I had the opportunity to observe a large commercial photo-shoot recently. I won’t give the game away about the content but the photographer was Rebecca Miller and the client was Wedgwood.
It was fascinating to watch the whole exercise and observe the number of people involved, with their different trades. You couldn’t help feeling that it could be more productive, but as there are far more people who want to be involved in advertising and photography than there are jobs, wages are low and productivity less of an issue.
As someone interested in photography, I think there were two key things I took away. Firstly, that have a clear concept in advance for each picture (set, style, clothes, makeup etc), being properly prepared and having a real eye for detail – at the edge of the picture as well as the centre – is absolutely critical. One of the key issues now for any material which is going to be used online is to envisage the final picture on a computer, a tablet and a phone as well as in a magazine or on a billboard. The digital operator has a vital role in applying the relevant masks and overlays to each image to make sure it works in each format. Taking the picture sometimes seems like the easy bit.
Secondly, these things cannot be rushed. The balance of time between preparing, waiting (90%) and shooting (10%) was extraordinary. But of course if you under-prepare, miss the vital details and get back to the office with pictures which just miss the mark, it’s too late to put it right.