In today’s society anyone can pick up a phone and share photographs through apps like Instagram. Many ‘Instagramers’ will deliberately style their photographs before sharing them. It’s certainly no accident! Users will move their subjects around to ensure they get just the right crop, or that perfect selfie. Professional photoshoots are very much the same. The photographer understands how to capture the ideal shot using the best angles and the correct lighting.
Throughout the year, the Planet team will often attend various photoshoots, offering their art direction expertise; from product photography to a lifestyle shoot abroad. It’s not a bad task travelling to gorgeous locations with a great team and fantastic products to shoot (except for those early morning starts!).
What is an Art Director?
An art director is an individual who is responsible for the visual style of a creative piece in various media types; this can include product packaging, advertising, magazines and so on. Our Art Directors have been carefully trained to be involved in all types of shoots, from start to finish. It allows us to control the project from the initial idea to the final outcome and everything in-between.
How art direction helps photographers
Working with our favourite photographers, Dan Reid and Dave Cunningham, regularly gives us great continuity in terms of their photographic styles (and the final outcome), but also allows us to maintain a strong working relationship. The photographers need to know what the subject is and how it needs to be shot. Whether you’re looking for moody lighting giving smooth silhouettes, or vibrant, energetic portraits, it’s vital that they know the plan. Being able to communicate with them easily is essential, they need to know what you’re asking of them and you need to know what to ask them and how to produce the best results for the client.
What’s involved in art directing?
It’s important to understand the brief thoroughly, know exactly what your aim is and know the product you’re photographing well. Have a clear goal in mind, and do everything within your power to make it happen (assuming your client is satisfied with the goals that have been set out).
When you’re art directing, you need to communicate clearly with those that you’re working with so they know exactly what’s expected of them, from the photographer to the models. It’s usually a team effort to get everything right in order to get that perfect shot.
Though organisation is important, we’re not afraid to look around for spur of the moment inspiration. It’s fun to think on the fly while you’re in any situation – the risk often produces some interesting results.
The outcome and the benefits
We are given a distinct intended outcome from the start meaning we know whether the final shot is going to be used for a landscape double page advertisement, or for a series of internet banners of varying sizes. This allows us to cover all bases for multiple uses if necessary.
If we have a clear idea of the final outcome from the start, it makes for a much smoother process. We can plan to photograph in a certain way to make later editing more straightforward. It’s about keeping sight of that perfect shot.