Process 067 ☼ Shooting Commercial Client Work in Lisbon
Process is back!
Process is back in business after a few weeks off.
In this issue: new work from a recent commercial client shoot in Lisbon, alongside the behind-the-scenes story and images.
I recommend reading this issue on the web since there are lots of images and most email programs will cut longer newsletters short and withhold most of the contents.
I hope everyone’s been enjoying their summer and has been taking lots of pictures whether it’s during travel or in your immediate surroundings in the spirit of NOTICE.
Speaking of NOTICE, this past week two drastically different magazines posted very positive reviews. Cosmopolitan mentioned that NOTICE “documents the most subtle bits of beauty” and Visie rates it 4.5 out of 5 stars writing that it’s a “beautifully executed photo book featuring powerful black and white images…a beautiful sight to behold.”1 <3
If you don’t have a copy yet get on it because there’s only one (1!!) special edition left and a handful of regular editions. The special edition will not be reprinted, last chance!
Just this once we’re skipping the PROCESS GIVEAWAY but it will be back with a vengeance next week with a great film giveaway over on the Process Flip channel.
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The Creative Brainstorm Before The Shoot
My first creative meeting with Parea Books founder Amy Snook left me excited and inspired. Her passion was palatable when she described her company as the first “reader-centric publishing company” with readers in the role of “active agents of culture rather than passive participants in it”. Heck yes!
As a voracious reader I loved what I was hearing. Amy went on to say that “reading our books should feel like attending the most interesting dinner party you’ve ever been to” and to think of Parea as the “A24 of books”. I love dinner parties and I love every movie ever released by production house A24. Yes! We were instantly aligned on a creative level.
After our meeting I transferred my hand-written notes to the computer and tidied them up to share in an email summarizing everything that we discussed. I do this because it helps speed up the process of getting on the same page with a client. It also creates a clear document that we can all refer back to and share with collaborators.
Here is the part of that email that describes the initial creative vision and logistics.
What a fantastic project, I’m so excited to work on this with you. Let me start by sharing my notes from our meeting to make sure what was discussed is fully aligned with your vision for Parea and the upcoming campaign.
Vibe and Feel: For this campaign we’ll avoid the cliché of “cool” NYC Fashionista people and instead focus on interesting, original, and real people from the creative community in Lisbon and their authentic spirit.
Keywords: bold, elegant, sophisticated, fun!
Usage: The use of the images is exclusively digital (Parea website, social, etc.).
Models: We spoke about pictures of 3-4 individuals, each with 2-3 final solo images, and 1-2 images in a group setting or environment like reading at a coffee shop or on the subway.
Additional Images: a cache of 6-8 arresting beautiful images without people in it, possibly in black and white, to place book images and Parea into.
Location: Lisbon, Portugal. (I will start pre-casting this week.)
Timing: Shooting late May, delivery mid June.
As with any project quite a few things changed from these initial notes as we got closer to the shoot and further developed the concept. Some things even changed during the shoot as we allowed ourselves to be influenced by our environment and the energy and synergy our models brought to the project.
We expanded our key words and also ended up casting more people than we initially planned for to cover more angles. There were just so many great people in Lisbon to choose from during casting. We ended up cutting the part of the concept which included images without people in favor of throwing and documenting a dinner party since it was more representative of Parea’s desire to create community around books.
Below are some campaign images alongside behind-the-scenes snaps and outtakes.
One of the images was already put to use in a recent FastCompany article about Parea.
The shoot took place all over the beautiful Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon during a tightly planned and intense 14 hour day and it was a truly wonderful experience.
Collaborating with Amy was fantastic and we were so creatively aligned that we could essentially finish each other’s sentences on set. Highly collaborative, my favorite.
I will dedicate a future issue of Process to the night time dinner party shoot since it was my first experiment shooting a commercial campaign on film with an on-camera flash rather than a full lighting set up. Spoiler alert: I loved it! Here’s a sneak preview:
Take copious notes during client meetings to help get everyone on the same page creatively and logistically. There are so many things to keep track of during commercial shoots it’s impossible to do without taking notes. Listening is such a key skill for any creative professional, photography included, and mirroring what you hear back to a collaborator means they not only feel heard, it also avoids any misunderstanding later on that can derail the creativity.
Hire a local assistant who knows their way around. Luisa did double duty appearing in several shots but also assisting me before and during the shoots and helping us get around the neighborhood. It was a life saver on a long shoot.
Working with “regular” people can be just as effective as working with professional models, as long as there is an atmosphere of trust and fun to help make everyone feel comfortable and clear on what is being asked of them. Professional models are great too and they know their angles and poses, but for a shoot like this interesting people who don’t have professional modeling experience can add a beautiful authenticity that suits the client’s storytelling.
We got so many good images that we ended up going over scope2, which is always a sign of a successful shoot. I am excited to see these images get rolled out as part of Parea’s launch this summer and can’t wait to work with Amy again.
Until then I’m looking forward to following along as Parea becomes a positive force for change in the publishing industry. To learn more visit their website where they’re offering a preorder for their first release, The Hours Before Dusk by Jenna Matecki, shipping in August. It’s a great book with beautiful illustrations and you’ll dig it.
All film was developed and scanned by my friends at Carmencita Film Lab. Use code “PROCESS” at check out to get a free size upgrade for your scans.
That’s it for this week! I’m so happy to be back in your inbox. Expect some fun announcements coming up about new projects and Process related developments.
Next Sunday: how to create your personal brand as a photographer.
Important Housekeeping: I’m in the market for an experienced freelance editorial assistant to help me with Process in terms of the admin, managing the publishing calendar, partnerships, and more. If this is you drop me a line to tell me a bit about your experience in a similar role and your interest in photography.
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others.
PS Shout out to the team over at Flip for partnering with Process to make the Giveaways possible and I am pumped for the next run of Give Aways coming up starting next week.
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Trigger warning for all you T.S. Eliot fans: a recent collection of his poetry gets half a star less than NOTICE on the same page. Not my fault!
Images that are “in scope” are those you planned for and are included in the budget set before the shoot. If you go over scope that means there are so many good images the client licenses additional images beyond what we had planned for. Which is great!