In a world with so much at our fingertips, so much content created and consumed, it’s a wonder any messages get through the noise. Automation helps us get more content to market at pace, but the eye of a photographer is still integral in telling the right story for our clients. Our Director of Photography, Manvir Rai, looks at the work that goes in behind the scenes to make a truly great shoot, before that first snap.
In order to keep up with demand, automation has become a larger part of the content creation process – something we’re well-versed in at Team ITG.
Our ITG Capture facility includes automated photography and video studios for that precise reason. There are times when our clients need to get huge amounts of content to market at pace to keep up with customer requirements, and we make it happen.
However, for those more complex shoots, it takes the experience and know-how of our teams to pull it all together, juggling the different variables and factors to ensure we’re telling the right story, in the right way.
Every client has their own goals and budget. So, it’s important to have a solid approach; an organised production and narrative, with quality in mind. In other words, craft something.
Narratives are well considered and designed to work with products in mind, meeting the end goal of our clients. Easy, or so we think.
The creative brief is usually thought out and agreed before we start to think about the what, when, where and how – not forgetting to understand why.
Once the narrative is pinned down, it’s a case of translating it as a team with the creative director steering the look and feel. The producer and I can start putting details into place (plus the producer won’t let you forget the budget!). That also means allocating a time-per-shot. As you can imagine time per shot can add up to more than budgeted when exploring lighting or lensing to pin down the look – that’s called being ambitious.
“It’ll be alright”, is usually the next phrase to be uttered, often with a cheeky glint in the eye!
The team has to think about all the various talents needed to execute the creative. That can be set designers, builders, wardrobe, hair and make-up, props, models, assistants, studio, finding a location – the list goes on…
Real trust in one another’s ability is needed in this partnership. It allows for a more ambitious approach, maybe even daring to try something new. Often, that’s when you find that bit of magic.
When you get on set, knowing when to cut through the noise of the many opinions that might be flying around. Some may be relevant, but some not.
Questioning as we go is important, but letting ideas grow organically, while checking that the narrative is still be realised in the best way, usually results in a happy client.
Good chemistry between the photographer and the creative director is a big plus. If I can see their vision, together we can translate it into an image with synergy.
Changes may always be suggested along the way as you take steps through your approach. But remember – the client has agreed on direction by now.
Oh, and that budget won’t have got any bigger, nor the timeframe any longer!
Flexibility doesn’t need to be compromised – it can sometimes be good to find new stepping stones when the one you’re on isn’t working – but it means recognising when and what is best for the endgame.
That’s a calculated judgment call. We live in a subjective world where there isn’t a right and wrong way. You’ll only know if the approach was the correct one when you see the final result. Confidence comes with experience, which helps engineering the approach in the first place.
The best clients I’ve worked with are always the ones you can form a two-way partnership with, and that’s key to how we approach things!
So now, we’re ready pick up the camera. Be prepared to give it your pound of flesh. If you don’t mean it, don’t be there.
Director of Photography, Team ITG.