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]

For RSS readers…depeding on your reader, you may need to click here to see the video.

76 Responses to Chase Jarvis TECH: Photo Shoot in 180 Seconds

  1. SalsaFresca August 7, 2008 at 2:01 am #

    Yessssss! So glad to see another awesome vid! Thank you Chase.

    I was actually one of the people who emailed you about this. Thanks you so much for listening to my request.

    PS, I love the final shots and the high speed golf cart stuff!

  2. Csanadim August 7, 2008 at 2:35 am #

    Amazing video! I love your photos, and your blog, I learn a lot! Really! Thx

  3. Andy August 7, 2008 at 3:15 am #

    what lens did you shoot that with?

  4. 20 August 7, 2008 at 3:27 am #

    “And the ‘All Around Great Guy’ award …better than any other industry award.. goes to : Chase Jarvis ” !

    Once again thanks for ‘giving back’ in this way Chase. You are leading the charge of a small anb rare breed of Pro Photog.


  5. Christian Brecheis Photography August 7, 2008 at 4:04 am #

    Great stuff!

  6. JK in NYC August 7, 2008 at 5:53 am #

    Cheers to another great vid Chase –

    I’m curious about your use of Aperture and Photoshop together. It sounds like Aperture does your raw conversion (via tether) and you export a tiff to Photoshop for your composite.

    So: Do you believe the Aperture raw conversion is as good (or better?) than Camera Raw/Lightroom? Or is it a convenience thing for your database?

  7. Martin Wolf August 7, 2008 at 6:36 am #

    Thanks a lot for another videos, Chase. I’m always amazed about your work. Keep up the great work and videos. :)

  8. Sarah Rhoads August 7, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    Chase, it may just be me but on both my computers it is now saying “we’re sorry but this video is no longer available” This makes my heart sad :(. I’ll try it again later though and maybe it will be working. Thanks for all the goodness you bring to this world.

  9. Tim August 7, 2008 at 8:50 am #

    Chase, you are pure marketing genius!

    Everyone, look and see what he accomplishes with videos like this.

    1. Gives back to the community in an educational how-do-they-do-it video. This is where I fit in. (never going to be pro, but often wonder what's involved and I will make purchases due to Chase's equipment choices. Chase, this should score you some free gear from the manufacturers, you are in essence advertising for them… Um.. let's see ProPhoto, Nikon, Chimera, Pocket Wizards. B&H; here I come )

    2. Shows current and future clients that he knows his stuff and can execute on an assignment.
    Professionalism and Execution are key.

    3. Shows off his amazing high quality work. drool.

    4. Keeps his name circulating in the latest and greatest world of new media. Makes the Chase Jarvis brand more valuable.

    Thanks again for sharing. It sure looks like you're all having a blast doing this creative work.

    Oh, by the way, even though I subscribe to your RSS feed, my Strobist feed is listed first and that's what brought me here.


  10. thesisdesignlab August 7, 2008 at 9:31 am #

    Nice vid! These are getting tighter and tighter. Props to Cody for some great work. Keep ‘em coming!

    PS: Was that Possum Hunt you polished off in the napkin scene? I need to get me some o’ that stuff…


  11. thorrad August 7, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    So, every time my friend Lou sends me to the site to look at your latest Video I end up asking “Why am I not doing that?” I am always truly inspired and grateful for your willingness to give all of us this level of info. Fantastic. I look forward to finding out more each time and to eventually meeting you in person.


  12. Anonymous August 7, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    you make it look so easy.

    a small tech thing; you’re editing on apple lcd’s, did you home-build the light hoods for those, or does someone sell ‘em?


  13. Chase Jarvis August 7, 2008 at 10:12 am #

    @ andy: shot with Nikkor 24-78mm 2.8. There’s a link in the body of the post.

  14. Shane O'Neill August 7, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    Chase I love your videos.
    This one is tops.
    I can not get me Canon 1ds Mk3 to shoot directly to Aperture I am jealous.
    I shoot alot of Catalog work & I have "Pimped" my Laptop case thanks to you!!!!!!!!!

    Big Thanks
    Shane O'Neill

  15. Chase Jarvis August 7, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    jk: It’s not a database thing for us. We keep all the data raw in the OS and import images to Aperture to work on individual jobs.

    Although both raw processing engines are solid, we dig Aperture’s. Plus there’s some whiz bang stuff Aperture’s got going on that we like.

