Plan The Perfect Shoot (Part 1)

6/18/2012 9:34:35 AM

Pro photographer Nathan D’Amour reveals how to run a successful studio shoot and tests the Phase One IQ180 in the process.

Nathan D’Amour has established himself as one of the UK’s leading event photographers. He is self-taught and describes his style as cutting edge and innovative. He says, ‘it’s all about capturing the energy and drama of a situation.’ Now entering a new phase of development, Nathan is applying his skills and techniques to fashion photography: ‘Fashion appeals to me as it’s about freedom of expression, an excuse to experiment and be extravagant.’ He says, ‘it’s a world where visually anything is possible and limited only by imagination.’

Description: Phase One IQ180

Phase One IQ180


Planning for the shoot

Description: Planning for the shoot

Welcome to an insight into one of my fashion shoots. The purpose of this shoot was to put on test the IQ180, Phase One’s flagship 80 megapixel digital back.

I have a good working relationship with my Phase One dealer so I’m always keeping him up to date with my activities. I mentioned I was in the process of organising some fashion test shoots and he suggested I should try out the new IQ180 digital back. Well of course I jumped at this dream opportunity, while muttering the words, ‘wow, are you serious?’

Prior to this project, I’d been communicating with a stylist whose work I’d seen online and been impressed with. When I mentioned this project he was instantly enthusiastic and eagerly suggested hair and makeup artists. He also had several models wanting to do tests with him. He sent me links to their work. Ideas and proposals were sent back and forth and a model was decided upon. It was agreed that everyone involved would work on a time-for-prints basis. No money was exchanged but everyone would stand to benefit from having full use of the final images. This is a great way to keep the costs down and everyone’s working on equal terms and for the love of it. Working under this agreement reduces the pressure on all involved and creates a great working environment.

Diary of a photographer

‘Listen to your team, take suggestions on board and be prepared to experiment’

Description: My first consideration for any shoot is to put together a great creative team

My first consideration for any shoot is to put together a great creative team

My first consideration for any shoot is to put together a great creative team. This particular project involved a stylist, hair and makeup artists and a personal assistant, all of which were easily organised due to prior networking. Next, I took the decision to do a studio shoot, as I’d already had the offer of using a Manchester based studio with excellent facilities. The complex has two studios, one with an infinity curve and one utilising natural daylight. Because of the nature of the shoot, I thought it was something that would be worthwhile documenting, so I involved a young talented film maker and a zealous photographer friend to record the day’s activities.

The day before the shoot and we were informed that our chosen model couldn’t attend due to casting commitments, so we had to work quickly in order to find an alternative model. A replacement was easily found, but the styling then had to be changed to accommodate her.

10.00: It’s the big day, and although I’ve had little sleep, I’m ready and prepared for the days’ activities. All equipment has been checked and loaded up ready for my journey through to Slaughterhouse Studios in Manchester. On my journey to shoots I make sure I listen to inspiring music this helps me relax and get into a creative mood.

11.30: I am, of course, now running late, but find that I’m first on set, giving me the opportunity to look at the space and work out how I’m going to set up my equipment. It’s all about priorities, which to me is having a nice cup of tea and chatting to Ian and Sid the studio owners. I believe in good healthy working relationships so talking is good.

12.00: My team starts to arrive. I made the embarrassing mistake of introducing myself to the person I believe is our make-up artist but she turns out to be our model for the day! Not a great start, but I’m sure she saw the funny side, and it brought about the opportunity to explain the nature of the shoot and show her around the studio. My first job is to ensure everyone is introduced and feels comfortable. This is vitally important as it sets the mood for the rest of the day. So we all have a nice relaxed start and chat over coffee. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know each other and discuss ideas.

12.30: I brief Ben and Elouisa who have kindly agreed to film, photograph and document the day. They immediately set to work. I have a talk with the stylist Taheed, discussing ideas and what we are aiming to achieve. He then briefs the rest of the team and sets about preparing out model for her first look. Always anticipate hair and make-up to take longer than expected. I like the whole shoot process to be relaxed. To create great photographs you need to listen to your team, take suggestions on board and be prepared to experiment. Everyone’s contribution is important and should be considered. Encouraging the creative process leads to great inspired photographs.

  •  Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 (Part 2) - Technical data, How lenses are tested
  •  Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 (Part 1)
  •  Go Abstract With Camera Dragging (Part 2)
  •  Go Abstract With Camera Dragging (Part 1)
  •  John G Moore’s Creative Outlet & Landscape Work (Part 3)
  •  John G Moore’s Creative Outlet & Landscape Work (Part 2)
  •  John G Moore’s Creative Outlet & Landscape Work (Part 1)
  •  HP Photosmart 5510 e-All-in-One Printer
  •  Go Baby Mobile Dongle Dock
  •  FXHome Hitfilm Standard
  •  Etymotic Research mc2
  •  Yamaha BDX-610 - Home Cinema
  •  Sony KDL- 40HX723 - Home Cinema
  •  LG Pentouch 50PZ850T - Home Cinema
  •  Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E24mm f1.8 ZA
  •  Sony Alpha NEX-7 (Part 4) - ISO and White Balance performance
  •  Sony Alpha NEX-7 (Part 3)
  •  Sony Alpha NEX-7 (Part 2)
  •  Sony Alpha NEX-7 (Part 1)
  •  CorelDraw 10 : Printing Oversized Drawings - To scale a printout & To tile a printout
    Top 10
    Microsoft .NET : Design Principles and Patterns - From Principles to Patterns (part 2)
    Microsoft .NET : Design Principles and Patterns - From Principles to Patterns (part 1)
    Brother MFC-J4510DW - An Innovative All-In-One A3 Printer
    Computer Planet I7 Extreme Gaming PC
    All We Need To Know About Green Computing (Part 4)
    All We Need To Know About Green Computing (Part 3)
    All We Need To Know About Green Computing (Part 2)
    All We Need To Know About Green Computing (Part 1)
    Master Black-White Copying
    On-Scene Portrait Photography Techniques
    Most View
    Antec P193 Advanced
    .NET security : Administering Isolated Storage
    Processor Group Test (Part 1) - AMD A8-3870K
    Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista : Architectural Parts of a GPO (part 1) - Group Policy Template
    Problems On Supply Chain Cause iPhone 5’s Delay
    Windows 7 : Managing Your Schedule - Understanding Calendaring, Exploring Windows Live Calendar
    Open GL : Storing Transformed Vertices—Transform Feedback (part 3)
    SharePoint Administration with PowerShell (part 2)
    Windows Server 2008 : The Design Phase - Documenting the Vision and the Plan
    Best Of The Year 2012 (Part 3)
    Samsung Galaxy Note II - The Ideal Combination Of Phone And Tablet
    Application Patterns and Tips : Localize a Windows Forms Application, Localize an ASP.NET Application
    SQL Azure Architecture
    Switching to Microsoft Windows 7 : Migrating Applications and Data to a New Windows 7 Computer (part 2)
    Try Another Option Except For Wordpress - Web Expert (Part 1) - Tumblr
    Create Your Own E-Books (Part 5) - Format Wars, Format Conversion & Apple Steps Forward
    MSI Radeon R7970 Lightning : Fast as lightning
    Nikon D4 (Part 3) - ISO and White Balance performance
    The Truth About Free Trials (Part 3)