Retouching is a Real Job

It’s a wrap and we’ve finally reached the last chapter of this column – the post-production. But don’t crow too soon! There’s very much to learn about the different aspects of post-production… We’re in fact going to deal with three different sections composed of several articles on A. the photo editing, B. the buyout, and C. the data-handling. So relax your shoulders, take a deep breath in and press your worry stone, because there’s work ahead of us. As the client, your part in the editing process will mainly be to judge the results, select which pictures need to be retouched, and instruct the editor about the formats and style you wish to have as well as pointing out the flaws that need to be corrected. Doesn’t sound too hard of a task, right?
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corona regulations, hygiene concept for photo and video productions

How to photo/video shoot during the COVID-19 pandemic

The end of 2020 is near and, due to the Coronavirus, we’ve all had to live up to unusual rules, especially in terms of our social lives but also of how we work in photo and video productions safely. Despite all efforts and the upcoming vaccines, uncertainties and limitations are likely to be part of our professional activities for some time to come, at least to be expected for the first half of 2021. This is demanding a fair bit of flexibility, responsibility, and therefore, focussing on new topics, especially hygiene, to ensure that producing photography and videos isn’t turning into super-spreader events.
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Simulation of a typical photo production day

So the shooting day has arrived and you’re as good as certain excited to go about the production. If you feel any nervousness, don’t worry as you’ve probably done a good job with preparing and hiring a professional team who has your back. Even if unexpected obstacles occur they can probably be solved if everyone keeps calm and uses their expert brains. And hey, even in the worst-case life goes on. A photo shoot won’t cause your whole business to go belly-up, however, you can learn from all mistakes that might happen (now or in the past) to do it better next time. Therefore, transform any feelings of tension into motivation and cheerfulness. Your positive vibes will certainly rub off on the team and remove some of the pressure.
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Let’s say it loud and clear

As I’m praising in tips No. 21 and 22 where it’s about creating and verifying a mood board that illustrates your concept communicating with the team is the way to get the results that you want for your campaign. From the visuals to the negotiations and booking based on contracts to the clocking of the day’s routine, everything is a way of providing information but can sometimes be subject to misunderstandings when lacking personal communication – be it verbal or written. This article is, therefore, devoted to the importance of transparency and dedicated talking. Eventually, the photo shoot can only go according to the proposed plan if those who are commissioned to fulfil it know every aspect of what you had in mind. Integrating this inherent part in the process of preparing the production will prevent time-consuming and stressful discussions on set as well as keep up a good atmosphere of friendly co-working on top of a flawless photographic result.
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Book your storybook team

With your concept in the shape of a mood board and as soon as you have a clear notion of the budget that you’d like to spend on your new campaign photos you can begin to book your professional team and everything you’ll need for the production additionally. Like it’s described in tip no. 4 there’s more to include in the calculation than just the main players (which are the models, the photographer, the hair & make-up artist, the fashion stylist, and possibly an external art director). After all, they could certainly all use assistants and some set runners who are there to help wherever they’re needed. In specific cases location supervisors or security guards are necessary, the latter especially when you shoot with valuable products like jewellery. And as we’re dealing with humans who have basic needs there’s no way around organising catering for the day. On top of all the fees for the people involved there possibly are equipment, location, and prop rents to be paid, or other things to be bought. Last but not least a fair part of your expenses are flowing into your license that allows you to actually use the resulting photos for your purpose.
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Let your mood board undergo a reality check

Following the guidelines of my last tip, your mood board may by now be ready to be seen by others. At this point, always be careful with the copyrights of the mood material because sharing will be a form of publication for which you actually need a license of each copyright holder and the models shown (and on top of that the legal prerequisites are different in every country). In order to be on the complete safe side here, you can find a good range of useful creative commons photos on stock photo platforms some of which even offer images for free, e.g. Unsplash, Pexels, or pixabay. If you’re seeking even more professional content that was for example published in fashion magazines earlier, you can find a good variety on gettyimages, however, you’ll need to invest a bit of cash in it. Besides the copyright aspect, this article treats a few further stages where you’ll be able to touch up the mood board and make it a masterpiece. 
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Mastering the art of mood board creation

