Steven Brokaw Photography

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Magazine Shoot - After Action Report

I did a photo-shoot this past weekend for submission to a fashion magazine.  Not my first time doing submitted work, but this time we worked on location versus my studio which was difference .  Also, I was working with a solid creative team, but several were first timers with me.  I’ll do a longer blog post after the submission is published, but in the meantime here a few quick after-thoughts based on the session.  They are:

1.       Use an assistant (or two) for bigger shoots.  I normally don’t (translated = control freak), but in this situation I’m glad I did.  The assistant helped set up, break down, took notes of clothing throughout the 8 looks, monitored the tethered shoot (more on this), and generally helped out.  No way I could have done all this myself,

2.       Bring snacks & water.  I did, and I’m glad I did.  In studio we have a kitchen so no dramas there, but on location you need to bring your own.  It was a long day, almost 10 hours, so the apples, grapes, bagels, bananas, etc., etc. were fully used.  We could have sent out for food, but honestly everyone was better noshing on the fly.

3.       Make sure everyone is 100% sure of their roles in preparation and their roles during the shoot.  We were working in a fairly tight venue with TONS of equipment so it had the potential to be a real Keystone Cops event.  Also, if everyone knows their roles it relieves tension & stress leading up to the shoot.  Note above, I’m a control freak, so often I feel I need to do everything.  This often creates situations where confusion can occur.  Rely on your creative team!

4.       Always take into consideration your model’s height IN heels.  My 5’11” model suddenly became 6’2”.  First, I’m only a 5’10” guy so those extra 3” count.  Secondly, in the venue there were lots of horizontal lines.  I really had to stay alert to lines (i.e. shelves) cutting through my model’s head.   I forgot to bring one of my studio apple boxes so shooting close headshots was tricky.

5.       As an ex-boy scout (when I was a young lad) it was beat into my brain, “always be prepared”.  A critical requirement for a photographer on a shoot like this is POWER.  Since this was the first time I had been to the venue I brought a Vagabond Mini AND 5 long extension cords.  There were plenty of outlets, but they were not 100% convenient.  I’m glad I brought the cords as we used them all.  Not just for the Elinchrom studio strobes, but for the computer, fan, curling irons, etc., etc.  I brought a surge protector as well and probably could have used another one.

6.       Bring your own music.  Our MUA brought her iPod AND speakers.  I brought the same and it’s great to have tunes

7.       Watch for shiny objects (mirrors, display cases, shiny metal objects, etc.).  This was a challenge at the venue and honestly you don’t see them in your viewfinder.  Only afterwards do they show up.  I spent lots of time monkeying with the lighting setup to avoid light bounce-back.  Shooting tethered helped.

8.       Speaking of shooting tethered it was a pain.  I’m glad I did so everyone could watch what I was getting, but for my setup it was way too slow.  I used a 25’ tether cable (probably too long), a high end MacBook Pro, and Lightroom.  The images rendered too slow to get immediate feedback.  It ended up being a good thing because it slowed me down, but I need to figure out a way to speed up the tethered image capture.

9.       Working with a talent agency can be a pain.  I’m not big enough to get any agency attention, but still….I’ll leave it at that.

I could go on, but those are my immediate afterthoughts.  It was a fun day with some people I enjoyed being around.  The model, Abi Hendershot from Heyman Talent was top notch and the rest of the creative team helped pull it together.  Now I have to go through the images!


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