How I process my work as a Creative Director and Fashion Stylist has been an interest of many, and my answer is research. I’m not kidding. You thought leaving school would free you from the detriment of it, but nope, this work requires A LOT of researching. One needs to be able to gauge the needs and interests of the brand prior to executing the idea, because only adhering to a trend or an aesthetic limits the potential of where a concept could grow. This week I’ve had the honour of arranging a spring themed photo shoot for a jewelry brand called Horace from Montreal,Canada. With Horace, the goal was to create a shoot that differentiates from their current editorials, but still remain coherent to their target market. Here is how I broke down my creative process prior to photo shoot day
As mentioned, research is key! Horace Jewelry creates pieces that are upscale and minimal, creating accents of femininity with hints of individuality. I look through their photo shoots and e-commerce shoots, and I ask myself “what has been done?”, and “what hasn’t been made yet?”
Based on their website and Instagram, their editorials have been very warm, with fabric play and neutral tones. I also take into account what colour palettes they’ve already done for their lookbooks, taking into detail how they photograph their products. Now I think about how I can make an editorial that is uniquely mine while simultaneously adhering to the Horace brand.
The largest chunk of my process is done here; it's hours spent on Pinterest, Instagram, and portfolios. I look at books and images for inspiration, thinking about how to express the aesthetic of the brand
Following the current season, I wanted to create a palette that reflected the colder springs of the northwest. Dried flowers, and tones of mauve, copper and dusty pinks have been the rage of this year. Now I begin to think about how the elements of dried flowers are executed within the realms of the brand. Sometimes, creatives can only be focused on the theme, while forgetting that their goal is to highlight the product or model in the first place. Therefore, I begin sketching, wondering how I can present the product while adhering to the theme. Sketching helps me grasp a specific idea on how I want to showcase the product, how I angle the shot, what props can I use.
There are multiple ways to get the right shot that best highlights the product, and preparing helps me waste less time on set. It is also around this point I begin to consider talents and locations that can best assist me for this photo shoot, to make sure that the team I work with can help best see the vision through.
Around this point I begin to imagine what would happen on set: what could go right, and what could go wrong? Improvising on set is good (see step four), but never leave anything up to chance. Therefore, I start to make notes on alternatives I could consider when I’m on set. I start considering what I could also bring on set: props, clothes, clips, tape… the whole ordeal. You can never really be too over-prepared (unless you’re filming on a mountain. Lesson learned)
Now the photo shoot is happening, and around this point you begin to discover that whatever you may have sketched or planned isn’t going as you had hoped. With all the tools you have planned or brought, be sure to communicate with your team and play around the same concept, making sure to always stick to the intention of the shoot.
In the case for Horace, the goal is to always make sure the jewelry is the main focus of the photo, and not getting lost amidst all the texture and shine of the props and theme.
I’m looking through the photographs with the photographer, and observing other elements and props around the studio that we can potentially play with and use to help deliver the strongest shot.
The saying that “time is money” rings true in the context of a photo-shoot. A lot of time and talent is devoted over a period of six to eight hours, and the last thing you want to appear is unprofessional and unprepared as a creative. Planning and researching ensures that no time is wasted on set and it helps best secure the vision of the project, leaving the entire team and your clients with something exciting to look forward to.