Plan, Prepare, Produce | What makes a Photo Shoot | Commercial & Portrait Photography in SSF CA

Hello Gorgeous!

Behind the Scenes — we’ve all seen photo shoots on TV, right…
We can even get a look behind the scenes of the latest fashion spreads in top magazines…
who doesn’t LOVE that?

The video above from a Vogue Cover shoot in 2012 of Lady Gaga, a real s-hero in my book, shows all the fun that dressing up and posing in front of the cameras can be, with the splendor of lights and fans…
but did you catch the beginning?

The wig styling!  Boys lugging heavy stages, setting up lights!  The shoes and wardrobe carefully set out, no less than seven outfits/looks were photographed, by the way…

While we are given a peek into some of the preparations of a photo shoot, we don’t really get to see the real deal on TV.

Before a session ever comes to reality, the photographer must come up with a concept and plan it out…
this may be as simple as me reviewing the wardrobe you’ve brought along to the studio for a glamour session and planning out in my head, or more often on paper, what outfits we will photograph on what background and the poses that will match well.
If I’m working on a commercial project, the planning stage can take longer than the actual shoot, add in client expectations and stylists or a location and the planning could take even longer.

Preparation is essential for a quality photo shoot — creating the set, lighting the set, gathering props, laying out the wardrobe, hair and makeup of course and time management to ensure everything is on schedule, whew, I’m tired already!

Preparation for on-location sessions includes setting up all the gears and testing to make sure everything is working.

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Sometimes the preparation truly is behind the scenes — as in, you’ll never see it — when you come to our studio for a glamour session for instance, the set and lighting is in place, hair and makeup is ready to go and we are waiting for your wardrobe.  For every session we host, at least an hour is dedicated to preparation of the studio for session.


Fabulous Photo Shoots

After all the planing and preparation the production begins with
the Photo Shoot!  But the photo shoot isn’t the end of production, it’s actually just the beginning.

When we “wrap” the photo session — in addition to cleaning up and putting all those fancy gears away — the photos must be culled, organized, and cropped, some may need to be thrown away due to blinks or operator error 😉

After culling, we need to narrow down the photos to the best-of-the-best.

Retouching comes next, smoothing the skin slightly and fixing any wrinkles in the clothes or blemishes on the face.  We take away what you don’t care for, so all that’s left is what you love…
Got a tattoo you don’t want to show off, that’s okay, we got your back!


Your images are prepared for your personal reveal, where we’ll meet in the studio once again and I share all the beautiful portraits we’ve made together so you can choose the ones you love and purchase only those!


More production comes as we prepare your selections for printing, we work with a lab to produce those beautifully luminescent prints to show off your radiance.  When the prints come in, we lovingly hand mount them in black mattes ready for framing and deliver them to you in a handmade folio for you to enjoy.

handmatting folio box portrait product

I love prints, to me they are timeless and so I offer this service to my clients, as well as including digital files for online use and to print again and again, because I know later you’re going to want to have these… sharing is caring!

And there you have it…
all that goes into a photo shoot — the planning, preparation and production required.  Commercial or Portraiture, the work is a labour of love and I am proud to say: I love my job!

See you soon!


Schedule a transformational beauty portrait session of your own at Sweet Light Studios and See Yourself in a New Light!
Phone: 1+415/409.9389  | eMail: