Role: Photographer and assistant to creative director
Overview: Hernameisred Vintage reseller is an up and coming Toronto-based vintage fashion boutique. I was part of an exciting project to express the aesthetic and business goals of the brand visually through photography
Timeline: 2 days - August 2020
Getting out of my comfort zone
It was scary at first...
I have experience creating mood boards, storyboards and sending artifacts to clients, but assisting the director for a photoshoot? I knew how to work a camera, but I wondered if photoshoots would be any similar to digital designing.
To confidently transfer my design skills through to photography, I relied on my standard practices that I use for any digital creation.
Below are the steps I went through to photograph and assistant creative direct my first photoshoot.
Before the shoot
Understanding the brand to ensure a more effective and efficient shoot when goals are laid out
1. Understanding the brand
Communication is the key to all successful projects.
Meetings were dedicated to understanding the customers, the brands' story, messaging, brand guidelines (if available), budget and goals.
2. Inspiration through research
The brand wanted to emulate a cool-girl vibe that attracted millennials through clean, minimal aesthetics.
Because the clients' online platforms are on Debop and Instagram, we scoured images of vintage shop competitors on these apps to develop a competitive analysis; what were some ideas that we liked or what did we want to do differently?
Secondly, I researched online how to capture the "minimal aesthetic" by looking at (many, many) photographs to gather inspiration.
3. Finding the location
I collaborated with the owner to discuss location, budget and lighting.
Budget constraints allowed for a challenging but convenient way to shoot; we didn't need to transport outfits because it was in the clients' home... what posed as a challenge were the constraints of the home itself. Finding the right lighting was important to capture bright photographs with the desired minimal background to showcase the clothing.
We manipulated one part of the house with a bright window spot that casted the right artistic shadows. Securing the location meant we needed to remember the location and timing of the sun for us to replicate the results.
4. Mood board
As part of the brand imaging, their vision of their clothing meant being photographed without showing the models' face. Although makeup was out of the picture (literally), posing without showing the models' face was another interesting and creative challenge because we didn't want catalogue shoots, giving me the creative freedom to direct the model (within their physical limitations) in different positions that hid their face.
We crafted a mood board to discuss what model poses inspired us- what poses can we use to hide the face? What poses do we think can showcase this specific shirt or skirt?
Scheduling the shoot
When experimenting at the clients' house for location shots, we timed the perfect lighting was between 9am-12pm
5. Plan to not have a plan
I know, I said we remembered the perfect lighting schedule. But sometimes things don't go to plan and I have to freestyle. Some examples how things can go sideways:
The weather changed
I don't have enough artifacts
The models' manicure changed
Someone is sick
We were prepared to be tripped up by something unexpected by keeping a backlog of alternative ideas that we could work with.
Day of the shoot
Snacks, coffee and music playlists were a key component of the day to keep everyone's energy up
6. Capturing the candid
Even though I'm directing the models' poses, I continuously shot photos in-between positions to capture candid moments.
Not only does taking dozens of photos help compare and provide options for the client, but out of the dozen will be one good organic shot.
7. Check my biases at the door
Opinions were always asked of each other and others think throughout the entire creative process because it's important to trust the team. Listening and applying insights from others is a fruitful, rewarding experience, especially when the outcome is so beautiful - so I always make sure to check my biases at the door when taking on a project.
I had so much fun working with the owner to produce beautiful digital content. I honestly found that photoshoots were very much the same as digital designing apps and websites; because it's all about human collaboration and bringing ideas to life!