Planning for photography

Planning a musician's portrait shoot

Successful photographic sessions are built on planning. Pre-production solves problems before they become problems. That’s why it’s so important. It  can include location scouting, meetings with prop & wardrobe stylists, model casting, set drawings, background selection and of course the lighting design that sets the photographic mood. Here’s a look at the planning involved in creating a photo shoot for Atlanta musician Jeff Paige.

Our discussions started almost a year before the first pre-production meeting. It started with a long look at Jeff’s hair.

Looks over timeAtlanta musician Jeff Paige's many looks

Jeff has been coming to my studio for portraits for several years. These photos chronicle his looks. After we had made the third one, I suggested Jeff spend some time with a really great hair stylist, John Teitter artistic director of Bang! Salon. John’s assessment of Jeff’s hair was to “wait ten months then come back.” Looks take time to evolve. During the interim Jeff and I met to discuss the photographic look. Ideas that came up were a long lens, dusk, fog possibly lit from behind with a car’s headlights and a spot light on his face.

The shoot

Jeff along with his stylist Jypsy Nichols, an assistant and I met at the studio to “commit photography.”

The set

The background is a photograph’s anchor. For me, that makes it the starting place for every photo I make. This time I wanted a some lines curving on a painted muslin backdrop. Shadows on the drop did the job. The idea for the photo to take place at dusk led me to color the drop with blue light. Throwing the backdrop out of focus adds mystery.Music Portraits backgrounds

Hair light

Building the look required light streaming through Jeff’s hair from behind. I used a flash with a colored piece of gel to make it red. The clamps holding the gel make it easy to change the color.2785-1161

Choice of looks

All of the planning during pre-production leads to the opportunity to make creative decisions.  Planning puts all of the pieces in place to explore possibilities. I believe in working those possibilities during a session to provide my client with choices.Jeff red and plain lit hair copy

Next up…

The behind the scenes elements are in place. The next post details lighting decisions, the mist and fog effects as well as some of Jeff’s favorite photographs from the shoot.

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