Theater Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations
Before I can get everyone on the same page, I also need to create a mood board. And so, again, I use Pinterest, that's pretty much my most common point of reference. It's a great way to source stuff. You can upload stuff. And so this was, more or less, what I was using as, hey, this is what the images need to look and feel like. The stylist can pull gowns or wardrobe based on this kinda stuff. I know what the lighting needs to look like, very ethereal, very glowy, very dramatic, very romantic. And so this is generally, just, the feel that I needed everything to end up looking like. Okay? So, this is obviously a lot bigger than what it is. It's probably three times what you're seeing on the screen. But again, it's just so I can constantly pull reference material over and over again. All right, so, some details on the location. So like I said, it's the Fifth Avenue Theater in Seattle. And this is what it looked like. These were my scout photos. And so when looking at it, if you Google it...
, they have the most beautifully done interior photos, when you search for it. You can see this really elegant ceiling. What's really fascinating about it, so it was built after the earthquake, so I think about the 1920's. And after the fires. So it's built, there's very little, like almost no wood in the building. So all of the embellishments are plaster instead of wood, even the stuff that is meant to look like wood, and painted to look like wood, it's plaster. And that huge ceiling, to protect it from earthquakes, is actually suspended from the floors higher up. So it actually just kind of, it hovers in there and can be raised and lowered to change out lights and stuff so the whole ceiling goes up and down which is super cool. But it's for the most part looks pretty close to, you know, the interior looks pretty close to how it was built, in like the 1920's. It had a little bit of a renovation, I believe, in the 70's, 80's, but for the most part they try to keep it stylistically pretty close, which I absolutely loved. And so we get into the space, and I'm planning on using spotlights and everything else, and all this other kinda stuff. And so we ultimately find out that that's not really an option for us so we have to find another solution. How do we make a theater look like it's lit by the stage lights and everything else without actually being able to use the or having to have access to where those lights could be? So we have to kinda fake that along the way. You'll also find that there is a railing in the front of the stage and this is to kinda protect the edge before, you know, there's a pit area in the front. And so I'm looking at it and I go, oh, that clearly can't be there. So we had to kinda sweet talk them into letting us take it down while we were actually shooting. So that was a consideration that we had to make. Also, when all of the lights are on, it looks like this. Not particularly cinematic, not particularly exciting. But when the lights are pretty dark, the ceiling is the only thing that really glows in the space. So what I have to do is I have to make all of that kind of work together. So, this is kinda what I know going into it. This is what the space looks like, to the naked eye. No fancy pictures done of it. This is what the blank slate is. Then we get to the wardrobe. How does the wardrobe fit within the space? And so we've got a few different options. Both of these two on the left were pulled, I brought them in from New York, they were pulled from a couple local designers up there. The one on the right we have a version of this. That's a dress from Amazon, relatively inexpensive. So, know that you can pull beautiful, gorgeous, amazing clothing and wardrobe sometimes, and then sometimes you have to kinda work around getting something that's a little bit more creative. And I'm gonna show you what both of those look like, and they both turned out really, really well. So, we're going for that very polished gown look. I wanted something that looked epic in the space so I didn't want to shortchange myself on what the clothing they were wearing was. Like it wouldn't make sense for someone to be up there in jeans and a t-shirt, or just maybe a normal nice dress. It needed to look just amazing. It needed to fit the space. It needed to fit the pomp and the amazingness of the space and so I wanted the clothing to be really reflective of that and so I got a couple of really sparkly gowns to achieve that, or something with a really long train. Then we get to hair and makeup. Again, how does this reflect what you're working with? And so I like that old Hollywood, glamorous hair, the waves in the hair, the kind of cat eyes on the makeup, the nice lip. I'm not going for anything that's crazy, ridiculously over the top. I want it to fit the period. I want it to look beautiful and elegant. Remember that Gilda animated? That. That's what I was goin for. That's the time period that I really wanted to nail down and so this is the hair and makeup inspiration that I sent to my hair and makeup artist. In addition to that, the face was not going to be super close, so, I could get away with certain things there as well. That was kinda what I was going for, and, that's what we got. I used two models for this. We call them models, call them actors, depends on whatever you prefer. But these were our two subjects that we used for this. I think it came out really interesting as you're about to see. There are certain considerations we have to make when it comes to picking out your subjects. Who's available on the day, who fits the clothes that you have pulled, do they fit the general look and feel of the images you are going for? And everyone's gonna have different things that they're looking for when it comes to what those considerations are. But that's kinda the whole thing about who are you as an image creator and what do you look for in the details that you bring to your image? And so we got these two and we used them for these two shots. All right. Then, we actually get to the lighting. And so we talked about all of these different ingredients. These are all things that are decided weeks and weeks ahead of time. What does the wardrobe look like? Who are the models? And usually you figure out who your models are, and then you match the wardrobe to it, or sometimes you get the wardrobe first and you match the models to it. It goes all different directions. But you wanna make sure that works. You can obviously make something a little bigger fit someone who's smaller and clamp it up or you can make something a little bit bigger. So when it's different sizes you can make things work. But you know didn't have any props to consider, we had wardrobe to consider, we had models to consider, we had the location to consider. But now we actually get to the lighting. And this is the last thing, but this is probably one of those things that takes the most time on the day. I actually shoot very little. I'm all pre-production. I'm all set up. My shooting time is short because I know going into it what I'm looking to create, what I want it to look like, and once it's there everyone steps in, you're here, great, we take the picture, and we can move on. And I look for certain varieties. I look for variations on what I'm doing, but, for me, the image is made in the pre-production, and the actual just taking the picture is, the really small part of this. And so I love the whole idea of crafting the image in all of the work that goes into it so that when I'm actually making the images all of my preparation kinda comes together and like it's there. And it's always really easy to get excited about what your photographing when it looks really good. And this is a Lyndseyism, but it's if you want to be more excited about what you're photographing, put more exciting things in front of your camera. And so I always think that's really good advice. Like, put something in front of your camera that you're excited to photograph and you wanna photograph. And that was kinda the entire build up to this.