A stock production is quite a different puppy comparing to many fashion or beauty shoots. We try for as many looks, variations, treatments, models as possible within our stylists' Skill x Time capacity. Every produced shot has to be a potential bestseller.
Every model - perfect before she enters the make-up chair, every outfit ironed & well matched before Photoshop. Should be quite obvious for every shoot, I know.
It takes a special model to do stock work. I'll speak about it in another post - just to give due praise to our studio models. As a rule, a model would need to test for at least 3 shoots, before we place her into a bigger production. She needs to be consistent, creative and a pleasant person to work with - not just for our sake, but for the rest of the creative team.
Jana has never worked with us before this shoot. However, she comes as a recommendation of Salome Hoogendijk - fellow stock photographer & well known for her perfectionism.
Salome is also well known to throw her models into all kind of scenarios: from getting wet, covering them in glitter, setting fireworks around them - you name it, she has done it.
I had an idea, that if a model has been "trained" by Salome, she will fit just perfectly into our studio.
Of course we tried to get as many unknows out of the way before the shoot, as possible. We got the model's recent pictures, asked for unedited close-ups of her skin (under non-disclosure agreement), got freshest measurements.
The model was fully briefed on how to prepare for the shoot, and what are our expectations for her.
To our advantage, the hairstylist, Riani Roets, has worked with Jana before, not just on her hair, but also as the makeup artist (familiar with the facial structure, shape, texture of hair)
I also secretly hoped that a model with a name "Sparkle" would make things happen.
We were additionally surprised when she started working. Jana was very aware of her body, and specially hands, which is rare even for full time models. She jumped into the shoot with full confidence and love for transformation.
On top of that, small details, like hair colour & general hair condition, as well as well groomed eyebrows, nails and skin texture promised no reservations in shooting angles, lighting set-ups and no extended editing time.
STOCK SIDE OF THINGS
So far we have loaded about 100 images from this shoot to the stock archives, which is quite a high number for such a short shooting time slot.
As you can see from the gallery, there are many images that are very similar to each other, with a slight variation in a pose or a crop.
Note: the image cropping and composition was determined on the day of the shoot - we don't like cropping my images in an editing program afterwards, as it limits the potentials of larger image sales.
Although many libraries do not except similar in content images, at times limiting uploads to 7 or less images per shoot, our experience is that the designers often buy images in clusters, and even in colour variations of the same image.
Note 2: While shooting an image, our general rule is to do a fuller frame, close-up and a potential copy space shot from the same pose.
NOTE ON EDITING
As a stock production, with commercial value in mind, the images were edited with a variety of treatments. There's no consistent look to the story, although certain groups of images were colour graded in a similar way, to allow the buyers to use multiple images as a story. There's a variety of colour temperatures, hazes, saturation and brightness levels.
All images were shot RAW, with a colour chart reference. The RAW conversion was done with a natural skin tone values in mind.
The first selection was done in the RAW converter: checking for sharpness, comparing poses. Out of a 500 image shot, about 50 get thrown away for either camera movement or similarity.
Best shots are selected for edit, the rest gets stored in RAW format, together with the original raw conversion support files. Often a client would ask to see a contact sheet form the shoot, to find a better matching image to their needs (within Rights Managed image license).
After the images are converted to tiffs & placed into the editing folder, a final selection run is done, usually on the next day after the shoot - to be able to evaluate the images afresh.
At first, all images went through basic 5-10 minute clean-up. You see, once all the production input values are nearly perfect, we don't need to get frustrated with long post-production hours.
Also, the blue background could be adjusted to create different mood - from electric blue to turquoise (using Selective Colour Adjustments)
Luba created a few .psd with colour options, and the adjustment layers were dragged to the other groups of files to save time.
it is interesting to see what the buyer prefers and what images we find to be of a better artistic value. Once again, its a fragile reminder, that stock images are created with a different purpose in mind - to sell and to create loyal buyer support for the future shoots.
Photography: Luba V Nel
Lighting Design: Sean Nel
Lights: Profoto South Africa
Model: Jana Sparkle Louw
Make-up: Madeleine Botha
Hair: Riani Roets
Styling: Nadja Seale
Wardrobe: Vintage Vices
Set design: Els Styling
Assistant: Jana-Minette Van Der Vyver
Set Manager: JéAnette Loots