After reading the last article’s advice you might be eager to finally learn how to create a mood board by yourself, according to your own shooting idea. Ultimately, it’s the most creative part in a campaign shoot and it secretly makes you the true artist. Yet, for some, it might not be clear what a mood board is exactly, let alone what to consider a good versus a great mood board. By definition, mood boards can be different kinds of presentations that combine images, text, etc. on a topic to convey a feeling about it. Such a mood board can serve as a script that, at first, wins over a good photo team and then functions like a briefing that everybody draws on during the preparation and the production day. Therefore, mood boards are communication tools and a superior one clearly distinguishes which pictures are describing what elements of the photo shoot resp. which guidelines are who’s cup of tea. After all, you certainly want to avoid that the hair & make-up artist styles a model after a mood picture that was actually just there to characterise the light situation you wanted. 
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How to get inspired for a campaign shoot

The last three tip articles have revealed to us who is needed to execute a photo shoot successfully. Now, as we know that we’re dealing with a team of at least 4 people (a photographer, a model, a hair & make-up artist and a fashion stylist) we want to make sure that everyone shares the same vision of what is going to be produced so that they can do their best in their fields. Therefore, this article and the following two are going to treat the most important puzzle piece of any photo shoot: the concept and its making.
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Hire a fashion stylist and your products will look their best

In the fashion industry, we usually say ‘stylist’ when we’re referring to the fashion/wardrobe stylist. Therefore, they are often confused with the hairstylist or even the make-up artist by non-professionals. Many people aren’t aware of the fact that a photoshoot with people requires a fashion stylist but they are indeed a necessity even if you advertise a car or a new toothbrush – not to mention when you want to sell the fashion itself. In the following, I’m going to name a couple of reasons why hiring a stylist will make the photos you commissioned look as professional as you imagined them in the first place.
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Why you should not shoot without professional hairstyling & make-up

Like I said in my last article a professional model is usually well-groomed and this limits the work in post-production to a necessary minimum. However, for your shoot, it’s, moreover, of great importance to have a hairstylist and make-up artist on board. While in the fashion metropolises these are two different jobs, in many smaller industries, one professional does both. Other than the title might suggest, the make-up artist is not only responsible for the facial make-up but also for the overall appearance of the model’s skin, finger- and toenails. In some productions, these tasks are divided too – be it because of the workload or the fact that someone’s a specialist in something required for the look, e.g. a nail artist. This also leads us to the fact that MUAs (make-up artists) can be allrounders but also have different styles and talents. Depending on your concept you might want to have a close look at their portfolios to find the right one for your production.
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The importance of the model for a successful campaign

In this chapter, we’re focussing on the team and its importance for your photoshoot. We can agree that we need a professional photographer (at least I hope you do) and this is why I’m just going to elaborate on the roles of professional models, make-up artists, hairstylists, and fashion stylists with the next three posts. This article is explaining what you need to know about models and why your campaign can be more successful when it’s photographed with a professional one who is signed at an agency. 
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Tip 16 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Directions of light – Why you shouldn’t always look on the bright side

By reading my last three tip articles you had the opportunity to gain basic knowledge about different kinds of light such as natural light, flashlights, and continuous light. By bringing reflectors and diffusers into play the possibilities of modifying light beams to be soft or hard, wide-angle or focused, direct or indirect are game-changing. However, there’s one thing left to be discussed: the effects of the light’s direction on the model and fashion. 
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Tip 15 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

When to use continuous light for your campaign photography

It’s almost needless to say but for the sake of completeness: continuous light is designed for film making. For photography flashes offer the most efficient way of lighting a set – they save energy due to releasing light for just a short amount of time, yet they are powerful and furthermore do they come with plenty sorts of light shapers, which are mostly easy to build up and attach. However, continuous light has one very clear advantage: you can see the light of the setup even before the first photo or footage is taken and it’s, therefore, a good way for non-professionals to start understanding light – or at least to be confident of the light situation created.
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Tip 14 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

The power of using flashes for your campaign photos

In the absence of natural light, we are required to add artificial light to illuminate a scene, usually in the form of flashes. Clearly, this is mostly the case when we shoot indoors and don’t have enough daylight coming in through the windows or we don’t want to rely on it. Besides brightening the subject, flashes have another feature, which is the ability of “freezing” movement in a photo, because the period of time passing by during the lighting is very short. However, for super-fast movements special high-speed flashes AND cameras are required in order to capture the right moments with no blur. Flashes are either synchronised with the camera through a wire or radio, or they react to other flashes if they are in range. This is why e.g. a simple smartphone photo taken with a flash can at once trigger all studio flashes – so make sure to always take your making-of images without using the flash mode. 
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Tip 13 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

