Organizing

Shersy Clothing Photoshoot

This was probably the most challenging shoot I had over the summer. I was asked by a friend if I could do some fashion photography for her Shersy Clothing upcoming launch. Since it was for a friend, it was a little casual. However, I still wanted to make my photographs as professional and as impressive as possible. Unfortunately, I really didn’t have any experience in fashion photography. To make things worse, I was working with two models. If you’ve been in my situation before then you would know that it’s not ideal. If you haven’t then I have some tips for you.

Do Your Research:

We are bombarded with images everyday and the key is to look out for photographs that stand out. Then use those photographs as an inspiration for your shoot. You can find a lot of great images over the internet or fashion magazines. It is also a good idea to communicate with your client. Ask them how they want their photographs done. However, don’t completely depend on their response because the final image is still up to you and your style. They asked you to photograph for them for a reason.

Get Pegs:

A lot of professionals will create their pegs to show the photographer. However, if that is not the case, then you will have to make your own. This is the best way to make sure that you get the shots that you want.

Be Prepared:

Make sure that you have everything you need for the shoot, and I mean everything. If you think you might need a certain equipment, just bring it. Prepare all of your equipment ahead of time and make sure that everything works fine. For more tips, check out my previous post on setting up your own shoot. 

Shersy Clothing Photoshoot:

The models for the shoot were Winnie Wong and Mara Javier. They were both great models to work with. Plus, both of them were my friends so they were easier to work with. For this shoot, I was using my Nikon D800 with either a 24-300mm f/3.5-5.6 and a 50mm f/1.4. I also used both of my Elinchrom D-Lite4’s with softboxes attached. Other than that, I had a circular reflector, which is essential when doing portraiture.

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/320, Aperture f/3.5

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/320, Aperture f/3.5

I found it very difficult to direct the models at first because of my lack in experience. According to most professional photographers, this is one of the most difficult skills to learn in photography. It takes a lot of practice and observation. I agree completely. Practicing this skill of directing models will be most beneficial if you are planning to be a photographer. One tip I have is to create little stories for each shot, so that your model can understand what you are trying to achieve.

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/250, Aperture f/4.5

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/250, Aperture f/4.5

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/250, Aperture f/5.6

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/250, Aperture f/5.6

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/500, Aperture f/4.5

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/500, Aperture f/4.5

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/320, Aperture f/4

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/320, Aperture f/4

Make sure that you portray both the clothes and the model in a good light because at the end, you are trying to sell. Your priority is to sell and I am sorry to say this but if your style conflicts with that, you have no choice but to find a compromise. For this shoot, I was asked to keep the colors of the clothes as natural as possible. That limited my creative control over my pictures. A tip I can give you is to edit and create two separate sets of photos, one for your client and one for your portfolio.

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/200, Aperture f/4.2

Nikon D800, Shutter Speed 1/200, Aperture f/4.2

When doing locational shoots (outside the studio) there are a lot more factors involved that you have to take account. You have to be able to quickly adapt to a changing environment. That is why I always carry my strobe units (flashes) and my reflector, as it gives me more control of the environment.

I edited these photos mainly using Adobe Lightroom 4. I also used Portrait Professional Studio for retouching. If you have more questions on how I produced these images, feel free to comment here or post on my wall on facebook.

If you liked any of the clothes featured in this post, then check out Shersy Clothing’s facebook page.

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Organizing Your Own Shoot

The best way to build up a portfolio is to set up your own shoots, may it be with a model or yourself. This can get very troublesome and tricky. I went through a lot of problems and complications when planning my own shoot. I wish to share my experiences so that you can avoid the same mistakes I made.

In this segment, I will go through the whole process I usually undergo to prepare for a photo shoot.

Outtake from “Rough Landing”

Outtake from “Rough Landing”

Brainstorm and Take Notes:

For all my shoots, I plan and conceptualize way ahead of time. I write down all my ideas on a moleskin notepad. Practice your mind to think conceptually. I try to base all my ideas from my own experiences to make my own work very personal. After a few sentences of my concept, I add some thumbnails just to help me visualize my compositions and how I want it to look.

Always have a concept in mind before a shoot. Do not just take random photos and add a concept later on. If you are new in photography, you will soon learn that just taking pretty photos will not get you anywhere. You need concepts.

Deciding on a Model:

After finalizing my concept, I choose a model that will suit the role of the character I have envisioned for the shoot. I usually ask friends because they are generally easier to work with. They are also much more comfortable with experimental shoots. Perfect for learning and adding pieces to your portfolio.

You should also be ready with backup models that you can ask at a short notice. But, if all else fails and none of your models show up to your shoot, try shooting some self portraits.

Finding a Location:

I find this one of the most difficult aspects of photography. Finding a location is very troublesome as there are so many restrictions involved. There are many places, especially in the Philippines in where using a DSLR is prohibited. I never understood the logic behind these rules. However, it is still best to check before hand. One tip would be to avoid private areas and stick to public locations.

Then there is also the problem of finding a location that would suit your idea. Again, this is where having friends comes in handy. When you ask around for a specific location within your friends or your parents, you’re bound to find one that can work.

However, The biggest tip I can give you regarding location is to scout your location beforehand.

Prepare your Gear:

The day before the shoot you need to make sure all your equipment is operational. Charge all your batteries. Clean your lenses. If you are using off camera flashes, make sure that they are in working order. If you are using a tripod, make sure that you have the dove plate. Pack all of the equipment you think you will need or might need. The more equipment you have, the more versatile you can be. However, that also means the more things you need to carry around

You are more prone to lose your equipment if you have a lot of bags. So try to fit all your equipment in one or two bags.

Make a Checklist:

Create a checklist of all the equipment that you think you will need. This checklist will come in handy during the day of the shoot to make sure you have everything but also to make sure you don’t forget anything from the shoot.

Think Logistics:

You need to consider transportation for you and your model. Set a meeting place and time (set it earlier than your imagined call time to make sure everyone gets there in time). Make sure that you set the time according to the amount of light you want from the sun (if shooting outdoors).

Bring an extra amount of money just for emergency. It’s not an essential for a photo shoot but it can come in handy.

You also need to figure out if you need help from other people, especially if your camera gear is quite heavy to keep carrying around by yourself.

Outtake from “We Are Masterpieces”

Outtake from “We Are Masterpieces”

Shoots are hard to plan as there are a lot of complications and factors involved in the process. However, planned shoots yield the best results and will make your work stand out.

 

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