1. When participating in a high production shoot, how do you prepare?
NA: As a stylist, my first objective is to gain a thorough sense of the concept. Theme, locations, direction (high fashion, art, political statement, professional/commercial, etc.). After I secure the model(s) sizing info, and budget (if any), I pull appropriate pieces from my own collection and then source from friends and shops. I load up on accessories and layers, and come up with a few specific looks ahead of time, but I really enjoy playing and editing on set (that freedom depends on how relaxed or accute the production is).
SS: Each person goes about preparing for a production in a variety of ways. I find that the most important thing you can do is communicate. Being open and timely about your communication is honestly the key to having a successful team of people. Be honest about your needs & try your best to tend to other’s the best you can. If you email me once during the entire production, I’m probably more concerned than I am feeling satisfied in your skill set. A truly talented person knows the correct questions to ask and isn’t afraid to ask them!
AM: I put a lot of though into the ideas behind my shoots. I spend hours searching the internet for inspiration as well as tear sheets that show the ideas that I already have going on in my head so that everyone on set has a good idea of what I'm going for. It really helps get everyone on the same page when there is something to look at rather than just trying to describe an idea or mood your going for.
DS: Usually I'm filling a tech role of some kind, so most of my prep involves making sure all the gear is ready to go. I check with the photographer to make sure I have the right cables for their camera model, as well as extra batteries if possible. Technical stuff should, ideally, never get in the way of the actual creative work on set, so ideally I have a backup of everything ready to swap out to keep things running smoothly.
Depending on the scale of the shoot, there's also just some mental preparation- there are pretty much always going to be problems you don't see coming, so just getting ready in your head for shit to hit the fan is useful. Having backups of things helps here as well- I'm a lot less likely to get flustered on set if I know there's another camera body or hard drive to bring out in case of emergency.
If I'm the photographer on a set, my biggest priority is having a clear vision of what I want from a shoot and to have a way to communicate it clearly. Everybody gets frustrated if there's no clear direction, and it slows things down. Of course there's always room for change- but a clear starting point is hugely helpful in getting the shoot started.
2. How do you use social media when on set? Do you find it helpful to shoot Instagram stories or do you wait to post the actual images?
NA: I love BTS photos! I think it helps to engage your followers throughout the process. My instagram is actually mostly BTS, as I work mainly in film production and it’s tricky navigating the NDAs.
SS: Instagram stories are an insanely valuable attribute to one’s Instagram presence because it allows users to engage with content in a new way. I like to make polls, share photos & give people an opportunity to know me outside of “Hi look at my photography!” If people feel like they have a relationship with the artist/person themselves, they’re more likely to reach out to you.
AM: I like doing a little bit of social media on set. I like to give my followers a little sneak peek of what I'm working on.
DS: I'm pretty terrible at using social media regularly. I always plan on doing Instagram stories and then forget once the shoot gets going. It's something I'm aiming to improve upon this coming year.
3. What advice would you give someone who is newer in your field if they wanted work on a bigger set?
NA: Find a seasoned professional who you can shadow or assist, never think you’re too good to assist. Even the most experienced still help out colleagues from time to time. Also, be open to working in other departments on set. You can learn so much from other people, and build the connections you need to get brought onto future projects as the role you’re seeking. ALWAYS be friendly, positive and helpful, and present excellent work quality 100% of the time.
SS: Network network network!! Opportunities won’t come to you, you come to them.
AM: If you want to work on a bigger set I say that organization and planning are key. The bigger the set you have the more you need to plan. Don't try to get on set and wing it. Plan in advance and think of the ways that you can get all the people on set on the same page. Because when everyone is on the same page and working together, beautiful things happen.
DS: Since other photographers are already answering this question, I'll talk more about assisting and teching. The best thing you can do is generally to slow down. There's a push to get things done fast on set- which is definitely important, everybody's time on set is valuable- but if you rush something and have to do it again, it'll slow things down even more than a more methodical approach. And when you're managing the files from a shoot, a sloppy mistake can mean losing images or misplacing them, which could cause some real issues later down the line. Taking a few extra minutes to properly set up back ups or name files is way better than being the reason for a reshoot. This goes for assisting as well- speed is great, until you trip over a cable and take out a bunch of lights. When you're new, it's easy to get caught up and forget basic safety. So just relax and take a second to think before you act.
As a model for almost ten years, I find myself learning new things everyday. This blog is a way to share my stories, images that may not be on my main board, and interesting things abut modeling and my life.