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How To: Get Along With People that Shoot Stills

September 26, 2017

This was a big ask: producer asked that I share shoot days with a still photographer. Same lights. Same locations. Same setups. Same day. 


Face it. Everyone is looking for ways to do things in new and efficient ways. This concept was brought up to me as, "Do you think we can do it...and would you be willing to try it?" Sounds fun!


So, I'll go ahead and spoil the story for you. We made it work. Really well, in fact. 


I'd be sharing the day with an insanely talented commercial photographer that works from the OneKreate studios in Columbus. As in every project, we wanted to go in to the shoot with a precise idea of the images we wanted to produce, and a solid method of choreographing the shoot to get it all done in a single day. This all could have been really scary had we not gone in to it with determination and a willingness to champion each other to conquer the challenge.


The task was to create bright, fun, high quality lifestyle images that features a line of handbags and various other packs. Pre-production started with simply communicating, planning out how we would work. Who'd shoot first? What gear? The photographer and I made our broad-stroke decisions, had a quick prep day of picking and packing lighting instruments and gear that we'd drag out to location. Bam.


We walk in to our location that we hadn't seen before, however, knowing the shots we wanted to start with, and a pretty good idea of how to set up that lighting scenario. That same lighting scenario would be repeated for all six of our setups throughout the day: ARRI AS18 into a 8x8 half silk as a bright soft key source, filling in with a KinoFlo 4' 4Bank, and a few Fillex LEDs. 


She is up first with her 5DmkIII tethered to a station running Capture One. I'm standing by, kinda gaffing for her, already set up with my C100mkII, L-Series 24-70 and 70-200. My rig was very basic, with a wide angle Chrosziel matte box with flags to help me control flares, along with an Ikan on-camera monitor so that the client can see what I'm seeing. Very basic. 


We had no formal director for the shoot. The photographer would block talent and direct them around while she was shooting, and I'd do the same when it was motion time. 


And it all went great! Still images would shoot first, capturing moments that she carefully choreographed. I chose to think up little actions for each scenario, thinking through how the edit would go shot-by-shot. With a light and mobile camera rig, I was able to get in to position to get the images I needed and quickly move on to the next scene.

(We didn't pick the music)


The takeaway: plan and communicate. Make it very clear up front with the people you're working with, what you need to get accomplished, and the resources and methods it'll take to get there. 



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