An inside look at the day
before a shoot
So I am shooting for the next two days. Tomorrow I am shooting for Genlux Magazine again. I’m shooting for the Spring Fashion Issue. The next day I am shooting a beauty story for Zink Magazine. I’ve had these two shoots slated to shoot for the last 3 weeks. We’ve had plenty of time to prepare for them. I’ll only write about my first shoot for Genlux because to write about both of them would turn out to be a really long and really redundant post. So with Genlux, I was given the theme. Travel! That’s the theme of the issue for Spring and that was the only guideline. Since I am totally bored with lifestyle photography and travel lends so easily to that theme, I racked my brain for a couple of days and then it hit me: I wanted to go off in a totally different direction and do a story on Astral Travel! Right up my alley! I’m so tired of the whole trains, planes and automobiles thing. If I see one more chick on a yacht I might faint from boredom. But Astral Travel. Now that’s something I can sink my teeth into. Stephen, the creative director, OK’d my idea. Which is astonishing!
First thing I did was find my stylist. As I’ve said before, I work very closely with my stylist and I wanted to work with someone I really trusted for this shoot because it’s very near and dear to my heart. I chose Angela Aaron for a lot of reasons but the main ones were her accessibility and her eagerness. And of course, her ability and her talent. We went back and forth on the phone and through emails, sending pictures, talking about colors, props, ideas until we finally nailed it between the both of us. Was it ethereal astral or occult astral? What were we trying to go for? That had to be decided so she could start looking for the right clothing and accessories. I then decided to work with Stephanie Pohl again, who did hair on the last Genlux shoot because she was A. talented beyond belief. And B. I clicked with her. And yeah, that’s right. If I don’t click with a crew member, chances are I won’t work with them again. I like to work with a crew that I get along with. End of story. Stephanie referred me to a make up artist friend of her, Elizabeth Ulloa. I looked at Elizabeth’s work and was blown away. Stephanie told me that the two of them were good friends and worked well together. So I gave it a shot and went with Elizabeth. The model: well, after spending half a day compiling a list of girls I was interested in and sending them to the creative director, I got one email back with the subject line: This is who I want you to shoot. He sent pictures of a new girl, 14 year old Hailey Clauson from Ford Models. I liked her so there was no argument. Done. That part was easy.
Today was all about prep. I woke up at 6, got my coffee and sat down at my computer. I sent out call sheets to the crew and talent’s agents. Artist by Timothy Priano, Ford Models, Celestine Agency, The Rex Agency. My two assistants got one each and the creative director, last but not least. And then I tried to find the make up artists listing on her old agency site and found out she has left her agency since confirming her last Friday. Anxiety set in. So I texted the hair stylist to get her contact info. She called me to reassure me that she would be at the shoot. But I like to actually get a confirmation so she had Elizabeth call me to confirm herself. All this went down before 9 AM. I then put my rental equipment on hold with Samy’s. I ordered a couple of Profoto 2400 7A packs, 4 profoto heads, some extension cables, a beauty dish and a large Chimera soft box and a couple of small shoot through umbrellas. I also put on hold a fog machine. Or smoke machine. Same thing. After I got off the phone with Samy’s I started getting the confirmation emails from everyone’s agent that they got the call sheet and the talent would be there. I check for this because if I don’t hear from an agent after sending a call sheet, I then get on the phone to make sure they got the information. I didn’t hear from my first assistant right away so I called him. He picked up the phone and he confirmed he would be there. Stephen phoned me and we had a last minute check in before tomorrow. He’s fine, I’m fine. We’re all set to go. He did remind me to tell the stylist about a shoe store in Beverly Hills she can pull from with no hassle and to remind her to use blue painters tape because it’s not that tacky and it won’t stick to the leather on the bottom of the shoes. You have to tape the shoes on the bottom when you pull shoes and you’re returning them because you can’t return scuffed up shoes. You’ll end up buying them! Then I had to go out and pick up some props at two different locations. Normally I don’t do prop pick ups but on this shoot, I did. I wanted to hand pick the items, so I went myself to get them. The prop prepping started Sunday afternoon when I went to the store to speak with the owner and look at the selection of merchandise that I would consider to rent. I went back yesterday to confirm and place them on hold. Today I went to pick them up. It’s a long process, all of this. I then had to re-confirm my flower order with the florist I use to ensure that my rose petals would be ready by 10 AM Wednesday for one of my assistants to pick up. They reassured me that they will. I went back to my office to check out some hair styles that the hair stylist sent over to me and approved the looks. Then I went to trade cars with my husband because the gear I was picking up won’t fit in my car. He drives an SUV. Meanwhile, I’m texting while driving…yes, I’m one of those….in between getting calls from my team on last minute thoughts. Then I went to Samy’s to pick up my gear. The fog machine was so heavy I had to have the parking attendant help me get it into my car. Where is my assistant? Umm. Not with me, obviously. He will take it out of my car tomorrow and re-pack it in there for me, that’s for sure. I went back to one of the stores that I got props from because I forgot one prop. Did I eat? I got a late lunch to go because I had to get back to my office to check emails and double check my shot list before 5 PM and closing time for businesses (like agencies). I have had the total disastrous situation of an agent calling me at 6 PM the night before a shoot to tell me that the model got (sick, got a last minute million dollar campaign, has gone missing, got in a car accident, her grandmother died…I’ve heard them all….). I wanted to be sitting in my office ready for damage control in case there was a last minute cancellation. There wasn’t. Thank God!
So everyone’s confirmed. My props are packed and ready. My camera batteries are charging. It’s 8:30 PM and in 12 hours I will be on set. I just got the last two calls of the evening; one from my stylist telling me everything is good and does she need to bring her own rack. Yes. She does. I forgot to tell her this. And the second call from my second assistant with a new cell number that he is borrowing for tomorrow. He is picking up the Starbucks so I put the order in with him just now. Everything is really set. I have printed out my call sheet with everyone’s phone number incase someone is late or there’s a no show. I also copied down the phone number to Rosco’s incase the smoke machine doesn’t work properly and I need technical assistance. I printed out my shot list and made notes. I also printed out the information for Thursday’s Zink shoot incase the wi-fi is down at the studio and I won’t be able to send emails to confirm Thursdays shoot. I don’t print out images or ideas of inspiration because I’ve seen them already and I don’t need to go back to them. I want it to be organic and my own vision. After I am done with this post I will take a hot shower. I will put on some music. I will play around on facebook and I will look over my shot list again. I am so prepared for tomorrow that by the time I get to the shoot, I will let it all go and just shoot! I will do what I love most about this career: Shooting!! I will let go and freefall and let the moments come and try my best to capture them. I’ve surrounded myself with the best talent out there. I’ve covered my bases with being anally attached to the prepping of this shoot, from the clothing to the hair and make up looks. I have hand picked the props. I have hired two assistants. I think I’ve got it covered! Now it’s time to let go and let it be. Let the vision unfold for me and revel in the moment. And I’ll let you know how the shoot goes cuz we’re filming it! Stay tuned. And Good night!