Jan 20, 2010

Shooting an Editorial: Pre-Production

I've written about and posted to my Flickr stream plenty of technical info about my shoots, but what about the operational stuff?  The nitty-gritty planning and pre-production that has to happen before I get to pick up a camera and make pictures?

In this case, I've got a fashion editorial "spec submission" that I'm shooting later this week that I think makes a perfect case study.

Jan 17, 2010

Location Scouting

Let's get this one out right away: location scouting?  Not my favorite thing in the world, not at all.

I've got so much respect for the people who do it professionally.  Back when I worked in television I was always blown away when the scouts would pop open their location info binder and have first choices plus multiple backups for everything, multiple Polaroids of each location, contact info for the owners, maps to everything...and I had absolutely no interest in being the guy collecting all of that stuff.

But let's face it - being in the studio can get boring sometimes.  I love "happy accidents", and that kind of unexpected inspiration comes more readily when you're out in the world.  Sometimes you've got to take the shoot outside and give up a little of that control if you want the really cool stuff.  And that means finding places to take the shoot to.

Jan 7, 2010


Keep.  It.  Simple.  (Stupid.)

Listen, we all have our "look", our creative point of view, we all want to put our personal stamp on images and make them stand out from the crowd.  I get it.  But we become like kids let loose in the kitchen to make dessert: adding sprinkles, adding frosting, adding hot fudge, adding, adding, adding, adding.

What's wrong with a nice sugar cookie?

What's wrong with subtracting?

January 23-24 Photo Workshops

Just a little reminder that we're still taking registrations for my studio photography/lighting workshops, being held on January 23rd and 24th!  Space is getting limited for the 24th but there are still one or two spots available.

Saturday's session will be a solid primer on studio photography and lighting for the advanced amateur or intermediate photographer.  We'll be looking at things from the perspective of a portrait or fashion photographer and covering studio basics, metering, use of accessories like appleboxes and flags, grey cards and utilizing simple one- and two-light setups.

Sunday's session will be intended for photographers with a focus on fashion work.  We'll spend much of the day discussing self-promotion, working with model agencies, constructing a portfolio, testing, the differences between shooting for a "real person" and shooting for wardrobe, working with a team.  Additionally, we'll be demonstrating and working with several lighting setups especially-suited to fashion work.

More information is available at my site - if you have any questions or would like to register, just send me an email at booking@simongerzina.com.

Jan 2, 2010

What is "Testing"?

Let's think of this as "one from the mailbag".  It comes up a lot on community sites and message boards, via email, in my workshops:

What does "testing" mean?  I see it referred to a lot in reference to fashion shoots and I'm a little confused.

One caveat: my answer is in the context of a major industry market (New York City, in my case) and may not apply the same way in smaller and local markets.  In general, the major markets (NYC, LA, Chicago, Miami...London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Shanghai) all behave in the same way...but all bets are off in the smaller markets, where every agency and client and photographer is reinventing the wheel.

Let me start with what "testing" doesn't mean:

It doesn't mean "I'm shooting a proof-of-concept for a commercial/client project and I'm going to use a model to stand in for it so I can try out a technique and show the results to my client before we pay the real talent."

It doesn't mean "come stand in for me while I test out new equipment."

It doesn't mean "a model agency is going to have a model do a dry-run photo shoot in order to decide whether he/she is worth signing."

It doesn't mean "you're going to model for me for free for a quick shoot in order for me to decide whether you're worth paying to model for a longer shoot."

So what does it mean?