Shooting or being involved in a fashion or beauty shoot is a lot of fun. It’s a day where creative personalities, the photographer, stylist, hair and makeup and assistants as well as the client's creative team get together to produce a story, a body of work that they want to show the world. Everyone is focussed on bringing their best ideas to the party.
I’ve assisted great photographers and produced some work for the local fashion scene. I’ve been responsible for lighting, digital capturing, second-shooting, and shooting. I’ve been the guy interacting with the team and the client, and have been on many far-out, completely different locations and studios with mixes of creative personalities. The photographer is the director for the day, and needs to make sure their team keeps the energy up. The more positive energy, the better the work will be.
The one thing I noticed on most of these days is the music, the way it is played during the day, and if you play any music at all. Now you might be thinking that music is such a general concept, and that you will just have music play via your laptop or worse, your iPhone, but just think about it for a second. It’s a brilliant opportunity to create cohesion. The client, model, make-up artist, photographer, videographer, assistants, and catering are all in a room trying to setup for the day. How can you make this better and put a smile on their faces? It’s not an office, it’s a place where creative ideas are shared, and music can be the spark that sets it in motion.
Now I’m not suggesting you just click play. People have very specific tastes, and they might all be very different. The trick is to think like a DJ. On a shoot day, it’s not about you. It’s about the team. You can’t play your yoga playlist with the whole Cafe Del Mar on it; I've been there, and I can tell you your whole team will go to sleep within an hour. You need the right amount of energy, but also, not a whole day of Skrillex blasting away while you attempt discussing the mood-board with your client.
On the other hand, you need to build your brand. You need to show your client that you know what’s hot right now and that you are on-trend. You can partly do this through the music you play.
Now, you need to actually play the music. As mentioned above, the Smartphones today are great devices, but it’s not the device you should be playing music with if it’s a large studio with a group of people all discussing the various aspects of the shoot. You need a portable Bluetooth enabled player with a battery life that can play throughout the day. These are my top favorite brands that make Portable Bluetooth Players, and any of these will be winners, each for their own reason, whether it's quality of sound, physical design, ease of use, or the battery life:
Made in America, a brand of style and quality sound. These players show you have taste in what you surround yourself with and what you do. It’s an all-round winner, no matter which one you get.
10 hours playtime with good sound. The larger one can even be used as a battery charger for your phone which is quite neat. It can stand upright or flat and is splash-proof with rubber on the edges for impact should the lanyard snap-off your assistant’s neck.
Bang n Olufsen
12 hours play time and the best Scandanavian design, similar to that of the Hasselblad product range. You can download the iPhone app and let seven others contribute to the playlist. This can make the shoot more interactive, where everyone contributes. Just don’t let too many chefs spoil the broth, keep on jamming the winning tracks, make the day fun.
Aimed at a younger market, they specialized in earphones at first and then moved onto the Bluetooth speaker market later.
It’s owned by Apple, so the price for one of these is considerably higher than that of SkullCandy, although I think they aim for the same market. They also have a unique design that draws some attention. It’s not a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the central conversation piece no should it?
You want people to tap their feet, laugh and enjoy themselves. It’s the key to letting people do their best work. Music does this. You want to provide this in the best way possible. Let me know what you think of the playlist. We can do it a weekly post if it adds value to your photography and the work you do.
Once you have your player and you’re ready for your shoot, you can build your playlist for the day. What I’ve done is provide a starting-point playlist I’ve curated and made especially for a shoot day. It’s done with iTunes and Apple Music. It's put together with the idea of starting up the morning and playing through the day. It can even play on repeat if need be. You can obviously add to these and delete if you don’t like a tune. See it as a starting point, and if you want more, let me know and we can start a weekly playlist post specifically for shoots. I’m an iTunes Music subscriber so the playlist is from there. But it shouldn’t be too difficult to find it all on Spotify.
P.S. The best would be to download the playlist to your laptop or phone, especially if it’s a location shoot. Streaming can be an issue and you don’t want the music to distract from the day. Let's get jamming.