Signature Homestyles, a company founded to offer the widest selection of unique home decor items available for purchase via in-home gatherings, has been a long standing client here and we thought that you’d love to see a “behind the scenes” look at the making of the imagery for their upcoming 2017 catalog. You can learn more about their company and their exciting product offerings at: https://www.signaturehomestyles.com
FIRST, A LITTLE BACKGROUND
When I tell people what I do for a living, those with no knowledge of photography at all always remark on what an exciting life I must lead. To those with no experience in this industry, the life of a photographer is usually supposed to be how the job is often portrayed in films – photographer turns up to a shoot, presses a few buttons on a set that’s ready and waiting for them and then goes out drinking with the models. Of course, things are a lot less glamorous but far more interesting than that! Let’s take a look at an average shoot day in my life as a commercial photographer.
SO WHAT’S OUR PROCESS?
Several weeks before the shoot day
Signature Homestyles contacts our team to schedule shooting days and delivery of all their merchandise to the studio. rings up or emails requesting a quote to shoot corporate headshots. Being a large company, this usually means that there will be several shipments, plus many page layout review sessions to gain an understanding of the styling for the catalog and the photography we’ll be shooting.
A week before the shoot day
Client emails with a final description of what they are looking for, and works with us to set shooting dates. With that set, we embark upon our internal “production planning” so that we devise the perfect workflow for the project, and start to stage the merchandise, sets and propping so that we can dive right in on “shoot day".
Shoot day #1
Up early to wend our way through rush hour traffic to get to the studio, get things turned on and most importantly, to brew a big pot of industrial strength coffee. Even when you’ve worked with a client for a long time, there can always be some of the usual confusion as client representatives arrive and break the news of “last minute changes” for some of the day’s shots. We review the layouts, adjust lighting and then begin the task of setup and shooting.
Workflow & the art of being a people person
People who work in the corporate world are busy and in general have 17 different things on their mind, even during a studio shoot. Because of that, it’s critical to keep the atmosphere light, fun, and energetic. Being a photographer means being a people person. Each subject must be judged quickly and an appropriate approach taken for each. Engage shy clients in conversation to help them forget the stress, tell bad jokes and banter with the more confident – all the while directing and moving merchandise, sets and props to keep the workflow rolling.
We analyze and upload photos to our servers as the shoot moves along. Setting up actions in Photoshop ahead of time saves a huge amount of time and makes the retouching process far faster.
Lunch break, as is often the way on busy shoots, consists of some “hand food" consumed in breaks between shots. Shoot day #1 wraps up at 6:30pm, after a long day of photographing many different items. Back aches a little, so it’s home for an early night.
After the shoot
So as the weeklong shoot is progresses towards completion, we continue sorting through all the photographs. As the photos have already been converted from RAW files and the lighting was set up correctly, it’s usually just a case of resizing images and cropping to suit.
A month later
After numerous emails and several phone calls it’s decided we’ll need "one more day” to shoot some special merchandise from another category. Given that we still have the sets and propping readily at hand, that extra day goes off without a hitch, and yet another catalog photography project wraps up..
Despite the little trial and tribulations that can pop up along the way with any shoot, I genuinely love what I do and the fact that every day in my professional life is different.