Taking great photos requires both strong creative vision and solid techincal skill, but it also requires the key to get into the lab wehre you were planning to get your research shot. In other words, by having someone on your team plan ahead and focus on a few details, we can assure better photos and more productivity on the day of the photo shoot.
Hence my thesis: It’s important to get all your ducks in a row.
What sort of ducks are we talking about? Here are a few examples:
• The password to activate a computer screen in a computer shot.
• The apparatus of a science experiment already properly assembled.
• Instructions to students on how to dress. (In a uniform? In a casual shirt? Not in a shirt with another school’s logo on the front
• Some art available in the art studio—works in progress or completed pieces that we can fake working on.
• A pre-scouted dorm room without offensive decorative content.
In short, it pays to think about every practical detail of every shot we need to get.
The most important of these details is probably the people. It helps immeasurably if you and your team are able to identify enthusiastic, expressive, cooperative students and teachers who are not reluctant to be photographed. This may sound silly, but it’s easy to get caught up in selecting people on factors such as balance among your academic departments and end up with someone who really does not want to take part.
Of course, bonus points are awarded for excellent bone structure, good hair, healthy skin, and athletic builds. We are not shooting fashion spreads here (generally). Nonetheless, this is a visual medium, and there’s no shame in putting your best foot (or face) forward.
As far as wardrobe goes, it’s generally a good idea to avoid wearing stripes, plaids, and prints, as well as the aforementioned shirts with logos other than yours. Black or white clothing is not ideal either, as it can lose detail in printing. Whenever possible, choose solid-colored clothing in medium tones (not fluorescent green). The idea here is to keep the focus on the subject or activity, rather than have the eye drawn to a garish color, clashing plaids, or an ad for Abercrombie and Fitch.
If this seems like a lot to remember, don’t worry. In advance of the shoot, we’ll have a call and talk through the details as they pertain to your project. On multiday shoots, we can also use some time up front to scout and plan for what’s to come.
Finally, it’s only fair to mention that we are perfectly comfortable breaking any of these rules, and do so on a regular basis.