About Photoshoots

Recently I posted a question on my Facebook, asking if there’s any topics that anyone would (actually) like to me touch on, and after going through the replies, I’ve decided to combine two of the suggestions into one entry since it was all about photoshoots.


What makes a good/bad photoshoot?

Some will say photoshoots are tedious and takes tons of preparations, in my opinion, it really depends on what kind of photoshoot we’re talking about. Commercial shoots naturally takes a lot of time and effort for the preparation stage, it involves a lot of brainstorming and sharing sessions with your team to decide on what the final result is going to be. Today, I’m lazy let’s be simple and just touch on personal or test shoots so I don’t bore anyone (if any).

Test shoots to me are pretty easy, since they are usually for model’s portfolio and/or makeup artist and stylist portfolios as well. If I’m the one who initiate the shoot, I’d come up with the concept, story (which is usually very simple and to the point) and looks. And since I do almost all the stylings for the shoot, naturally I’d have total control over what outfits to put the models in.

For makeup and hair, I’d use the good old reliable Google. However, since modeling agencies usually prefer that the models to not have too much makeup on them. WHY? Reason is simple, because the model’s features needs to be seen. That is one of the deciding factors that clients will decide during the go-see if they like what they saw in their books. Oh damn that is so boring! One might think, but we can always turn this into a win-win situation. What I usually do, is shoot what the agency wants for the model first, then I’d add in additional looks just for play and experiment.

How is that possible?! We only have half day and sometimes less than half day to shoot!

Then it’s really up to how good you are. It takes time to train oneself to be able to shoot and get exactly what you need/want. Which is why planning is still important, even for test shoots. It doesn’t need to be complicated, I like to keep things simple. Go into a shoot, knowing exactly what you want out of it, and achieve it within a limited time frame, that is what every professional photographers should and be able to do. Well of course sometimes there are exceptions, but it’s always good training and keep yourself focused. And also be ready for anything that doesn’t go right. Because we all know that one simple and annoying rule: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

I’ve had unexpected incidents like camera just decided to hang and everything seemed to get stuck. Lights that just decided they were going on strike on the very day I had a job, weather problems, wardrobe malfunctions, miscommunications etc. My shoots are never perfect, but I have memorable shoots that will always comes up whenever I share my experiences.

So exactly what makes a good or bad photoshoot?

It is all up to you.

A good photoshoot can turn bad if you go in there without the knowledge to help support what you wish to achieve, or being able to respond to any situations that may come up and ruin your day, and sometimes no amount of pre shoot preparations can help you,trust me on that. However, if you are able to deal with problems on the spot, you can always turn a bad photoshoot into a good one, or at least get something good out of it.

It’s all about your attitude.

What annoys me at a photoshoot

A lot of things will annoy me. I’m usually very tensed when it comes to photoshoots, be it a job or a test. Because I want to get exactly what I had in mind, I was told that I should never compromise. Because if I do, I’d compromise the quality of my work, and I’d end up with images that I’d probably hate for the rest of my life. But that doesn’t mean I’m not flexible. I take in suggestions and advice from my team all the time, balancing within if it works or it doesn’t, and then I’d decide if I’d go ahead with the suggestion.

And then sometimes, some things just doesn’t work out. The only time I was pissed beyond words, was one of the worst experience I’ve had. And unfortunately it was a model. She actually managed to make my poor makeup artist cry (which I only found out after the shoot because I was away recceing the location and discussing with my assistant that time) because she refused to cooperate. And she went on to further criticize my client’s products in front of the client herself. Such unprofessional attitude totally pissed me off, and it only got worse when we were told we could not send her back and have a replacement. I finished the shoot as fast as possible, and then send her home, later I discussed with my client to reshoot some of the pieces.

So that was it. The main thing that totally annoyed me on a photoshoot, was a bad attitude. It usually ruins everything. Just that simple. Hence I had this pin attached to my camera strap permanently to remind everyone and myself included whenever we go on set.

ImageThere we have it.

Though sidetracked a bit, but I hope I’ve answered the two questions clearly. If there’s anything that you’re curious to ask, feel free to let me know! 😀