Behind the Scenes: Cover Shoot

Of all the types of photography we do, people are mostly curious about magazine work.  Something about doing a “cover shoot” seems so cool.  Spend ten minutes with us and you’ll know we’re two of the biggest dorks on the planet – don’t get me wrong… we’re nice, just in a dorky way.   Honestly though, if you think doing a magazine cover shoot seems like a really awesome, fun thing to do… you’re kind of right.  Here’s all the nitty gritty behind-the scenes info. from the April issue of Celebrate Arkansas magazine.mag2

The first step is the vision.  When we work with Celebrate Arkansas Magazine they will give us a call to tell us who we’re photographing and what the angle is going to be for the story.  We also discuss time constraints.  Often the people we are photographing for the cover are very busy, so we may only have 15-20 minutes to get multiple looks.  This is why the planning and preparation stage is so crucial.  Sometimes the magazine will have a location and a concept, but most of the time we will discuss the creative aspects of the shoot together to come up with ideas.  This is the very fancy and professional way I bring my photo ideas to the session:IMG_0074The location for this cover was in the balcony of the Meteor Guitar Gallery in downtown Bentonville.  Just a tiny patch of the cool, vintage theater seating.  We needed to give it a dramatic look, so David has our trusty can of Pringles (empty – we bought the can and ate them on the way over) and baby powder.  Any true photographer knows how we used these…. 😉IMG_9873We typically arrive at least 30 minutes early to walk through the space and come up with a final plan for the images we want to create.  From there we start building the lighting.  This is done well before the “model” arrives.  Contrary to what people may think, lighting isn’t just a “set it up and go” endeavor.  Even when you come in with the concept, it requires tweaking to get everything just right.IMG_1734For this shot we used a large octobox to light our model from the front.  This provides even, soft light.  In the back you can see we have a flash on a stand.  On this we put a “snoot” (or in this case, an empty pringles can) to create a more narrow beam of light.  This is the part of the session where we use our stand-in, Justin, to test the lighting.  Justin is the Creative Director for the magazine and has been the stand in for every cover shoot we’ve done in the past year.  Basically, if there’s a shot of someone in the magazine, I have a matching one of Justin (now that would make a great blog post… :).  Justin is also the person behind me while I’m photographing – looking at images on the back of the camera, picturing how they will work in the layout of the story.  Having a creative director on a shoot is so nice for a photographer.  The creative ideas we have together are much better than those I might have alone.

As you can see when you scroll down, the color of the background changes slightly.  We’ve used a blue gel over the flash to create the mood of a theater.  I’ve got to give credit to David for that masterful touch.  Makes such a difference in the final image!IMG_1737Enter our model and Dave, with the “baby powder magic”!  Looks like he’s blowing a kiss. So adorable, that guy.IMG_1774Once the photos are uploaded and edited, we send them over to the magazine where the graphic design magic happens.  This magazine has really terrific artists on staff.  They make our photos look amazing!mag1

And here’s a time-lapse video of how it all looks…in seven seconds.

Trevor Drinkwater was featured for this cover story.  He’s the co-creator of the Bentonville Film Festival.  Pick up a magazine to read the full article about this guy and the impressive things he and Geena Davis are doing for diversity in film and our NWA community.IMG_1788mag3IMG_1764Check out the full online issue at Celebrate Arkansas Online or purchase your copy at Walmart or Barnes and Noble.

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