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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photo Shoot Yesterday - What Fun! (And Lessons Learned)

I'm not saying it was impromptu - it was definately planned - but this was my first invitation to a photo shoot that I didn't set up and arrange. Karen W., marketing guru and genius, arranged with her dear friend Janice, of AutumnCat Studios, to do a shoot at our place.

Janice and her husband Jerry show up, full equipment; lights, reflectors, heavy-duty camera. We ID a great place in the house, they hang huge backdrop, we get fabulous natural light. Shoot commences. Karen and I alternate; mostly "professional" for her, and a different form of "professional" (dance costume) for me.

Three lessons learned:
1) Per Janice, lighting is everything. Most of her needing a photographer's assistant (aka husband Jerry as "Set Monkey") is that she needed someone to adjust background lighting precisely, and to hold the reflector precisely. Test shots are more about lighting than pose. I'm getting it. Photography is not so much about the camera, it's about the lighting. First lesson of the day: Understanding and working with photographers' lighting is why it's important to work with someone who's good. Thank you, Janice! Can't wait to see the proofs!

2) Costumes. Omigod, costumes. After two years of writing, all my costume stuff is in disarray. I barely pulled together two costumes for the shoot; much to do with cries of anguish as safety-pins exploded. Second lesson for the day: Get costumes altered & adjusted for fit, tested, organized, and "preopositioned." That means, everything that needs to come together for a specific costume "look" has to be stored together; not in separate places all over the house. One costume needs one dedicated set of jewelry & accessories, not to be shared with other costumes, unless I'm taking them out to play with creating different "looks." (This is not to be done fifteen minutes before the shoot, but rather on a calm at-home Saturday.)

3) False eyelashes are an enormous hassle and take huge amounts of time. But for shoots, they're worth it! Third lesson: Allow extra time for false eyelashes (or "falsies" of any sort), and more time thereafter to remove them, clean them, and store them. And more time to recover from the trauma of adrenaline from any kind of mini-performance (photo shoots count), making costume fixes, and putting on and putting-up-with weird things glued to the eyelash line. So the real third lesson is: Allow extra time for everything.

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