  16. Chase Jarvis August 7, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    @ sarah: everything seems up and running here for us and for a handful of friends I’ve checked with. Try refreshing your browser.

  17. Trevin August 7, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    Another great blog post! I particularly liked the combination of the short video coupled with tech specs within the blog post.

  18. Ben Young August 7, 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Chase, another excellent blog post and video, keep them coming.

  19. Alex G August 7, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    kick ass! thank you!

  20. Cody H. August 7, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    @ Alex,

    The nerd hoods… I mean monitor hoods :) can be purchased at That is where D and Scotty got theirs.


  21. allan z. August 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    Thank you! This is very helpful! but i know it’s not as easy as it looks! :)

  22. Joseph August 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm #

    I am curious how you get that slight vignette look to the images. You can see it quickly in the retouching part of the video, and was curious if that is done in post. I know some of it may be light drop off. I get it sometimes when shooting with a beauty dish. Great video by the way.

  23. Chase Jarvis August 7, 2008 at 7:23 pm #

    @ joseph: couple thoughts on your vignette question. For one, long lenes (eg my 70-200 2.8 nikkor) gives me a vignette at higher focal lengths. For two – and more on target with your question: you can achieve the vignette with palette tools in Aperture and Lightroom. You can also achieve this look using a big ol fat brush and a mask in photoshop.

  24. Shane, Natalie, & Madelyn August 8, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    Do you use that technique to create a vignette in your pictures (I am thinking of the underground shot of the swimmer legs through a window) or is it a more natural occurrence? I am experimenting with Photoshop (as you suggested) and am realizing that I have much to learn.

    Could you do a series of videos on your process of post production? I know each project is different but you seem to have a methodical way of doing things. Thought you might have one for post.

  25. Shane, Natalie, & Madelyn August 8, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    Do you use that technique to create a vignette in your pictures (I am thinking of the underground shot of the swimmer legs through a window) or is it a more natural occurrence? I am experimenting with Photoshop (as you suggested) and am realizing that I have much to learn.

    Could you do a series of videos on your process of post production? I know each project is different but you seem to have a methodical way of doing things. Thought you might have one for post.

  26. Greg August 8, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    How do you ingage with regular people in shooting them?… do you talk to them in a certain way to steer there attitude for the shot

  27. Danno~ August 8, 2008 at 9:12 pm #

    nice beer selection for the client, new belgium brand. i’m gonna guess it was a trippel or sunshine.


  28. Adam August 8, 2008 at 10:12 pm #

    I’ll use this video as a class starter for my high school class this Fall, thanks. It’s cool for my kids to get an idea what a high-end photoshoot looks like, my experience in is smaller scale stuff. I especially liked the breakdown on lighting, Monday Night Football schematic style!

  29. Steve Newman Photography August 8, 2008 at 11:02 pm #

    Fantastic – I really enjoy your videos!

  30. Teemu August 9, 2008 at 5:48 am #

    Thanks again for great video!

  31. Chase Jarvis August 9, 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    @ greg: indeed I talk with pro models differently than celebs, differently from “regular” people… but the goal is the same: get them to behave in the way that you want them to behave (be it relaxed, energized, happy, sad – whatever). The goal is to get something you’re after with the shot.

  32. Carson Blume August 9, 2008 at 10:02 pm #

    CHASE! Good stuff, its amazing that even with 3 years of school there was really nothing that simply informative. I think that should be your new blog name. Chase Jarvis: “Simply Informative”

  33. Rob August 10, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    Wish I’d a known back in April that you were going to post this… would have saved me a trip to Dubai.
    Although I didn’t see any mention in the video of getting your ass out of bed at 5 AM.

  34. Jacob August 11, 2008 at 8:20 am #

    Chase, I do believe my wife would kick my ass if she read this in my blog.. “photograph 3 hot young golf ladies of the LPGA.”

    I can just imagine the conversation afterward…

  35. Louie August 11, 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    Hello Chase, I’m new to your blog, I really enjoyed whatching your shoot! Very professional!


  36. Ashley McNamara August 12, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    Awesome good stuff!!!

  37. Superduper Idea Club August 12, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    Chase- love your stuff, really inspiring. I am curious, I’m a Nikon guy but nowhere close to your league (yet;) I notice most of the guys “up there” are canon MKIII users…did you go with the D3 because of the sports aspect? Just wondering. Thanks for all the tech info, I can’t get enough of it.

  38. Teddy Tran August 12, 2008 at 1:18 pm #

    Always taking it a step further than everyone else again……I bow to you skills

    Love the video, gives a great insight on how you work as a commercial photographer.

