Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What to Expect on a Pre-Shoot Meet-up

Every photographer, stylists or designer might be a little different. But in the hope of fostering a smooth operation we thought that we might share what things are covered in the typical pre-Photoshoot meet-up. 

Not to say that all meet ups are the same. In fact, even ours will vary depending on the intended project or objective. If we're meeting someone for the very first time without any creative preamble then the meet-up is likely just to get to know each other creatively and to understand what each of us wants from the creative collaboration. If it's someone we know well and have worked with a time or two then chances are we're just discussing the details of a shared idea or group of ideas we'd like to pursue. Additionally it may be that we're meeting a makeup artist or a hair stylist or even a designer for the first time. The conversation will be different for each of them.

But when it comes to models, many if not most of the the meet-ups are the same. The items discussed include but are not limited to:
1. Setting and understanding image use rules 
2. Copyright Law
3. Nudity vs non-nudity, implied
4. Area of interests - fashion, beauty, lingerie, glamour, swimwear, cosplay, etc.
5. Limitations - schedule, availability, escorts vs non-escorts, body shame issues, level of comfort, what is deemed a non-starter, look limits, what can you do and what can't you do vs what you're best suited for. 
6. Compensation (if applicable)
7. Establishing and setting expectations (punctuality, time of shoot, showing up prepared and what that means, handling cancellations and reschedules, MUAHs, stylists and designer benchmarks).
8. Review or referencing current portolfio(s) (wants & needs)
9. Idea sharing and establishing baseline creative guidelines (if applicable); look books, mood boards 
10. Pre Photo shoot prep
11. How to handle submissions.
12. Post shoot editing and turnaround time estimates.
13. Publishing rules (if applicable) 
14. Model release review.
15. Get fitted for clothing or looks, (measurements) if applicable. 

At first glance, it seems to be an intensive meet-up outline but the actual meet itself is quite casual and in most cases they've been a lot of fun and more so than not they are conversational and laid back. Besides, who doesn't like talking creative over drinks, coffee, lunch or whatever he case may be? 

Doing a prospect meet-up is by far the most effective way to get the best images and have a great creative relationship post project. Models I've met with first perform at a much higher level than those I had never met prior. We suspect we do as well. Performing better usually equates to more images and/or higher quality images. Additionally, getting to know someone beforehand is great for establishing a level of comfort. Comfort and confidence is paramount to getting those believable captures. Those first few minutes, hours or looks are always a bit awkward even for the most seasoned professionals. Therefore having already met your creative partners will set the proper tone immediately. 

If too much time elapses prior to a project, a second meet-up might be a great idea if it's reasonably accommodated by all participates. When meets go as planned, no one will be in shock on how the shoot will go, be in the dark on what will happen on the shoot or who will be bringing what or why. Nor is anyone ever bitter about what they received or didn't receive. It's a perfect arrangement. 

On occasion it bodes well to meet up with someone we've (or I've) worked with before simply to discuss a unique idea or just to have an idea swap or refresher on what's next. Generally it's not a must unless the idea or project being considered is more involved or may require multiple participants or resources to execute. I also doesn't matter if the project is a paid assignment or not. I'd prefer it all the same. 

Now these sessions aren't always absolutely carved in stone kind of necessary. But for us they've become nearly a requirement for new talent or individuals I've never worked with. But it really depends on the individual and our perceived level of engagement towards giving them what they expect and what we would deem worthwhile. Basically we want everyone to walk away thrilled with their experience and that includes us.