Just because COVID19 has slowed the rest of the world, it doesn't mean you can't have an artsy or commercially viable photoshoot. Here's our top 12 tips on how we did our webcam shoot for our latest collection Queerantine 20-21.
1. Find a photographer who knows how to direct.
Think of this is a "pro photographer, cheap camera" challenge, and the only way to get interesting results is having a photographer who knows how to set poses and direct a editorial fashion shoot.
2. Get a model who's patient and open-minded.
Another challenge is finding a model who will have the capacity to take instruction, and apply it effectively without burning out. The last thing you want is someone quitting on the spot because they're fed up trying to adjust their webcam for the unteenth time, which unfortunately is just going to happen a lot on shoots like this.
3. Check if your model can do their own makeup.
Technically, this part isn't 100% necessary. You could do no makeup and say it's part of this whole unpolished effect you're going for but the photos could go wrong for a number of other reasons aesthetically and having a painted mug might just ensure you have less things to worry about. Check if your model can do their own make up. If not...
4. Makeup artists HAVE to wear masks.
This part depends on where you live and what kind of restrictions are in place. Our shoot took place on July 4th 2020, before Stage 3 restrictions were reinstated in Melbourne, Australia and sending a makeup artist on set did not violate any restrictions. We had started building our team a month in advance and ultimately decided, as business owners with people relying on us for income, that it wasn't worth letting anyone go since restrictions were eased anyway.
5. Before the shoot, plan a setting with your model.
Schedule a 30 minute video conference call with your photographer and model ahead of final shoot day to plan a setting. Ask your model to suggest rooms in their home with the best lighting and what time of the day that happens. You might have to move a couple pieces of furniture around depending on the kind of photo you want. This would also be a good time to take a couple of test shots to see how things are working for you.
6. Take a photo of all your outfits ahead of time.
If the shoot isn't commercial, you can just ask your model to recommend some cute looks. If it is, fashion designers & stylists, be prepared to document each look you're planning to shoot and upload it to a Pinterest board. This creates a visual guide for you and your model to communicate on the day what to put on and how to put it on. THIS IS A MASSIVE TIME SAVER. Do not skip this step or you'll run over time for sure.
7. Use Apple products and Facetime.
Okay, not a sponsored ad -I promise. We tried Google Hangouts and for whatever reason the image that streamed over voice call just never gave us a usable photo. We then tried an HD webcam but if your lighting isn't fallible, you'll end up with a bad photo. After all our tests, we found that the back facing camera (not the selfie one) on an Iphone paired with Facetime gave us the best results! Go figure.
8. Don't overload the video call.
So if you're just a photographer and a model, this part won't apply to you. If you're a team of 4, then this will definitely apply to you. If you overload the video call by turning it into a conference call between 3-4 computers, someone's bandwidth is sure to suffer and the video stream will be pixelated and unusable. Have your photographer and model face time each other on one device, then set up another device behind your photographers shoulder so you can oversee the clothes and the styling.
9. Internet speed should be preferably at 40 MBPS.
This is pretty self-explanatory. You can have all team members check their internet speed by running a speed test with Google. You might get away with speeds as low as 10 MBPS but that will definitely present its own challenges on top of everything else.
10. Pack your clothes with an inventory list.
Create an inventory list, listing each and every item or piece of clothing you're sending to your model. After all, you don't want anything to get lost!
11. Forgot to send something? Send it with Uber Connect.
This undoubtedly will happen for sure. If it does, don't panic! Send it with a same day courier service like Uber Connect.
"Uber Connect is an easy, same-day, no-contact delivery solution that allows people to send items... an item you sold online or an important business document... No postage required."
12. Similar projects that might help.
Here are some relevant links to other projects that really helped me get my head around this idea. Hopefully they help you too! 💖
Good luck with your shoot! ✨