Shooting editorial the way I like it

There are different kind of editorial shoots. One is a story about someone or something, another is commissioned work for a fashion magazine… and everything inbetween. I love the first one.

Why I love shoot editorial stories? Because there’s always everything new. You get to meet new people who are from different walks of life and approaches to life. Always new locations, where your brain have to work around obstacles and your lighting techniques get something new. If we are talking before shoot, I am often offered to see “what’s the place like”. I always say “no!”. Of course – you can figure some things beforehand, but the thrill of stepping into unknown is too awesome to pass on.

That does not mean, that you don’t prepare. Of course not. It’s always good to get a feel of a person you will work with. Have a talk. If you don’t know much about the topic – spend couple hours googling it in the evening before. Sure! And there’s one more important thing:

Be yourself. And this might be really bad advice, if you want to keep a job with some stuck up, but well paying clients. God forbid, I am not saying, that you should not dress well, be polite and work professionally – surely no – but I’ve seen too many times, that photographers go beyond that and respond with tortured smile on client’s rudeness. So, when I can shoot on my own terms, I try to be myself and actually enjoy the thing I am doing.

This shoot in particular… I’ve seen Imants Daksis performing just a couple of times and in the last one the thought of shooting him just appeared out of nowhere [as it often does]. We exchanged contacts after the show and in about two or three weeks we arranged an actual shoot at his place. Couple days beforehand we met up with him and his girlfriend/manager to sort out the details: use of the images, talked about the feel I am going for. They’ve seen my work prior to that, but it’s always better to actually meet in person earlier and talk about it – you can always express yourself better live, not electronically – it is better and more comfortable for both sides.

Talking about sides… It’s so awesome to get to know your subject, but if you’re come in with all the seriousness on your face, people probably will not talk to you about… stuff, anything really. They will talk, if you are a human being. Because they are human beings. Simple really, heh.

This time around I even brought beer with me /I asked his girl/manager beforehand, if he drinks it/. It was a Saturday’s afternoon and I had four beers in my camera bag. I simple asked, if he wants one and in the end we both had couple in a two hour shoot. Did it help? On alcohol side – probably not, but it definitely eased up conversation, as now there were just two people talking, not one with a camera and another one posing. You have to be certain about these things, though – but you did your homework and everything is fine.

Tech wise – nothing really new in editorials as in another shoots. You play with your surroundings. Surely, sometimes, especially in shoots with time constraints, the multitasking of keeping up a conversation and figuring out difficult light set-up might be a strain, but then just openly say “don’t mind me now, I’ll just sit here for a minute to figure out the best way”. Everybody is interested that you create a great image, not only you :] But, of course, don’t go in blasting with four lights, if you’re used to work with just a reflector [which often can be enough].

Well, I rumbled for a while now. Time for some smoke.


Whole set. /might be a heavy data load/


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