Chase Jarvis TECH: Photo Shoot in 180 Seconds

So many of the photography videos out there show great behind-the-scenes footage and tons of gear-related details. This video is more than that. In this Chase Jarvis TECH, I’m responding to the dozens–seemingly hundreds–of emails I’ve received recently asking me to highlight the various steps that comprise a professional commercial photo shoot. Therefore, follow along in this 3 minute video as I walk you through a recent commercial assignment where I was hired to photograph 3 hot young golf ladies of the LPGA.

[And of course I included a lighting diagram and tech specs in the video for you photo geeks out there.]

Click the ‘continue reading’ link below for a more complete description of the shoot, including the 6 core components to almost every commercial gigs, a detailed list of the equipment used, and more.


We all like to focus on the creative aspects of our jobs as photographic artists. I know that’s my favorite part – it keeps us sane and engaged. However, often overlooked are the nuts and bolts, or the framework for what enables our professional creative vision to become a reality.

As you see in the vid, it’s my belief that nearly every commercial shoot has 6 core components or phases. Roughly, those are:

1. Contracts, creative concepting, and pre-production. In this phase you’re putting the deliverables in writing, your flexing your creative muscles with the client, and you (or your producer) are lining up the logistical details of the shoot.

2. Travel. While it’s not a component to every shoot (eg, in your studio?), it is a big part of many shoots. Whether you travel across the country, the world, or just your home town, you’re still moving bodies and equipment, and thus this deserves your attention.

3. Scouting. Whether you do it weeks, days, or hours in advance, you should–if at all possible–build time into your schedule to visit the location before you shoot. Take into consideration how the light looks, where the sun moves, logistical challenges, etc. Take sample images and look at various angles. Make a game plan.

4. Shooting. This is the fun part where you get to do all the stuff that made you want to be a photographer in the first place. Focus on creativity and executing your vision.

5. Post production. This is the step where you process your images, retouch them according to the client needs, and most importantly add your personal mojo. This is often overlooked, so be sure to build time into the schedule. (See an earlier post for my opinions on this.)

6 Delivery. Whether you deliver online via FTP or via hard drives, DVDs, or whatever media via Fed Ex, it’s important that you have a smooth system that works for both you and the client, with special attention to file format, color space, and timeline, etc.

Obviously, these 6 components are just a shell meant to act as a guideline. You could thin-slice this to death and include color palette review, stylist collaboration, prepping the models or talent, etc, but I’ve chosen to sort these things into these 6 larger buckets. Of course you could also add things before and after this set of six, like wooing the client before and following-up after the job with a thank you, etc. Again, I’m truncating these elements in favor of focusing on the big 6 elements so that you catch my drift.

Other specs from this job:
-I shot using the Nikon D3, and
-I shot primarily with the Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 lens, and
-I shot primarily on a Bogen carbon fiber tripod and a Manfrotto head, and
-I shot tethered to an Apple MacBook Pro (see Pimped Laptop Case vid), and
-I shot directly into Apple Aperture, and
-I used 2 Profoto 7b packs, and
-I used Pocket Wizards to fire the strobes, and
-I used one medium and one small Chimera softbox.

The great LPGA golfers I was fortunate to shoot for this gig were:
-Erica Blasberg
-Charlotte Mayorkas
-Irene Cho

And, as always, feel free to post comments, ask questions, or lemme know what I forgot to include in the comments below.

Other Chase Jarvis TECH videos that might float your boat:
[Chase Jarvis TECH: Packing Photography Gear]
[Chase Jarvis TECH: POV Photography]
[Chase Jarvis TECH: Pimped Laptop Case]

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