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Sunday, February 15, 2009

••◊ Preparing for a shoot...

My friend and co-worker Ken is a part time music producer. He and his wife own a production and artist development company called Active Audio & Entertainment. Like a lot of us in the art world he holds down a bill paying job and then (blatent theft of trademark) kicks it up a notch in the evenings recording local musicians and mixing their songs. His wife's specialty seems to be bringing in teenage girls as artist development clients. She teaches vocal lessons, he handles the engineering side. What they are missing is the artist promotion side of the business, which can be tricky.

What happenned is that they asked me to step in and take some photos of one of their teenage clients for myspace and her general portfolio. Miss aspiring musician (M.A.M.) is a 13 year old girl who sings and plays the piano. The first step in the process is that I met with her and her mom to find out what sort of personality M.A.M. has. You certainly don't want to plan to shoot bubble gum teeny-bopper pictures if she is into Norah Jones and vice versa. Turns out that M.A.M. is into emotionally charged pop music with a slower vibe. ...and as a side note - thank goodness I don't have to listen to Brittany Spears during the shoot! If you read my earlier post about going with personality then this part of the post probably isn't a surprise.

The next step is to make a cheat sheet. We have to get an entire portfolio in a day so what I did was make an Excel spreadsheet that gives location, description of shot, wardrobe, makeup, and inspiration.

M.A.M. and her mom needed to go buy clothes for the shoot, so the wardrobe and makeup part helped them. I also included estimated times for lunch and dinner breaks. Considering how many photos we have to cover I thought it was prudent to provide example photographs of the look we are trying to achieve. I call these inspiration because sometimes it's just the lighting, sometimes it's the way the person holds their hands, and sometimes it's just a blatent copy. The point is to get great photos that help promote M.A.M., not to re-invent photography with some brand new experimental technique; so I don't mind stealing inspiration. Two people never come off with the same personality even with identical photo setups.

The last step in the process happens the night before the shoot. All batteries are charged, the camera is brought back to its baseline configuration (white balance, color space, ISO, aperature, mode, focus point, exposure...etc). Then it's just a good night's sleep.

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