Setting The Mood For Your Photo Shoot

Here at Dorak Film, we know that every single detail makes a difference. Our videos and photo shoots are studiously set up so that there are no random shadows or “lines of sight” that will draw attention away from the action going on. Props and background pieces are crucial for telling the story, and the slightest mistake can make the scene “feel” all wrong.

Personal or Themed

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The logistics of putting something in the frame besides the person you are photographing can become clichéd and trite. How do you add that little personal touch, or fit into a theme, without falling into hackneyed views? After all, how many people actually have fluted columns in their garden to frame them as they gaze into the distance?

Having a personal touch in the photo or video may mean understatement, rather than “in your face”. For instance, the traditional photo of the bride looking at herself in the full length mirror takes on an even more personal – and unique – note when included in the reflection is her childhood teddy bear.

Take the item representing the theme, or the personal item, and use is simply as part of the background or just another object.

Furnishing

Holiday Living Room

Furnishing should be kept to a minimum, unless you are filming the set of “Big Bang Theory”. We like to use Fit and Furnish as much as possible, because they can always anticipate our aim for the photo shoot. If we need a desk for a graduation photo montage, they are right there with an old fashioned school desk that we would have never considered. Or, if we need a chaise for an evening gown model, they have just the right one that will add grace and sophistication to the scene without overpowering it.

Stress Relationship

What relationship does your subject have with the furnishings or props being used? Documenting the personal relationship with the item should look natural – not posed. If your subject, for example, has inherited his grandmother’s flute, take a shot of him playing the flute. If he doesn’t play, have the flute leaning against a bookcase in the background. When possible, film the connection taking place between the subject of the photo shoot and the prop. This doesn’t mean that they have to kick every soccer ball or swing the baseball bat. Those shots usually look staged and artificial. But, perhaps your subject could be leaning on the baseball bat, or have it slung over his shoulder.

Typically, a valued heirloom or bit of furniture does not have to be front and centre in the shot. That would be a documentary type photo shoot. Rather, try to have the item subtly used as an accessory to the shot. Drape the wedding veil on the door of a wardrobe; throw the letter jacket over the back of a chair.

Subtlety goes a long way in a successful photo shoot, and the right furnishings will set the mood.

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