Planning a photo shoot can be an overwhelming process, particularly if you have never done it before. It’s like getting your first tattoo; it requires thought, commitment and probably a whole lot of background research. If you are anything like me, you probably research everything before you fully commit to it. Having dinner? Pre-download the PDF menu and read every single Google review. Booking a hotel? Watch the YouTube videos, Google the images, question whether it’s all worth it, and then potentially taking the plunge. Photo shoots can be quite expensive, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a day before your shoot, you’re frantically scrolling through anything you can find to prepare yourself for the ‘Big Day’.
Here at The Photo Studio, we’ve produced more than 10,000 editorial fashion shoots. So we’ve decided to put your minds to rest and asked our most experienced crew members to give you a full scoop of how your photo shoot would take place.
By Kamilla Bakiyeva
Booking The Shoot
The first step is obviously booking the shoot. After you have contacted us (email/Instagram/phone), our Booking Consultants will take over. They are the ones that make everything possible and provide you with information of booking fees and how the whole process works.
At The Photo Studio we operate on an invite-only basis. This means that it is up to the Booking Consultant to determine whether you are the right fit for a photo shoot with us. We welcome people of all ages, backgrounds and body types and want to make sure that every clients feels comfortable to express themselves freely.
About one week before your photo shoot you will receive a phone call from a Stylist to help plan your outfits and what to bring on the day.
Jen: “The styling call is a chance to discuss a client’s style, what they want to get out of the shoot, their own ideas and visions. We often ask clients to send us a few images as references so the creative team can prepare beforehand. All of our photographers have their own style, so sometimes I even recommend a photographer that would suit them and their theme the best but it depends on the photographer’s availability.”
While we do have a wardrobe at the studio, clients bring their own clothes from home. In terms of outfits, we always shoot 2-4 looks per shoot, but we always encourage clients to bring extras just in case. Sometimes if it’s not too busy, we can squeeze in more looks.”
Having said this, Jen wants you to remember to not stress too much about what you’re going to wear: “Clothing is not the main focus here and you shouldn’t worry too much about it. It doesn’t have to be expensive or over the top as long as it reflects your personality and shows YOU. We don’t want clients to feel like there is a specific box they need to fit in. Their version of casual could involve a bright dress and high heels, which is absolutely fine”
Day Before The Shoot
Chloe, our Head Makeup Artist advises you to stay away from waxing your eyebrows or getting a fake tan a day before your shoot.
“Waxing the brows can leave the skin inflamed and irritated and appear red the day of your shoot. Fake tan really dries out your skin and can look quite patchy on the face. It also usually has an orange undertone, making it hard to match the foundation”
Instead, Chloe recommends to stick to your regular cleansing and moisturising; nothing too harsh or unfamiliar to your skin.
“In terms of the hair, just come with it clean and dry. If your hair gets oily quickly then wash it right before your shoot. If it’s frizzy and dry, maybe come with one day old hair, as sometimes it can be too soft, making it hard to style”
On the Day
Meet and Greet
The day has come! You’re awake. Excited. Ready to nail it. Our creative team are busy running around and preparing for your arrival.
Juan, our Head Photographer in Melbourne, always reads the notes about each client to understand their personalities and interests before he meets them.
“I often create a mood board beforehand, based on all of the information and references I’m given. This makes it easier to set the whole tone and theme of the shoot.”
When you arrive to the studio with your suitcases bursting at the brim, we will begin the experience with Meet and Greet. During this process, the photographer, makeup artist and creative producer get to know the client more and grasp a better understanding of what they want out of the shoot. They also start discussing the pricing of photos and different bundles as well as booking a Viewing Session which normally takes place 1-2 weeks after the shoot.
Juan says that chatting to the clients during the Meet and Greet can really help some people to calm down and start enjoying themselves: “After I show them the mood board and we start discussing our ideas, clients often tend to loosen up a bit and show their excitement. It’s completely normal to be nervous before your shoot, especially if it’s your first time.”
The role of the producer is to bridge the gap between the client and the creative team. Our Head Creative Producer Jindan says that producers are “the center of our creative team as well as in charge of the art direction. During the Meet and Greet, we are really focused on making sure we clearly understand the client’s needs and establish the right solution for them. For example, some clients want to build a modelling portfolio, others are here to boost their confidence. The needs vary and it’s our job to make sure each one of them are being met accordingly.”
Hair and Makeup
After the Meet and Greet it’s over to the makeup chair, where the hair and makeup artists do their magic.
“We tend to keep the makeup really fresh” says Chloe. “Bronzy eyes with nude lips and soft beachy waves are really in style right now. But of course it all depends on a client’s preferences.
