July 5, 2017
WHEN THE PROCESS CALLS FOR IMPROVISATION
Leading into today’s shoot….
Since Sherri was out of town and Mandy had another commitment, Jonathan and Lorena used last week’s rehearsal time to discuss objectives and technical details for the upcoming photo shoot. Sherri and Mandy communicated with Jonathan and Lorena by email to create a list of topics to finalize with the photographer: shooting schedule, optimal backgrounds, interior vs. exterior lighting, relative formality of the “look” of the photos.
After clarifying various approaches with the photographer – and satisfied that we were all “on the same page,” we were set to go…and then Jonathan’s son Edgar got sick the night before the shoot. Uh oh, what if Jonathan can’t attend the shoot the next morning? A flurry of texts flew back and forth between the team members; do we cancel? Too late for that option. Do we pay the photographer for her time and try to reschedule? Could be tricky because the photographer is leaving the country for a 4-month assignment. Ultimately, we decided to proceed without Jonathan, knowing that we will need to arrange a second shoot to get Jonathan’s head shot, photos/video of his solo, candid shots of the kids joining their parents during warm-up, and footage of the 3 dancers working together.
Early this morning, while attending to a myriad of child care needs, Jonathan managed to speak with Lorena to pinpoint the phrases he would like the photographer to focus on.
Lorena arrives first to help our photographer, Hope, set up. Mandy and Sherri join them a few minutes later. The dancers discuss various details of the shoot with Hope as they prepare hair and make-up and make clothing choices.
After Hope investigates outdoor locations, the dancers decide to shoot their head shots outside against a backdrop of a brick wall and a bit of foliage.
Hope then sets up a studio with a “soft box,” a source of soft, diffuse light in an otherwise dark room. The effect is quite dramatic. Here, she shoots multiple photos of Mandy as she deconstructs her solo to isolate the movements she feels are particularly compelling. Lorena and Mandy then select certain phrases from their duet that are visually exciting and intricate, executing them as Hope continues shooting. When the dancers complete this phase, Lorena dances portions of her own solo and her part in Jonathan’s piece. Once again, Hope captures visually arresting movements and poses.
Meanwhile, Sherri keeps Sebastian entertained in the hallways and the other studio with a variety of props and visits to staff members and Steffi Nossen campers.
Hope and the dancers move on to shooting videos, both with the tripod and by hand. Hope attempts to showcase the choreography from different distances and angles.
First, Mandy runs through her solo, then dances specific sections that Hope suggests highlighting in close-up. Next, Lorena dances her entire solo, then concentrates on certain phrases in the beginning and middle of her piece so Hope can capture them in greater detail. Finally, Hope, Lorena, and Mandy take a similar approach to the duet from Jonathan’s piece, filming the entire dance, then focusing on particular sections in close-up.
What a productive shoot! We now have a variety of stills and video footage to utilize for future marketing purposes, including promotional videos.
Of course, external circumstances beyond our control forced us to improvise a bit; we accomplished a great deal today with Lorena and Mandy, but we must find time -- and studio space – to shoot everything else that involves Jonathan…all before Hope leaves the country!
Stay tuned to see how we figure this out!
Sherri Muroff Kalt, founder of Process Portraits, LLC and author of Portrait of an Artistic Journey: The Creative Process in Real Life Context, is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in psychology. She began her career in marketing and sales in New York City with L’Oréal, Monet Jewelers, and Givenchy. READ MORE