How I got the shot.

So I thought I’d do a little inside knowledge / behind the shot post. I’ve taken a shot from this weeks mens fashion soot and I’m going to go through the thought process / direction given on set to achieve the final image. Ignoring lighting, cameras, settings, all the technical stuff, this is plain and simple “getting the shot” once all the other stuff is done.

I do get a number of folk asking about this kind of thing, I guess it’s one of the parts that you can’t learn from just looking at a final image, you need to live the experience and moment to know “how” it went down. So here’s a sequence of image of Jamie, a new face from J’adore Model Agency in Manchester. Hair by Laura & Ria Kulik at The Hair Bank, grooming by Laura Gibb MUA and wardrobe styling by the rather gifted Paula McNamara.

Contact sheet of photographs from a menswear fashion shoot. homme

Contact sheet of photographs from a menswear fashion shoot. Homme

What you see is the actual progression of the images from this section of the shoot. Nothing taken out or cropped etc. this is exactly how and what I shot. The final shot used is the one circled in blue, the others marked are the “got it” shots, the ones where I felt I got what it was I wanted.

So you’ll see the first idea was a full profile with the hands up in front of the face, I explain the “starting point” pose and get the first shot. From here I wanted a little more going on in the space in between Jamie and his arms so asked him to pick up the pendant around his neck and use that. You’ll see the pendant then drops to a perfect position to mirror his arms. This is close but I want to see more of his face, “Head to me Jamie” head turns to me and we are super close. He instinctively dropped his chin”Stronger eyes” BANG! Nailed it. Now the transition without missing a beat the energy is good and I know we’re golden right now. “Bite the pendant” his arm is out of frame, “Bring the right arm back” arms look messy, “switch hands” close, “Give it the bad boy rock star treatment” almost, “Head to me more” Slight zoom to crop “Attitude!” BANG. “Okay take a quick breather everyone, Jamie shake it out and let’s move into the next shot sequence”.

Here I’ll have a quick check on the monitor to confirm my feelings that we got it, quick sip of water/coffee and get moving on to our next shot.

How long did that take from the first to the last shot? Well I checked the EXIF data and shot one is timestamped 14:17:30 and the last shot is 14:18:58. So a minute and a half…. Like I say when it’s golden you go with the energy that flows. Also what that doesn’t tell you is it took me 2 hours to set up the studio, hair / make-up / wardrobe about the same. Plus the behind the scenes chat and build up, it’s not just a matter of the model stepping in front of the camera and this happening, we’ve already met, had a chat, had a giggle or whatever. The connection has already been worked on so that by the time it comes to us working here the flow is easy and natural. Not to mention our other 6 models

So there you go, I won’t pretend it’s easy because it takes hustle and experience to get to this point but it may act as a little insight into how shoots go down for me and what the interaction can be like. It gets to a point where for me it’s instinctive, I don’t stop everything and think about how I’m going to make it perfect in one shot. I set it up close and then let things fall into place organically. For me it works.

male model monochrome fashion editorial photograph

Final selected shot.

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