The value of natural light for your campaign photos

Welcome to part three of my tips for better campaign shoots. After discussing a few fundamentals and the effects of different visual factors on your imagery in the first two parts of this guide, we go ahead with what you must know about light to be able to decide and communicate exactly what you want for your photos – first of all to the photographer that you work with. Why is this important? Because photography is basically just like a painting done by light. The direction, intensity, and kind of light used are determining how an image, and therefore your fashion will look like. Of course, you don’t actually need to know how flashlights function. But if you’re aware of how light can create the mood of your choice, you’re far ahead of many others and the outcome of your shoot will much more look like your previous vision of it. Agree? Great, so then let’s talk about the usage of daylight, flashlight, continuous light and their performance, handling, and the possibilities of shaping it within the next four articles. Today’s article is covering everything worth knowing about daylight and why you might want to use it for your images.
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Tip 12 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

The impact of props on your photo campaign

First of all, let’s clarify what really counts as props (short form of properties). According to the film dictionary of Uni Kiel, props are all objects on set including small items like e.g. telephones, food, plants as well as bigger ones like furniture, etc. Additionally, animals are called props too, even though they obviously require special treatment. Before we clarify if you need one or more of these props for your imagery, please take in what I claim to call classical props at fashion shoots. You can then decide, if these are an option for you or if you certainly won’t use them. 
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Tip 11 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

How the right make-up & hairstyle make your photos authentic

By now, you might have a vague vision of your future photo campaign already, as you’ve learned how to apply styling in the last tip article and how indoor and outdoor locations appeal to enhance your message, etc. Another very important aspect is the application of the right make-up and hairstyle. This is able to render your photos to appeal the most efficiently authentic to your audience. In this article, we’re going to have a look at how important the right make-up and hairstyle are regarding four aspects: the actual concept, your customers’ lifestyle, current trends, and the model’s type.
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Titel picture for tip 10 by Heidi Rondak

How the styling appeals

Which age is your target group? How bold is their style? Where and when do they wear your fashion? The answers to these questions may help you decide the extra fashion you need to add to your collection in a shoot, in case you don’t produce the overall look from head to toe. If you e.g. make shoes, you’ll definitely need pants, shirts, or dresses to combine on your model and vice versa. You may find the solution being cooperation with another label that with your help designs the perfect counterparts to your own collection. Yet, this might double your work prior to the shoot and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – eventually, you’ve decided to produce e.g. just shirts for a reason. But that shouldn’t be a problem for your shoot after all. You’ll just need to have a proper styling that underlines your story without stealing your fashion’s show and we are going to analyse how to approach this in four steps. Regardless of whether one of your brand’s team is looking after the styling or an external stylist does, you should be able to decide, communicate, and possibly sample what you want through mood pictures. Defining the styling is one of the most important parts of the shooting concept. 
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Titel picture for tip 9 by Heidi Rondak

How hues appeal

Red stands for intense emotions, yellow for happiness, blue implies trust and calmness, green is the colour of nature and health, orange associates with warmth and positivity, while purple is the colour of luxury and mystery – and then there are the non-colours white, which stands for pureness, and black, which symbolises quality, power and death. The psychological impact of colours on human minds is powerful and evidently influencing our feelings towards things, which again influences our buying behaviour. It’s almost that simple, but of course, there is more to it, like e.g. the season and current colour trends. When you plan your next campaign and you want to have a photoshoot for it, it’s worth taking a closer look at what colours are going to be in the pictures, aside from the hues of your collection. It might allow you to have a distinct impact on your future sales numbers. Getting curious about colours now? Here are five factors whereby choosing the right background, styling, and make-up colours gets easier for you.
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Titel picture for tip 8 by Heidi Rondak

How the model’s attitude appeals

On we go with part 4 of how your campaign images appeal to the viewer. This time we are having a closer look at the model’s attitude. If you want to find the perfect imagery for your target group – imagery that makes them desire your fashion – then you should be able to tell your model what she or he’s supposed to represent. The way the model moves and looks usually implies the sensation that she or he seems to have, thanks to the presented fashion, of course. So depending on whether you are selling hiking boots or tiaras, the model has different possibilities to set off the product in the best way. If you can give her or him the right instructions or at least point out what you like or don’t like regarding the poses, that’s even better. One of the most powerful tools in photos are the eyes of the model because humans are always FIRST catching sight of them in order to recognize faces – that’s due to our evolution as social beings.
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