Do What You Love – Photoshoot Central

by Kir

Most of us have to work for a living. And it isn’t always fun – hence it’s called work, not play. But if you put your mind to it and discover what really excites and interests you and what you would do every day whether you got paid or not…then maybe, just maybe, you can figure out a way to make a living at it.

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From my friend, Lissa. Love this.

I dabbled for years trying to figure out what would make me feel satisfied in my work. Artist or Illustrator? No money in it and frankly, I’m creative, but my drawing skills just aren’t there. Fashion designer? Can’t sew, don’t want to sew and anyone who’s watched Project Runway or Devil Wears Prada knows – fashion people seem kinda mean. Sports Illustrated swimsuit model – still think this would be one of the best jobs out there, but not a lot of longevity and my time passed when I turned 20 – oh well, next life.

Molly Sims, my wannabe doppelgänger, maybe next time around!

Molly Sims, my wannabe doppelgänger, maybe next time around!

As the Marketing Director of a lifestyle brand, I’m lucky and grateful to tackle a million projects a day including hiring my creative team, working on seasonal look books, developing social media strategies, interacting with incredible influencers, selecting product for each season and even color naming – Fishnet Kiss anyone? As a director, you do just that, direct traffic, prioritize projects and make sure everything gets done usually under deadlines that get bumped up on you on a daily basis. Some of it is tedious, but if you love it, even the silly stuff is motivating. My favorite of all of it though is hands down organizing and executing the photo shoots. If you’ve read my blog before, you know this is my thing – to review, click here and here.

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Getting wardrobe ready for a shoot in Venice, CA w/ Kathryn Budig. Shopping trips to Free People and H+M made this prep fun!

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Spring 15 shoot with wardrobe courtesy of Athleta, ooh la la

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Treasures + baubles on loan from Bahgsu jewels…focus Kir, focus

Photo shoots take a lot of prep work. Depending on the scope of the project, you have to organize your models, photographer and location. It’s herding cats to get everyone in the right place at the right time. If you’re doing an outside shoot, a little “sun dance” to mother nature followed by a “sporadic cloud dance” so it’s not too sunny is also in order. It can be a long ass day and my job is to make sure we stay on track and keep everyone feeling energetic/happy so we get the shots we need. Cranky photographer or model and you’re toast! A visit by the police b/c you “forgot” your permit, also toast. So you need to know your plan well ahead and have your shot list dialed. And when in doubt, bring snacks! (veggies/hummus, m+m’s and Sofia Champagne in a can to lessen the nerves just ever so slightly)

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Happy girls! Kathryn and Casey – troopers shooting in a gritty, stinky parking lot in Venice Beach, CA. No luxury for these girls…

These beauties danced for almost 5 hours jumping over and over until we got it just right.

These beauties danced for 5+ hours jumping over + over until we got it just right.

Being in front of the camera isn’t easy. It can bring out insecurities for even the boldest, most confident girls. Shoots don’t wait for jet leg, bloating from the monthly delights of being a woman or injuries to heal. When you make your living as a model or public figure a big part of your job is being able to set all of that aside and show up bright and sparkly for the camera. On shoot day, my job is to build them up and make them feel comfortable and pretty.

The photographer looks at the light and the overall composition. I look at the model and the product. I don’t care how great the light is and how pretty the model’s skin looked, if the product we’re selling looks like crap in the picture, the logo is hidden or her hair is stuck to her lip gloss, the image will get cut. Hawk eyes and the willingness to fuss and pick at your models is essential. So you better make sure they like you because you will be up in their business all day long. Same goes for the photographer – he/she is tasked with the shot. It’s a subtle dance to make sure the shot is ready, then you get out of the way.

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Me w/lovely Christina, ToeSox’s foot model. Five hours of me fussing with her feet. She and I are fast friends now…

But when the stars align and the light hits just right, when all the hard work and planning comes together, you get your shot(s). When it’s over and the day is done, you get to sit back happy and exhausted. The downside is you can’t share most of the photos from the day because you are shooting 6-8 months ahead at any given time, but I’ll do a part 2 down the road once the campaigns have  been released. But here’s one I can share from Betty Designs called the Bettys of Summer. It was sunny and hot and the Bettys were assembled, styled and trying not to sweat or squint too much (“sporadic cloud dance” failure). Client (Kristin Mayer), photographer (Matt of Breedfreak) and stylist (me) were in sync. And then this happened. All in a very satisfying morning of work.

Behind the scene, assembling the Bettys

Behind the scene, assembling the Bettys in bright bright sun – ouch

The Bettys of Summer, photo by Breedfreak

Bettys of Summer campaign for Betty Designs, photo by Breedfreak

Moral of the story…find what you love to do. Don’t surrender, it may take years of dedicated trial and error. But when you find it, it will light you up. You may work your butt off, but you will feel satisfied at the end of the day. It’s like dating. There is something for everyone. So go forth and don’t rest until you find it. It’s so so worth it.♥