||Dec 09, 2013
||Feb 02, 2012
New York, New York, US
MM URL: http://www.modelmayhem.com/JEYHUN14
INSPIRED BY FASHION,MUSIC & WOMEN.
Hair stylist and Editorial hair stylist Jeyhun Abramov
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A photoshoot happens in three stages, which are Pre-production, Shoot day, and
Post-production. Pre-Production is anything that happens before the shoot and Postproduction
is anything that happens after the shoot. Most shoots go wrong in Preproduction.
Usually it is a lack of time invested up front that dooms a shoot to failure. If
the idea is good and the talent is qualified, with good commitment, planning, and hard
work the results are usually great!
Pre-Production is everything that happens before shoot day and includes:
This all starts because you have an idea or inspiration. Everyone finds inspiration in
different things at different times and this gives us a point of view unique to us. It is our
creative fingerprint. A highly developed point of view is very valuable and comes with
time and experience.
Once you have an inspiration you have to decide what you are going to do with it. This
will give Purpose to the shoot. Will the shoot be for submission to NAHA, for your
website, for submission to trade magazines, etc…? These details are very important
when it comes to meeting with photographers and models.
Planning starts with inspiration and storyboarding, you then create a budget for the
shoot, cast your team and hold meetings to cover all the details and to further develop
the idea. Good organization is key. The success of the photoshoot is a result of
Inspiration and Perspiration.
Storyboards help you develop your inspiration and create a visual description of your
idea for the team. They consist of pictures, fabrics, references, and other items that
will help to describe color, texture, feeling, era, etc… Storyboards insure the team is
working toward the same “look” and can be digital (easy to distribute thru e-mail), a
piece of cardboard with items taped to it or, may be a whole wall. Remember, a
storyboard should tell the whole story. Think about clothing, hair, make-up, references,
colors, music, textures, photographic style, feeling, etc… The team – It takes a team to create a fashion photo. Usually, a Photographer, Art
director, Model, Hairstylist, Make-up artist, Clothing stylist, and a Production person, as
well as assistants, comprise the team.
The photographer is going to be your partner in this project so I would start your
casting here. Hire a photographer based on photographic style and Point of View. Ask
to see a portfolio. Don’t hire a wedding photographer to shoot a fashion photograph.
Their work should be inspiring to you and should fit the inspiration and he/she should
show enthusiasm for the shoot. Be sure the photographer is willing to license the
images for use. By law, the photographer holds the copyright. If you are on a tight
budget, a good place to look is your local college. A smart aspiring photographer will
see the potential addition to his/her portfolio as enough pay. Remember they are in
the same position as you, in that it takes a team to make a fashion photograph.
The Art director oversees the picture as a whole and is responsible for the end result.
Outside major markets art directors are few and far between. You might have to be
your own art director.
The model is the most important element in the picture and model selection is
everything. A model should have nice hair, flawless skin, wide set large eyes, a nice
nose, nice lips, and should be tall and thin. This being said, sometimes there is
something about somebody that makes them perfect for the pictures even though they
aren’t the typical model type. Before making your final decision consider testing the
model in the light you will be shooting in. When you are casting your model think about
the inspiration and purpose for the shoot. Is it a beauty shot where the face is the
focus, or a full-length fashion picture where body frame and posing becomes
important? Consider the personality of the model. Try local modeling agencies to see if
a model would be willing to trade her/his time for a print. Be clear on the purpose or
use for the picture, as you can’t publish a picture of somebody without a signed model
release. Remember the model is the most important element in the picture. DO NOT
use someone who doesn’t photograph like a model. Models are rare, because most
people, even pretty people don’t photograph well.
You should select a hairstylist based on their portfolio and point of view. Be sure they
are creating work that is inspired and that they understand the job.
Like the rest of the team, select a Make-up artist based on photographic experience
and portfolio. Photographic make-up is a specialty and it takes years to develop skill in
The Clothing stylist is responsible for the clothing and will source and style the clothes
during the shoot. A good stylist knows how to make people look great in clothes and
has access to interesting fashions. Hire a clothing stylist based on their portfolio and
there ability to source clothes for the project.
