A. Ok so I sit down with my client and discuss what they want to achieve and what "the look and feel" of the campaign will be. That means knowing your demographics, customers and how your customers think. Then we discuss how we are going to achieve all of this through imagery. Do we want one two three or more models? Do we want males and females? Do we want happy, confident models? Do we want beautiful tall thin females or the average woman to represent the company's image?
Next we decide on the location whether that is a studio with a set or a beautiful beach or a house in the hills etc. The art director is present to keep us on track with the vision of the client. I will go scout the location and shoot some digital stills to create a rough mock up of the ad with my assistant standing in for the models. After we all decide on the look and feel, we hold a casting for models. I will call the agencies, Ford Models, Elite Models, Next Models, LA Models and others and tell the bookers how many models we need, the budget for each model and the look we need. The date and time is set for the casting and we wait for the models to show up.
The casting is the most important element in the preparation. I need to know that I am not casting just a "pretty face" or a "great figure." There MUST be a personality behind the pretty face. If a model cannot evoke, or let go and get into character then I have no need for them. I can get a mannequin for that matter. So the client and I will look through the model portfolio and ask him or her questions to get a feeling of their personality. I will snap a few shots to see how they move and interact with the camera.
If we are using 2 or more models in the shoot we will have a 2nd day of casting to see the selections together and how they interact. It really is no different than casting for a film.
I cannot stress this enough, a talented model is also a talented actor. You must be able to act like someone else on camera. When looking at a photo it must evoke emotion, some kind of emotion or there must be some reason why we want to look at the image. That emotion that we feel could be different for all of us. The bottom line is the photographer must be able to get inside of the model and pull out all the stuff that is going on in his or her head. It drives me crazy when I hear a photographer tell me that the model just stood there and didn't do anything. I ask if he told her to do anything or talk to her or give her any direction and his answer is well no, that's her job. LOL I just laugh.