish rate when we work together and then pitch a project. Yep, VERY, VERY, HIGH. 

Finally, remember that you want to look at each shot as it comes up on the computer. We can make adjustments and changes then and there so we get the perfect photo. This is the time for you to make sure the shots are going in the right direction. 

If you are an involved art director in your own photo shoot, you’ll walk away knowing you got the shots you wanted, and they match your brand aesthetic.

From Scout to Finish, The Reason I Always Scout (and so should you!)

Scouting is one of the most important aspects of any of my shoots. I try to scout every single shoot now, its that important to me and for my clients. For years I would sometimes scout, or not worry about it for a home interior shoot, thinking I could show up first thing in the morning on a shoot day and figure it all out. I think many photographers that shoot for interior designers fall into this category, and they are missing a huge opportunity to make the shoot a success before it even happens. From a scout I’m able to determine the angles that work best, which shots should not even be attempted (huge time saver), and a schedule of how I want to shoot the house based on the lighting throughout the day. But probably the main reason I scout every shoot is to inform the styling of the final shots. For example, you will see in some of these examples several things were changed, and some only floral was added.

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As you can see from this shoot with Allison Seidler Interiors, we decided to move furniture around, swap out a couple of lamps, side tables, and restyle the coffee table. Everything was shifted quite a bit towards the camera to allow for separation with the white chair and table, and sofa on right was moved into the space.

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This kitchen shoot with Staci Steadley really benefited from the scouting shots. The florist, Haile Wossen, was able to determine the scale of floral to bring to fill in the window on the right, and the new barstools brought in by Staci changed the entire feel of the room. Removing homeowner clutter and knowing how much work will be needed ahead of time are huge time savers. Bring extra help!

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And lastly, this living room by SBLong Interiors needed a lot of minor adjustments that we were able to decide before starting our shoot that day. Walking into this room knowing what was needed to happen made this transformation last about 30 min from start to finish.

So, you can see how and why I scout all my shoots. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of what can feel like a stressful day if you aren’t prepared. Do yourself a favor and scout!