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The Whole Picture—A Professional Beauty Photo Shoot

By: Jesse Hill and Aniko Hill
Posted: August 3, 2010, from the August 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.
The Kitchen Collaborative

Photographer: Jesse Hill; Art Director: Aniko Hill; Model: Amanda Riley/Ford Models; Makeup and Hair: Hilla Peer; Photo Assistant: Stephanie Cottle

  • Good research can help you understand the mindset of consumers and develop images that will appeal to their sensibilities.
  • Since the model is the visual ambassador for the brand, choosing the correct face is crucial.
  • Even the most beautiful face can look harsh under the wrong conditions, so beauty photography, therefore, requires total control of the environment.
  • Even with all the preparation, on-set technique and postproduction magic involved in a beauty photo shoot, the audience ultimately needs to be able to identity with the image of beauty presented— even if it is idealized.

Photographer: Jesse Hill; Art Director: Aniko Hill; Model: Amanda Riley/Ford Models; Makeup and Hair: Hilla Peer; Photo Assistant: Stephanie Cottle

Watch the video of the set-up.

To create a successful brand campaign, all the touchpoints must be in harmony to communicate a consistent and meaningful message to the consumer. One of the keys to successful branding is developing an emotional connection between the brand and the market, and out of all the brand touchpoints, photography can be a one of the biggest elements in making this connection possible. People are inherently drawn to images of other people, and the photographic image that represents the brand can be the difference between whether a consumer will relate to the brand or not. The specifics and details of the photographic image are critical as the image will ultimately be one of the most direct and clear expressions of the brand that the consumer sees.

Producing a successful photo shoot is an endeavor no matter what the category, but a beauty photo shoot is a unique specialty. There are many layers, moving parts and essential ingredients involved in producing a professional shoot, and the stakes are high­—not just due to cost but because of the importance of the end result. Much like other creative projects, it’s similar to baking a cake: if one ingredient is off just a little, the whole project can “fail to rise” and you’ll have to throw it out and start over—at your expense.