A few months ago I was contracted by Mering Carson, ad agency in Sacramento, to create an image library they needed for one of their healthcare clients. One of the initial emails from them said, “What we liked about your work was that there are images of real events with genuine facial expressions. We want this shoot to be all about real. Real people, real interaction, real reaction with the focus on the patient.” I thought, “Perfect! That’s what I am all about! Real!”
The challenge, however, was the healthcare provider services a wide geographic and ethnic population and we needed to protect the privacy of their staff and patients, so models would be needed. Luckily I had a great connection in the Sac area with the wonderful people at Cast Images. I had a long list, 18 to be exact, of very different people needed ranging in gender, age, and ethnicity and they had to look “real”. And Cast delivered! I was so thankful to have them in my corner!
So I thought it would be fun to show how all this works and demonstrate from start to finish the amount of work that goes into a advertising photoshoot.
Client hires Ad Agency (Mering Carson)
>>> Agency develops concepts and art direction
Ad Agency hires photographer (Me)
>>> Photographer works with art director to plan out lighting, compositions and scenarios.
Photographer hires talent agent (Cast Images)
>>> Talent Agent hires all the models according to client list
Photographer hires Make Up and Hair Stylist (Shelie-Rae, who was awesome)
Photographer hires clothing stylist (Sarah Kreutz, who was also awesome)
>>> Stylist calls every model and organizes and gets the props and clothing (in this case she even got me scrubs, dental glasses and tools, stethoscopes, doctor white coats, and more…Sarah is amazing!
Photographer hires a studio teacher (Jessica Benz – you need one when there are children on set. Jessica was super sweet and great with the kids!)
Photographer hires producer and photo assistant (Radiologie, Jerry and Kerwin basically made all the scheduling and flow, logistics, lighting, tethering, and coffee happen. All I had to worry about was shooting! So great! The shoot would not have happened so smoothly without them!)
Also on set was the Mering Carson team: creative director, art director, producer, and copyrighter. I was shooting tethered so they were able to monitor the shoot in real time and provide feedback. They were all so great to work with and really enabled me to do my best.
After several days of planning, a scout day, 2 days of shooting, several days of proofing and final image corrections we ended up with a nice set of images the client was very pleased with. Below are a few of my favorites. Even though we were using models and staging the situations I really wanted real interactions between everyone. In the end, people are still people, models or not, and if you let them they will express real emotions and feelings. You just need to recognize and capture it while letting them do their thing.
Here is a good example. We had a little toddler who basically wasn’t having too good of a day, crying whenever we had to shoot. Luckily we had a back up but I really wanted to make it work somehow. So with one last try we set up in a different room and once again he started crying. This time his dad came in and placed him on his shoulder to console him. He instantly relaxed and had such a precious look on his face. I shut off the strobes to let just the beautiful natural window light take over and in hopes of not upsetting the moment. Then I asked the “doctor” model to come over and this great little interaction happened including a fantastic smile and high five!