It’s all about the client. Client decisions and requests can seem stifling on a shoot, but you must remember at all times that without them you wouldn’t have a job.
Fashion companies and magazines produce photoshoots to advertise their products, expressing a particular lifestyle ideal to their individual target markets. The competition to stay on-trend and fresh is fierce. When any company spends money there must be good reason for it, with high potential for return on the investment. Therefore these shoots are not spur-of-the-moment road trips—there are specific marketing needs that must be met and consequences if the final product fails to generate profit.
A client’s presence on set can create a formal environment, but they should not be feared. It’s true that they can be powerful, intimidating people who make you feel like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, but they can also be lovely, passionate people who are willing to hand over the reigns completely. Be con dent in your abilities—you were booked for a reason and if necessary respond to them in terms of their brief. Explain your decisions and how they promote the needs of the company and the image they aim to portray. Always respect their position, even when their ideas are impossible to achieve in the location and with a lighting system they themselves specified and you just spent hours setting up. Learn to roll with it.
Yes, they may know nothing about photography, or cameras, or lighting, and they can decide they want to change the background or the entire set-up at any point, but the best photographers can make a client feel as though they’ve changed everything to suit their needs when actually only a few minor variations have occurred.
A lot of other voices on a working set want to be heard as well: art directors, producers, company CEOs, everybody wants to share their opinion and feel that their input will have a positive impact in some way. Collaborating is what makes fashion photography fun, and if you keep the overall objectives of the project in mind there is room for experimentation. Assuming you’re shooting digitally, listen, quickly shoot a frame, check the difference, and then respectfully agree or disagree.
Tips for managing shoots
- Too many cooks – Opinions can vary widely on set and at times it will seem impossible to please everybody. Don’t worry, this happens to every photographer, just try to keep calm and open-minded as much as possible in this scenario.
- Keep control – The client has a certain amount of control behind the scenes, but only you can maintain your relationship with the model on set. You are their point of reference for direction and only your voice should be heard when shooting is in progress.
With Shooting Models photographers and models alike will learn the key skills to help them advance in the business: top model Franki Falkow and pro photographer Adam Duckworth collaborate to cover all the bases, from booking models to lighting technique. Breaking the process down into logical stages means you won’t put a foot wrong: results will be stunning, and it will be an experience you’ll repeat time and again.