  39. Anonymous August 13, 2008 at 1:08 am #

    Nice work: Love the finished shot! Agree with Shane, Nat and Maddie: For those of us who are a bit Photoshop-challenged, it would be great to see an outline of the postprocessing steps that flashed by so tantalizingly in this video!

  40. Joe DuPont August 13, 2008 at 6:25 am #

    You continue to amaze me with your generousity and spirit. Thanks for giving me an energy boost.

  41. Nathanael Gassett August 13, 2008 at 3:43 pm #

    That was pretty much amazing. I want to watch it again and again to soak up all the information. Awesome. And the images at the end were a fantastic treat.

    _Nathanael Gassett

  42. Anonymous August 14, 2008 at 9:38 am #

    Hi Chase:

    How much did you charge for this job? Or if you want to keep it secret, what should be the minimum cost for a gig like this, involving 3 models (2 female, 1 male), 2 different clothing for each, 1 set of golf apparel for each, and a total of about 25/30 pictures? I know it depends on a lot of things, but give us a hint on how to create a reasonable budget for something like this.

    Thanks and keep up your fab work,

    Bruno Pires (Portugal)

  43. Chase Jarvis August 14, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    @ superduper: I think both Nikon and Canon are super solid…kind of like BMW vs Mercendes, however, honestly and frankly the D3 is a totally superior camera in my experience and the experience of my friends who shoot Canon (many of them pros who would be reluctant to make such a statement in public…) Truth is that the quality and size pixels and dynamic range (=image quality) of the D3 blow the Canon equivalent outta the water IMHO. Throw in the high ISO capabilities of the D3 (best on earth) and the fact that it doesn’t have back-focus issues (known to Canon) and it’s pretty much a no-brainer. –and keep in mind I usually steer miles away from this debate. I’m just laying it out there as I see it…

  44. Chase Jarvis August 14, 2008 at 10:54 am #

    @ anon: can’t reveal the price due to contractual obligations and non-disclosure, however even then the variety in pricing for such a job, depending on talent, location, photographer, can literally be hundreds of thousands of dollars. A good rule of thumb is this: book a creative fee for you + the usage for every picture (where will be seen and by how many people), + all production expenses (models, asst, stylists, travel, etc.). All that is very standard.

  45. wazabees August 14, 2008 at 2:02 pm #

    Brilliant video! Just a quick question. How do you deal with white balance? ;)


  46. Mark August 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm #

    New reader of your blog, I think I found you from a link of James Davidson’s post on perspectives and your great video on shooting on moving road bikes.

    What a great educational post. Loved it. I don’t know if I’ll ever “land a gig”, but I do dream of being able to get paid someday for the things I love doing: shooting the outdoors in hard to get places. I like landscapes better than people, they don’t move and you don’t have to bring lights, just be in the right place at the right time (and that requires patience). :)

    But I appreciated all the content in this. Thanks.


  47. Scott R. August 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm #


    Scott here. We carry a white balance card with us, but generally our policy is to shoot in RAW and work out the white balance in post production. In product photography where accurate color is the key, it’s all about using the WB card. In sports and lifestyle, there is more room to use white balance as a creative tool, warming and cooling for a desired aesthetic. You can almost always find a neutral point in an images to use the WB eye dropper tool as a starting point. The other key factor is making sure you work on color calibrated monitors so that the work you see on the screen is the same thing that your clients see on their end. Thanks for the inquiry!

  48. Suzanne August 16, 2008 at 7:02 am #

    THis was so great to see what goes into this kind of shoot! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  49. Frank Doorhof August 17, 2008 at 1:52 am #

    Wonderful and very clear, now it’s time for that instructional or backstage DVD ?

  50. Verde August 17, 2008 at 10:57 pm #

    Man. Awesome Chase. Thanks to this vid, I just started shooting tethered to Aperture. Waht a sweet way to roll!

    Thanks for the tip – I owe you a(nother) beer!

  51. Marc Andre Jourdan August 21, 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    Another question:

    Someone told me i cannot really calibrate a macbookpro screen?!?! is that right or wrong?!?

  52. Dartanyon Race August 22, 2008 at 8:56 am #


    It’s not really so much that you can’t profile a mac book screen, it’s just that it’s not as effective as profiling a desktop screen. There are many things that effect the profile, temperature, refresh rate, etc. Those things change much more frequently on the laptop. That being said, I’d still profile it every once in a while, just to keep a slightly more accurate baseline.