Production will be in charge of catering, location, and any other logistics involved in the
production of the shoot. Your production person should be chosen for their
organizational abilities. They should be the type of person who could throw a great
party and not miss a detail! You might find that casting a full team is a challenge, especially outside a major market
with a limited budget. So, you might have to wear multiple hats. But, be sure not to
neglect details or the end result will suffer. Sometimes a creative will exchange work
for prints, which helps the budget.
Hold Meetings to develop the storyboards and to keep everyone on the same page. I
would say that most shoots could be done with just one team meeting to introduce and
further develop the storyboard and additional meetings with individuals could be made
as the creative work is done. Remember that Time is Money! Don’t waste people’s
time. Be organized and efficient.
Are you going to be shooting in the studio or on location? What props will you need? If
you are shooting outside, will you need permits? What is your plan if the weather is
Food and beverage doesn’t have to be extravagant but people should be taken care of.
What kind of music would be appropriate to the shoot? There should be a vibe!
It is always a good idea to confirm all of the details one week prior to the shoot. Be sure
to have a signed license agreement with the photographer and a signed release for the
same usages from the model. Also, all technical work should be completed before the
day of the shoot leaving just refinement to be done on shoot day.
On shoot day arrive early and be prepared with a plan including a shot list so you can
build the look from lightest make-up and hair to heaviest. Hold a pre-shoot meeting to
review the shot list over coffee and bagels. Create the vibe, be upbeat and manage the
shoot. It is important to be a flexible perfectionist so that you can get the shot right but
allow for accidents that can turn into successes. Hairstylists should be as light as
possible on hairspray and pins this will make adjustments to the hair easy.
Professional photographers with digital equipment are shooting “tethered”, which
means the images are instantly viewable on the computer. With some practice you
can quickly spot any potential pitfalls and make the changes needed. My philosophy is
“If it doesn’t add to the image take it out!” Get the shot right! Don’t depend on
Photoshop to fix fly-a-ways that could be easily remedied on set. Retouchers charge
$100-$300 per hour and one picture can take a day to a full week if heavy retouching
is needed. Post-Production
When editing pictures I use software that allows me to rate images and filter them. I
go thru them and flag the best of the group then the best of that group, so on and so
forth. Find someone to help, who has a great eye and will be critical. Don’t be sensitive.
Sensitivity and defensiveness will slow your development as an artist. Only select your
best images! A magazine editor would rather look at four great images, than look at
those images buried in ten mediocre images.
Pictures do not come out of the camera ready for printing. They will need to be
adjusted on the computer. Retouching is an art form and shouldn’t be obvious. A basic
workflow for retouching is reshape the body, balance the color and exposure, clean up
the skin, eyes, and hair. Then get the image ready for output by applying the right
contrast and sharpening.
When submitting to magazines for publication, be sure to put together a professional
press kit including a cover letter, a description of the inspiration, step-by-steps, signed
model releases, include your licensing agreement from the photographer, 8x10 prints,
and a cd of high resolution tif images which should be 8x10 @ 300dpi. Also, be sure
that you are submitting the type of images the publication would be interested in
Archiving digital images is an important topic. I put my images on external hard drives
and back the drive up to a duplicate drive which is immediately unplugged both from
the computer and the power, then stored at an alternate location. As drives and
computers improve I migrate the pictures to the more current technology. Without a
system for backup and migration you could eventually end up losing your photo library
to a virus, lightning strike, equipment failure, or to compatibility issues. There is much
debate on this topic but this is what I am doing at this point.
Have your pictures printed professionally. Your portfolio should be 11x14 along with
the prints in it. Portfolios can be purchased at The House of Portfolios
(www.houseofportfolios.com) in NYC. Build your Storyboard. Some thoughts…
• Put your catchy title on the board.
• Tear out pictures that have elements in them that will help tell the story.
• Color palette
• Photographic style
• Hair references
• Make-up references
• Clothing references
• Any items that convey the feeling you are after.
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