As an individual we can accompish lots of good. As a TEAM we can accompish excellence. It takes a group of highly talented creative professional to create the best imagery that clients come to expect and demand from fashion photographers. Think about it. Being hired by a sophisticated fashion client who appreciates quality work has requirements; images that matches brand identity, images that clearly communicate the desired message, while simultaneously creating an eye catching photo that sells consumers.
To achieve all this alone is next to impossible. That's where the T.E.A.M. comes in! On a photography set your team is everyone involved in creating the image; that is on your staff, or contracted by your company. This typically includes a wardrobe stylist, Makeup Artist, Hair Stylist, Models, Assistants and Videographers. Each of these team members bring unique stregths to a set and can easily add value to any production.
Simply because a person is beautiful, does not mean they should model. It's along the same line of thinking as "Hey you kinda look like Tom Cruise, you should be an actor!" That may be a bit far fetched, but I believe it makes the point. Beauty isn't the only thing required of models. Modeling, much like acting, requires charisma, evoking of emotion or feelings then silently communicating this through your body language and eyes. Despite the preconcieved notions of the industry, modeling can be taxing. To make it as a model, especially outside of a major fashion or acting captial takes stamina, endurance and persistance.
My goal is typically to match a model to a shoot by testing, or working with an agency. Freelance models are great, but they may lack experience, show up late, double book, or even worse show up to set looking what we in the industry call "busted". Meaning showing up to a photoshoot with colored, false nails, new tattoos (less than a week old) dirty. Agency models are a bit more dependable because models are held accountable. Want to learn more about freelance vs. agency models read here.
What is fashion photography without the fashion!? Therefor, one could argue what is a fashion shoot without a wardrobe stylist. As a photographer I have a bit on my plate already during a shoot. Lighting, composition, guiding and encouraging models, orienting makeup, keeping abreast on time, etc.
The stylist’s role is essential. Stylist ensure garments are picked up, accessorized, properly fitted, cared for, and kept looking amazing during a session. While the photographer watches the model, and lighting the stylist watches the clothing the model wears. The stylist ensures care is taken to show off the more intimate details of a garment.
I lean on my stylists when it comes to fashion trends. My client may not know where to go buy the trendiest outfit before a photoshoot. I will send them over to my stylist. Fashion stylist/bloggers do amazing jobs at ensuring they stay on top of the hottest things on the runway, and keep the public informed on whats now and whats not.
If the model is the canvas, the makeup artists is the ... canvas quality control adjuster? Ok, I’ll admit I have no clue what that means. But, I can say that I refuse to shoot without makeup artist in my corner! I am anti “do it in Photoshop”! Photoshop is a last resort for me, not an initial one. Therefore, avoid the tediousness, or at least minimize it with makeup. Major imperfections can become minor ones with the brush stroke of a talented makeup artist.
A Pro Makeup Artist dose more then cover imperfections they also help set the tone for the look. For example if the client wants an easy going laid back look its important that the makeup is not overly done with bold statement lashes, lipstick and or over drawn eyebrows. Moreover, a trained makeup Artist will know what products don't work well under professional lighting or on a variety of different skin undertones. Having an experienced makeup artist on set will easily improve image quality.
There are a few types of assistants on set. 1st assistant, second assistant, digital technicians, lighting help and finally interns.
There is a lot to be said for understanding how important an assistant is on set. They free you up from the minute tasks of changing lenses, getting up to move a light, getting a light meter reading, adding another light to set and countless other things so that you can do what’s most important, creating a badass image! There are quite a few articles out there about what it takes to be an assistant and how one can learn, and grow from the process. Read more about how to be a badass assistant/ intern here.
Fun fact Makeup Artists and hairstylists are not always the same person. I find that they get grouped too casually in conversations about fashion imagery. This is a mistake I made earlier on in my career, it's kind of like saying I'm going to a dental foot care specialist.
In addition, two heads or in this case four hands are better then one/two (haha). A hair stylists has two roles on set. First to professionally style the models hair prior to shooting (Duh!). Secondly, it's the hairstylist job to keeping up with flyaway's hairs, out of placed curls and great hair volume during shooting. If thats not enough, the hair stylist may have to change the hair style altogether with each additional look. Meanwhile, the makeup needs have it's own list of maintenance requirements and look changes of it's own.
Hair stylists are really the canvas note to the singing choir of a photoshoot. Smoothing hair in just the right direction with bring out a collar in a dress or help show off the client jewelry pieces! We love bring all the pro's to you so that you know your in the best hands. Mobile barber, Nail techs and more will come to the studio, or set location for a little extra when we have a the request. All this things will help build confidence which intern make for a better image.
The BIGGER picture
Digital techs help maintain a smooth workflow making production quicker, and the best images easy to separate.
Digital Techs can be time saving assets on set. When working with Art Directors, creative directors or other people who will have an eye on the monitor to help cull images, dig techs are life savers.
Digital Techs are on set while photography is taking place. A digital technician's job is to keep a smooth workflow throughout the shoot by assisting in tethered shooting on the other end of the tether cable. When shooting tethered it's important not to have to stop and look at the computer every few seconds, that problem is eliminated with a tech around. Images are photographed, immediately transferred to the computer and backup hard drive where the digital; tech has done his/her handy work. Images are culled, sorted, organized, renamed, and placed into their respective folders. At the end of a shoot one does not have to spend hours culling images, and going back and forth with clients. It can be done simultaneously while the photoshoot is happening. Digital techs help maintain a smooth workflow making production quicker, and the best images easy to separate.
Retouching (Photoshop Editing)
Digital image manipulation is also known as retouching, or photoshop editing. Retouchers have a very important job post processing images to create a polished,near perfect image. The purpose of retouchers are just that. Depending on the client a more subtle touch may be required to simply polish and not tarnish an image. I typically do all my own retouching, but when a job is too big, and demands that images be completed within an unreasonable timeline I will not flinch in passing on the job to a retoucher.
I expect a few things from a retoucher. I need them to understand the type of editing I need, and how to do it subtly, in a way that looks natural. In my opinion, the best way to retouch an image is to make the sophisticated viewer wonder if this girls skin was actually this perfect or not.