We do everything from soft and natural to full blown editorial. When it comes to makeup a lot of clients tell us that they want to still look like themselves, just the best version of themselves. For guys we tend to keep the makeup minimal, a light foundation and hair styling. But some guys like to get creative to and experiment with editorial makeup looks.
The wardrobe styling is a collaborative exercise between the client and the whole creative team. We want to ensure that every item of clothing and accessory chosen fits with the theme of the shoot, including the sets and backdrops, makeup tones and overall aesthetic.
Our Stylist Jen explains how “We all have such different tastes, which can really help the client to experiment and maybe step out of their comfort zone with their own clothes. I always tell clients to bring extra items and the things that they would style differently so we can play around with it.” As the old saying goes, it’s better to have something you don’t need than to need something you don’t have.
Jindan, being both a Creative Producer and fashion designer, says that: “There are so many fashion trends at the moment as well as different personal preferences and styles and we try to combine all of them together. But it’s also about the client, how they feel and what they want this shoot to be like. If it’s for a modelling portfolio, I focus on something more plain and simple that accentuates their features. Other times, we can encourage the client to try something completely crazy and bold.”
Lights, Camera, Action
Once your hair and makeup is perfect and you’ve changed into your first outfit, it’s time for real fun to begin. At this point, the team want you to know that it’s completely normal to feel vulnerable or anxious in front of the lense. Juan often asks his clients to physically move as it helps them to warm up and feel comfortable in their body.
“I always tell them to jump or run and do anything that requires a lot of movement. This really helps to distract the mind and loosen up. After all, the doubts and discomfort are in the head and they can easily be turned into excitement.”
One of the things that makes a photo shoot in our studio so unique is the sheer size and versatility of the space. Both our Sydney and Melbourne studio’s have over 40 different backdrops and sets to choose from, meaning that you will get tonnes of variety from every look.
During the photo shoot, your entire creative team will be on set, ready to support you every step of the way. Your makeup artist will apply touch-ups as you go and a photographers assistants will be on hand to do whatever it takes to get that front page money shot.
After the Shoot
Our Photographers take over a thousand photos per shoot, but they only select the best 60-80 to be double-checked by the Creative Producers and then finally shown to you during the Viewing Session.
Head Creative Producer Jindan says that “The Viewing Session is very important and sometimes could be quite emotional and overwhelming. Of course, not all clients purchase all of the 60 best shots because it can be pricey. I’m here not only to sell you images but also to help clients on the best decision to make. It’s about what’s the best for them and their future needs but also about the fashion industry and what’s on trend. It’s always important to have a knowledge of what these images will be used for. Are they for a modelling portfolio? Social media profile? Personal keepsake? This would normally determine what kind of purchase I would suggest clients to make.”
Products & Packages
The clients can either order digital pictures, prints or wall art. The digital purchases include an option of Screen Resolution Files that are not suitable for printing but are great for sharing with friends and family on social media. The second option is High Resolution Files, that are higher in quality and can also be printed out on a large scale. Both of these digital purchases are stored on a CD and USB and delivered in a custom-built box right to your doorstep.
Our prints options include individual fine-art prints as well as leather-bound portfolio albums. Portfolio’s range from 5 to 40 pages, depending on your budget and needs.
After the final photographs are selected, all of the purchases are then sent to our Post-Production Department in Sydney. Your Creative Producer will show you a range of retouching options – from light to heavy – so that the finished product captures you in way that makes you feel proud of the way you look.
And that is how we do it at The Photo Studio! As you can tell, there is a lot going on behind the scenes to bring a photo shoot to life. It’s a process that requires a lot of thought, creativity and teamwork but in the end it’s all worth it! Witnessing our clients’ faces and reactions when they see their final images is what motivates and encourages us to keep going. Our clients inspire us every day to push the boundaries in fashion photography and ensure that all types of people are represented in the media.
Finally, we asked The Photo Studio crew if they had a parting message for all of the people who are excited to do a shoot but still feeling nervous.
Juan: “I see nervousness and excitement as the same feeling of anticipation. We are here to make you feel confident, without a fear of being judged. There’s no standards, you can do anything you want in front of the camera. We as photographers are inspired by silliness and weirdness, just be yourself and it will be an empowering experience. After all, both you and I want the same thing: to take beautiful pictures.”
Jindan: “Our job is not only creating visual resumes for modelling industries but also making you feel confident and loved. There are no rules in the photo shoot, just passion and excitement from everyone involved. Be your own unique self and remember there is a whole team of professionals involved that are here to make you feel as comfortable and confident as we can.”
Chloe: “There is no right or wrong way to do a photo shoot. Everyone does it differently and there is no specific ‘guideline’ that you must follow. Things that you think look awkward or weird, end up looking amazing on the camera.”
Jen: “We are here to help you look your best self. Don’t ever be ashamed of how you look, or what box you fit in. Your job is to be excited and happy, the rest is on us.”