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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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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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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A brief history of fashion photography

You want to produce the hottest fashion photography that gets you noticed as a photographer as well as the brand you’re taking photos of. For that, it’s helpful to completely understand the industry.  There are certain tips and tricks you can introduce to your photo campaigns, such as for example inserting props, using natural light, or specific make-up and hairstyles for an authentic and modern photo result. However, when it comes to understanding the industry, you need to delve into the history of fashion photography.  In this article, we’re going to look at a brief history of fashion photography and how looking into the past can impact the future. 
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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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Titel picture for tip 7 by Heidi Rondak

How perspectives appeal

Creating campaigns or other images to promote your fashion label means that you are speculating on which visual language your costumers understand and act on. In order to stay true to your brand’s philosophy and to be seen as authentic, it’s likely to incarnate all characteristics that you want to communicate with the help of the perfect model. But not only is her or his attitude crucial, but the way how the model is photographed can cause different effects too. When you watch a movie, the points of view create different feelings towards the shown person, object, or scene. Human imagination is a very strong tool to encode messages in pictures, which not only applies to moving-images. You just have to press the right buttons. Therefore this article explains the effects of different perspectives in order to give you an idea of your options and the involved power you have with them. To revisit the movie topic, when you’re aiming for a story-telling kind of photo series, perspectives and cuts should vary. But when it comes to a lookbook or online shop images, it’s more common to shoot all images very even. Of course, you can turn the tables and do it intentionally different, because this way your photos (or your website) might be more eye-catching. It’s up to you to decide if your brand should be quite offbeat or rather classic and the following paragraphs might help you find out which perspectives you like best for that purpose.
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Titel picture for tip 6 by Heidi Rondak

How outdoor locations appeal

Does your fashion label need new photography in order to show the brand-new collection of yours? I’m happy to give you some tips on how to plan and realize it. You might have read my last article with lots of indoor location inspiration and how places appeal to the viewers’ eyes. Now it’s time for part no. 2 treating the possibilities of shooting outdoors. As I mentioned in my tip no. 4, there’s a list of questions you might want to ask yourself before deciding to situate your images under the open sky. If you have the right solutions to all those upcoming “problems” and you’re still eager to plan your production open-air you are welcome to soak all my following ideas in and eventually choose one of them for your very campaign. Me personally, I’m a great fan of any outdoor shooting theme, because a real existing place can look very authentic plus, when lucky with the weather, daylight can be very favorable for any kind of photography. One thing you should probably know is the fact that the midday sun is usually too strong for taking good-looking pictures. So in the best case, there are many shady spots to use for the time between 12 am and 3 pm. If there aren’t be prepared for your photographer suggesting some uncivilized hours to start the production, so he or she can benefit from the morning light. After a long lunch break, the afternoon sun will do the rest. To be able to make use of the noontime as well, there’s another possibility: you will need a diffuser to smoothen the light and either is it given through a cloudy sky, which is the best weather for shootings by the way, or the team uses a big canvas instead (but beware of the wind!) However, before I’m talking too technically, let’s go on to the location samples. Enjoy!
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Titel picture for tip 5 by Heidi Rondak

How indoor locations appeal

You’re the commissioner and you want to get the best photo shooting results from your photographer? I’d say that it’s advantageous to know exactly what you want because there are so many possibilities. In order to define the appearance of your future pictures better, you should learn a little about the visual effects of different locations, perspectives, colors, dynamic or static poses, hair and make-up of the model, additional styling and props, so you can decide easier. Therefore, the following articles are going to treat these factors one by one and help you estimate more precisely what’s best for your next campaign or lookbook. 
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Titel picture for tip 4 by Heidi Rondak

Set the scene within the limits of your financial resources

You are planning to work with a photographer and commission your campaign photos, lookbook, or other photographic works? I’ve already been giving you some tips on how to find the right imagery regarding your target group (tip no. 1) and the planned media for publishing the photos (tip no. 2). I also gave you some technical details about different possibilities with different formats in my last tip. But to all these factors another one is prior: your budget. 
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