Michelle and I take hundreds of photos, most of them are not cute, but all you need are a few good ones!
I’ll be the first to admit that Instagram is so not reality. In an effort to keep it real and bring you behind the scenes a bit more, Dani and I thought that taking your inside a photo shoot would be a fabulous topic for this month’s That’s Money, Honey series!
How To Prepare For a Fashion Photo Shoot
I wrote a post about this topic last year, but now that I work with Michelle I thought I’d give you guys an update.
Before The Fashion Photo Shoot
Now that I’m a bit more established (it sure doesn’t feel that way sometimes!), my shoots aren’t just about displaying outfits. I’m showcasing products, services, and places, too! While the outfit is extremely important, and most of the time the clothing is the focal point of the shoot, the creative process actually has to start a little bit earlier than the night before.
Michelle and I have a shared google calendar where I put all my campaign deadlines. That way we stay organized.
Some of my favorite photos have been lucky coincidences! Like stumbling upon a perfect location or pose.
Fashion Photo Shoot: The Creative Process
Every outfit, every product, and every season has a different vibe. We try our best to create a mood while still sticking to the Glass of Glam brand. Which is lighthearted, urban, and always fun. For example, Christmas in Chicago is all about twinkly lights, New York Fashion week is a bit more edgy, and a sweet feminine dress has to be bright and cheery.
With so many locations in Chicago, our heads sometimes spin. We take note of specific locations we like and match them with the vibe we’re going for. Sometimes the location is obvious, and sometimes it takes a bit more sleuthing. Just last week, we we trekked to a new floral mural in town to shoot for an Herbal Essences Campaign. It was the perfect match! Other times we sometimes have to walk or drive around and wait for inspiration to strike. Some of my favorite photos have been the product of a random burst of creativity.
Freezing my butt off for test shots
The Day of The Photo Shoot
On the day of the fashion photo shoot, we typically do 3-4 looks. That means a lot of changing in weird places (yes, like a portable bathroom on the Chicago Riverwalk) and freezing my butt off. Michelle probably has a bazillion test shots like the one above with me shivering before we started posing.
I used to care about what random bystanders thought about our shoots, but now I’m completely over it. I would hide in alleyways and try to strategically pick spots that would have less foot traffic, but I wouldn’t get the shots I wanted. People still like to say snarky things like “sorry to ruin your Instagram photo!” or shout things through their car windows, but I just smile and remember that I’m the one being paid to run around town with my best friend and take fun photos. Now we pose in the median of Michigan avenue, in the middle of Times Square, at museums around town, and I literally could not care less.
Our main focus is to get the shot we’re looking for. Once I stopped caring what other people were thinking or about how many people would be gawking at our process, is when the creative magic really started to shine through. Remember that you’re the expert in your brand and your process, and that will give you the confidence to get the job done!
Welp that was a cute face!
What Goes Into The Final Product
Michelle is the magician behind this part! But since I took my own blog photographs for a long time I have a pretty good idea of what happens. Plus when we were stuck in the airport on our way back from NYFW, she gave me a mini lesson.
Michelle culls through all the photos and removes my frozen test shots, ones where my eyes are closed, the pose is awkward, or for whatever reason she doesn’t like it. We talk about filters, moods, and vibes before hand, so she knows what direction to take.
Then she works her photo magic! You can especially see the wizardry in the photo below. The lights were shining in such a way in Times Square, that she lowered her camera’s exposure to capture as much as possible. Later on, she revealed the vibrant colors in her editing software and added color to balance the photograph. I really need to interview her for the blog so you guys can learn from her!
Before and after photo transformation. Skilled editing is a huge part of reaching your desired final product.
We twirled and flapped and played with this pose until we got it right. And once we figured out what looked cool, we did that same dress pull over and over until we got the shot!
Instagram versus Reality
I want you guys to remember, that what you see on Instagram is a long contrived process. We make specific decisions all the way from the beginning of the idea to when we finally choose to post. Think about the massive amount of photos we take, the perfect pose, ideal location, and ultimate photo editing. It’s no wonder we sometimes look at someone’s feed and think “gosh…their life looks perfect!” If only we posted all the bloopers and shots we cast aside. You’d see that is not the case.
The photo shoot is a creative art that I’m still learning to perfect, but we sure have fun in the meantime!
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