By Jay P Morgan
As we discussed previously, a commercial photographer’s goal is to meet the needs of his or her clients. Sometimes this means that the talent won’t look beautiful but rather terrible. One very common thing you will hear from talent is, “Do I look good?” Talent can be very self-conscious, and when they’re in their heads and not present on set, you see it in the final images.
If you want to meet the goals of your client, when you shoot with talent, you immediately need to remove the talent’s concerns for whether he or she looks good on set. One way to do this is to clearly explain the goal of the shoot to the talent. Even if you explained it at casting, you need to explain it again before you start shooting. When the talent clearly understands the goals of the shoot, you have a higher chance of them being completely onboard with all of the wardrobe and hair choices.
For example, if I’m doing a still for Dominos with a crazy, out of control mother who needs to call dominos to solve her dinner disaster. Our goal is to show a crazy lady and have that desperation and panic come out clearly in the shot. We don’t want her hair to look perfect. Quite the opposite! We want it to look like her world is falling apart, and that starts with her hair and outfit. So we will mess up the talents hair and put her in clothes that don’t look quite as flattering.
Does her messy hair look good? Yes! It looks great because it’s meeting the needs of the shoot. Does she look good in an outfit that makes her look frumpy? Oh, yeah! It looks really good because it fits with the client’s goals. If a model is in advertising, and she hates it when she doesn’t look good, she’s definitely in the wrong business. The goal in advertising is to get people to buy products and services, and this works better when the models are relatable or have an emotionally lower status.
Imagine if the talent showed up only remembering that she needed to be panicked while she called Dominos. She might have an image in her head that she should look like Sofia Vergara while doing this. If you aren’t clear now and weren’t very clear at casting, you will have a tough day ahead of you. So before you take your talent to hair and makeup or start shooting next time, re-explain your goals to help the talent meet them as well.