BTS: Watch Patrick Demarchelier Shoot a Beauty Campaign for Guerlain

There are many different ways to learn photography. For me, one of the biggest keys to improving my craft has always been observational learning. I find that watching others do things I’d like to do is both inspiring and educational. It’s one of the reasons why I try to watch at least a couple of behind the scenes videos every day. What better way to learn something than from the best, such as fashion and beauty photographer Patrick Demarchelier?

The French photographer recently shot a campaign for Guerlain with the stunning Russian Model Natalia Vodianova. A short behind the scenes video was produced, and I believe that having a quick peek at a large commercial campaign shoot is always beneficial. It’s probably not with this two-minute long video that you’ll learn to place your lights properly. However, it’s interesting to see how simple some of the setups used in such shoots are. If you look at the first setup shown in the above footage, you’ll see that Demarchelier only used one single light with what looks like an Elinchrom 39" octabox, a piece of reflective material, and some kind of cardboard or foam core to add movement to the hair. That’s it! Famous creatives don’t always use tools that are not accessible to us!

While there’s nothing wrong with a minimalist approach (I’m the first to shoot with a single strobe or even natural light if I can), seeing how Demarchelier works is a fantastic reminder for photographers that you don’t need a lot of gear to create world-class images. Sure, it’s always nice to have more equipment than you need, but too much can quickly become a distraction.

Do you like watching behind the scenes videos as much as I do? I would love to see more of them in the Fstoppers Groups and have a chance to repost the best ones in future articles for everyone to see! So, be sure to check out our community and share your work there in addition to Instagram or Facebook.

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7 Comments

I've seen a lot of photographers to shoot through things, specially in beauty shots and i'm loving the look!

Thomas Starlit's picture

Capture One. Of course

Ben Pearse's picture

cool, more bts 4 sure...

Eduardo Francés's picture

Demarchelier always uses simple lighting setups with awesome results!!! His focus is on the person rather than adding a million lights and making it look "Hip or Cool"

Youtube is choke full of BTS of Demarchelier (just search in Youtube Patrick Demarchelier Behind the scenes) :)

Really a lot of people on that set. I wonder how many of them are relevant for the project's workflow and how is it relevant from the cost perspective of the client.

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Looking at all the lights on the set, I'd guess they were shooting the video campaign as well, which could explain the large staff.

Eduardo Francés's picture

100% with you.

a) Client (Guerlain) and the assistants of the people in charge.
b) Ad agency people
c) Demarchelier and his assistants (tech, grip, etc.)
d) MUA and Hair Stylist
e) Film crew (those 2K say a lot) and grip people

What surprised me is how thin Demarchelier is now, I know he's 73 years old, but he looks really skinny now, I hope he's fine :(