  53. Marc Andre Jourdan August 22, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    So what you actually doing when you shooting on a job is just checking the lightsetups and all the postproduction you do on a desktop computer with a calibrated screen. thats my prob at the moment that the colors just change in web and seeing it on camera and after print. I figured out that srgb is used in the internet so i safe my pictures ‘for web’ if i wanna upload them but the next step is that when i print out pictures it s all messed up again. when cahse is shooting with his nikon which color profile do u guys use?!? adobeRGB??? Or do you guys ahve any recommendation for a book i can get myself some more knowledge about that whole colorprofile thing! I wanna learn that… and know what I am doing when i play in the settings! And which screen calibrator would be the best?!?

    thx alot for the fast reply

    really appreciate

  54. Scott R. August 22, 2008 at 1:26 pm #


    Shooting tethered to Aperture on location is done with the laptop for the purpose of checking exposure, focus, and discussing/editing with the client. All of the final post production is done on a calibrated display at the studio, hotel, etc. We work with images in the Adobe RGB 1998 color space, this is the industry standard for wide gamut color.
    When creating files for the web, generate new files from your originals and change the color space to sRGB. That way your original stays in the best color space, and you will be able to make nice prints. Check out the book “Real World Color Management” by Bruce Fraser for more color knowledge than you ever thought possible. Enjoy!

  55. John Latham August 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm #

    This is the knda thing I love to see.. the shots look amazing at the end bro ! J

  56. Anonymous August 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    When shooting tethered to Aperture, is there any way to automatically apply adjustments to the images as they come in?

    Seems there are many instances where software is used to create specialized looks and it’s so much easier when they pop up on screen looking very close to the target in terms of color, saturation, curve, etc.. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to clients “Well it will look like *this* later. This initial image is just for checking focus, etc..”

    Maybe I’ve just missed how to apply settings to incoming tethered images in Aperture, so if you could pass along any tips, that would be much appreciated! THANKS for such a well done, informative blog!!

  57. Scott R. September 10, 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    @Anon: I haven’t found a way to automatically adjust files coming into Aperture while tethered shooting. We generally use the Adjustments HUD to create a specialized look, and the Lift and Stamp tools in order to apply preset adjustments to images as soon as they are imported via the tether. This way, you can quickly drop prescribed adjustments on to any picture(s) you’d like to share with the client. Hope this helps.

  58. Mike W. September 19, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    Hey Scott — Do you guys make many adjustments in Aperture? I have the latest version, but it still chokes when I have several adjustments along with cropping or straightening. I’m thinking a better video card may be need, even though it’s a Mac Pro. What card do you guys use?

  59. Scott R. September 23, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    @Mike: We do make a lot of adjustments in Aperture. We use if for everything from initial RAW adjustments, to final file prep, web galleries, books, etc. My computer has the ATI Radeon HD 2600 video card, and the program runs smoothly for the most part. Hope this helps.

  60. Anonymous November 30, 2008 at 9:27 am #

    Very nice video!

    What did you do in photoshop / aperture to make that nice look on your final pictures? The panorama was incredible!

  61. Dimi January 28, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Chase, awesome stuff!! Any chance you can list what you used for your lighting set-up? I know you mentioned the ProFoto packs and camera, but what type of softboxes, etc etc. Or anyone else that has an idea. Thanks so much

  62. magicsnaps March 13, 2009 at 5:23 am #

    Reassured by your faith in Aperture (.2 presumably). I tried Aperture and Lightroom demos after deciding to move on from C1Pro but at first missed the certainty of the white balance and white and black point settings using a white/black/grey strip in the shots. Only really settled for Aperture since we run Macs. Always shoot raw and raw conversion does seem to be really good.I still set the white balance off a grey card in the studio, of course. Have to say your openness is a tonic – you make photography exciting again in a world full of ‘teachers’ charging a fortune for pretty dubious info! Many thanks.

  63. michaellacombe January 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Well I'm about a yr and a half late on this (lol), but thanks for posting this. It was pretty cool.

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    Thanks for the facts!

  65. Eliot Baker January 18, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    I know this is late but where in San Francisco is this? What Golf course and what hole? not sure about the golf lingo but just wondering. Also, are the strobes set to about 1 stop above the ambient light? Im in San Francisco and would love to help out and learn if you even need a hand or need a studio. I have a failrly large studio I would be more than happy for you to use at your disposal. I just want to watch and learn.

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