Prep

A shoot often begins long before call-time. It starts weeks or even months in advance with an idea  and then prep time starts. At the moment I am arranging a whole weekend shoot focusing on beauty work with Sarah Baxter when she emailed me a list of ideas she had. I’m such a fan of her work since the first day we met and she showed me what clean makeup and beauty actually was. She is now enrolled in a hair course so we’ll be trying out some new looks!
Unlike a few other shoots, this weekend involved considerably less prep time than usual even though it’s no less stressing. We’ve decided not to involve a stylist and keep it fairly casual. To start off with we emailed each other back and forth with ideas and descriptions and photo references and highlighted those which we were interested in and then we went away to research.
Research is so very important especially when creating an editorial story (double name here, an editorial -is- a story). I’m now focused on photographing both beauty and fashion stories which means I need to know that I can pull out 4-6-10 distinct, different and hopefully amazing images which has complementary themes and can convey a sense of a storyline. However research is still important in shoots not involving editorials. Occasionally I get very strong ideas about what I’m going to create, to the point that I can sit and sketch out the looks and the poses and lighting and setting, and other times the idea is vague so I build upon it. I go and peruse my favourite photographers’ sites and images and books and music and magazines and everything that I like and am inspired by and draw together bits and pieces. A lot of times during research I also come across a particular photographic technique I’m not familiar with and if it suits the concept, it’s a good time to try it =)
Then comes the practical prep, finding team members and models. I secured my assistant (with much reluctance on his part) and other times I’d usually also try to find hair and wardrobe stylists. For models I like using modelmayhem.com for castings or I’d call up agencies requesting models to test. Agencies are a whole story onto themselves.
It’s important to find models with the right look for the concepts and to make sure everyone involved as part of the creative team are on the same page, hence more emails and narrowing down choices and finalizing details. Tonight, two days before the shoot I wrote out all the ideas and marked down the looks and who’s doing what. This also helps in laying out the schedule for the day so we can make sure to fit everything in. 
Tomorrow I’ll be checking out all the equipment (however meager they are), recharging batteries, grocery shopping, apartment cleaning, going through my notes for the umpteenth time and wait with eager anticipation for morning. My stomach is already rumbling with stress and excitement. How invigorating!
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