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02-08-2008
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My pet peeve with photographers ... usually the less experienced ones or the ones who don't really do fashion. They don't get the concept of restraint.

You are 100% on the money, IMHO. Restraint and knowing when and how to edit is just as important as going over the top ... maybe even more so. A stylist needs to know what is appropriate for the shot ... what will give it the best overall impact.

You are demonstrating your skill and your eye for art when you do portfolio shoots. An accessory is merely a tool to create some impact ... when it's needed. Ok ... if it's an accessory story ... you would need to use them. But if it's really a story about a garment or several ... and you want to play up the shape, the line, the color or the texture of the fabric ... don't feel like you must accessorize it unless it adds something to enhance what you want to draw the eye to. Less is more ... and if you can do it with less, it perfectly demonstrates that special eye that a stylist should have.


It's the entire shot that shows what your level of work is ... and if the shot is strong, you will be perceived as a good stylist ... period. Anyone looking at your portfolio, will not look at the clothes and accessories alone ... they always see the entire thing and judge you by that. I've heard it from many other stylists and makeup artists time and time again. I've watched when people view my book ... they never focus on the clothes and accessories, they just comment on the overall image. That just confirms this in my mind ... the shot has to be great ... and it does not need to have a lot going on and it does not need every styling detail to show, either.

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02-08-2008
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Thanks so much for that, BetteT!

It makes me feel a lot better being a new stylist to know that I've got the right idea. I'll share the shots as soon as they're ready.


I have another question - it's something that I keep debating... Is it a bad thing to have creatives from too many different photographers in my first book if their style of photography is different?

For example, I have a shoot coming up with a photographer in Montreal whose work is best described as 'very Juergen Teller' with the indie vibe/contrast, etc. and I have a lot of shoots coming up with photographers whose style lean more towards your Testino.

Would having stories in my book that contrast too much be a bad thing? Should the ENTIRE book flow nicely? Would it be better to just stick with one style of photography for my first book and wait to let the contrast in stories take over when I'm booking the jobs and updating the book?


Last edited by ShesElectric; 02-08-2008 at 04:39 PM.
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02-08-2008
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Can I ask.. if you were the director in this, what role does a photographer have besides shooting the picture? You mentioned choosing the colours, location, time period of the day (lighting)...

Maybe it's in developing the photo (certain chemicals, techniques, etc.) ??
Or the photographer will direct the model...?

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02-08-2008
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I'm not sure exactly what your question is.

I directed the shoot in doing all that - as well as selecting the crew, the direction we went with the shoot, hair/makeup, etc.

The photographer, I think, plays a larger role than just shooting the picture. They edit the photos and have a better idea of the final result. Their input, if skilled, is very important and should be taken into serious consideration, IMHO. But, although I have many years of experience in the industry, I'm still a newbie with regards to this facet of it - so in asking my question, I just wanted to hear an outsiders opinion of the situation and to get a better understanding of whether I was going in the right direction or not.

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02-08-2008
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By the way, the only reason I was taking his advice to heart was because he is a very talented, skilled photographer with years of experience in fashion, having shot for many well-known mags and worked with many stylists.

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02-08-2008
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Thanks

I guess I should have known the answer to that
That makes sense.. Could be composition, how the light comes in, etc that the rest of the crew might not notice

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03-08-2008
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gius,

In addition to being the stylist, she was acting as the art director who normally decides the direction and the general look of the shoot ... and the producer who does the organizing of who, what, where and how. The photographer is still in charge of the lighting and the compostion, directing the model, taking the picture with his eye and aesthetic and the final result of the actual images .. to meet the goals of the art director.

If this was a paid shoot and she was the art director, he would have never questioned her ... she would have been the boss. And if he was the art director ... she would have piled on accessories if her rationale was not accepted. You do what the money person wants ... in most cases.

However, since this was not a shoot for a client ... it was only what we call a test (portfolio work), it has to be a bit more collaborative ... and everyone needs to agree on the look. It's a difficult dance to do ... but done well, the images will be great!

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Last edited by BetteT; 03-08-2008 at 12:48 AM.
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03-08-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShesElectric View Post
I have another question - it's something that I keep debating... Is it a bad thing to have creatives from too many different photographers in my first book if their style of photography is different?

For example, I have a shoot coming up with a photographer in Montreal whose work is best described as 'very Juergen Teller' with the indie vibe/contrast, etc. and I have a lot of shoots coming up with photographers whose style lean more towards your Testino.

Would having stories in my book that contrast too much be a bad thing? Should the ENTIRE book flow nicely? Would it be better to just stick with one style of photography for my first book and wait to let the contrast in stories take over when I'm booking the jobs and updating the book?

I've never heard anyone say that you should stick to one style of photographer.

What I have heard is that you must gear your book to your market. In other words, you must decide how you are going to market yourself . You need to analyze what type work is done in your city and your book must reflect that type ... whether it be commercial (most places outside of NY, are a commercial market) or editorial.

The highly stylized type of editorial shots are the most fun and challenging ... but if that is all you have and you are competing for a lifestyle or catalog gig, your portfoilio may actually work against you. They would think that you don't know how to do what they need and they'd hire someone else with a stronger commercial book. A potential client looks at your book to see how well you do what it is that they are looking for ... so you must know your market and and know your prospective clients and have the images that work for them.

So .... a lot of stylists have more than one book ... or rearrange it to suit the prospective client's needs.

"Flow" is open to interpretation ... but it doesn't mean everything is similar in look ... it means that it sort of makes sense as you turn the pages. One story sort of leads into the next. For example, maybe the dark contrasty ones at the other end of the book from the soft lit ones ... and the in betweens ... in between those pages. Think of it as the ebb and flow of the tide ... it changes, but not suddenly.

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04-08-2008
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Thanks BetteT
I guess doing tests together is also a nice way of networking :p

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04-08-2008
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Testing/creative shoots are great way to network! What could be better? If someone refers you to a client,they can add that they are making thier recommendations based on having worked with you already. That gives you a lot more credibility. Of course, you need to be testing with that level of crew ... people who actually are getting paid gigs and who have clients that may need you.

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06-08-2008
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Do you guys have any knowledge of submitting tests that turn out really well to magazines? We have a few on our hands that are coming up. I've never done this and don't want to sound amateur-ish when dealing with the magazines so I was just wondering if anyone can give me any details on this? Do magazines generally compensate you for the editorial submitted if they accept? If they do, do they compensate enough to pay everyone on the crew?

Just looking for some general knowledge on the matter.

Thanks!

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06-08-2008
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Off topic, but I'll answer your question.

It's called submissions ... and most of the time you will be turned down, as most good magazines that take submissions have a ton to chose from and the competition is extremely stiff. So don't get excited about submissions before they are picked up. Just do a great editorial for your own portfolio ... and consider being published a bonus.

No ... they usually don't pay for submissions and they pay nothing or almost nothing for commsissioned shoots too. The reason a team tries to get work into a magazine is for credits, exposure and their resume ... to use as bait to get real paying customers. Magazine editorial work is often mistaken as the goal ... it's not... it's a marketing tool.


There is a thread about submitting work to magazines ... and any other questions about that should be posted there. This thread is about builing your portfolio.

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Last edited by BetteT; 06-08-2008 at 08:01 PM.
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17-08-2008
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I was just reminded by a member's post that maybe some of you don't know about our Networking thead for tests, etc. So ... if any of you are looking to network to find a team to test with ... go to Behind the Lens ... here. It requires the you state who you are, the city you are testing in, what you do, that you give a link or some pictures of your work and a way to contact you directly. We ask that discussions to introduce yourself and to set up tests are to be done via emails or at least PM's ... do not discuss it in the thread. The thread is just a data base, more or less.

Don't forget to read back several pages in that thread ... people who want to test, probably are still interested because it's an ongoing process.

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17-08-2008
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Hey Bette T,

I in the midst of updating my portfolio, and I am not sure if you or anyone on this are able to to help me. But I always get stumped on narrowing down my concepts sometimes I feel I have TOO much info how do you go about narrowing down this process?

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17-08-2008
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All I can say is you have to be ruthless. You will be judged by the worst image you have, not the best. So, get rid of anything that is not great. Don't get emotionally attached to images ... because you worked on them so hard, or you had such great concept or you worked with a great team. None of that matters to strangers who will be reviewing your portfolio. All that matters is the final image.

You should never have to explain anything when showing your book ... the image and stories must stand on their own. And please, don't ever have an image in there that you have to say something like this about it: "Oh, that would have been great if only .... the lighting was better, the makeup was better, the styling was better, the model was better, etc." If it's not a great picture ... even if your part of it was brilliant ... it's not working.

Here's a few things I've done to edit my portfolio.

Sometimes a story has 6 to 8 looks and I shorten it ... a lot ... to 2 or 4 images if all 8 are not great.
I limit my pages ... to a reasonable number then force it into those pages ... keeping only the best.
I line up each story and/or image and rank them as to which are better overall ... then only the top ones go in.
I know that I can rotate my pictures from time to time, so if I remove a story, I can always switch it back in later ... as long as it's as good as the one I'm going to replace. A portfolio is dynamic ... it changes all the time.

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Last edited by BetteT; 17-08-2008 at 10:59 PM.
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