Dreamer. Photographer. Adventurer. Golden-retriever lover. I specialize in creating dream maternity, child, and family portraits for clients in Florida and worldwide.
I dream of far off places and try to make time for at least one travel adventure a year. When I’m not doing photography related stuff, you can find me hanging out with my bestie hubby and our silly golden Retriever Scout. I also love to create whenever possible -whether it be a new prop for an upcoming shoot or a new look for a room in our house. I really appreciate my health and the opportunities and encouragement I’ve been given in life and try to remember every day not to take anything for granted.
Tips on Styling a Children’s Commercial Shoot
1) Target Audience
The first thing that you should consider when planning and styling a children’s commercial shoot is your target audience. Who are they? Who is the client’s key demographic? What product are you showcasing in your work to help your client increase their sales and build their brand? Are they a clothing company or do they primarily sell accessories or shoes? Is this a high-end couture brand or do their products have a more casual feel? Who are they most interested in reaching? Are they an American-based company or European? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you initial direction and help in determining the mood of the shoot, which all key factors will stem from. For example, if your client’s main clothing line is couture and they would like the images to have a high-end, international feel then you wouldn’t want to photograph your models in a location or with a color palette that evokes a casual outdoor style.
After you’ve pinpointed your target audience and know your client’s goal for their commercial shoot, you need to use that information to set the mood. This is where your vision as the artist begins. How do you want your viewer to feel when they look at these images? The season as well as the color palette, lighting, props, and even location are all key factors to consider when styling your shoot. The images in this session were to be used to promote the fall line for Be Mini Couture, a high-end couture kids clothing company. With that in mind, I decided to set the mood using darker clothing colors and textures and use a monochromatic color palette of primarily white, grey, and black. From there, ideas for the session began to spark thoughts of rulers, glasses, pencils, and chalkboards, which then evoked images of goofing around and silliness with friends. It’s a wonderful thing when a concept takes shape on it’s own through the creative process.
Determining your location for your photo shoot is the first step in setting the mood. Then everything else will start to fall into place. Do you want to shoot indoors or out? If you’re envisioning a fairy forest feel then a seaside landscape wouldn’t flow. If you want the images to have a more formal feel then shooting outdoors probably wouldn’t work. Match your location to the mood you’re trying to convey.
Deciding what type of lighting to use is also a big part of setting the mood. For this shoot, since we were working with small children and working around nap schedules, I wanted these images to be captured indoors and I wanted to use artificial lighting so that I could have complete control and not have to worry about heat or time of day. Since the location I chose was an indoor studio with no natural window light, I had to use artificial light to help convey the mood. If you’ve opted for an outdoor location for your children’s commercial shoot, then natural light and a little fill flash would probably do just fine. It all depends on the location you’ve chosen.
Color is another integral part when styling your photo session and can completely change the mood of your shoot. Think about what an impact changing a wall color can have in your home. In my own home, I recently painted over our black chalkboard accent wall with a bright white color and the difference you felt when you walked past that wall was quite dramatic! When styling your children’s commercial shoot, think of the type of color palette you wish to have. Should your color palette be complimentary or monochromatic? If you’re going for more of a uniform look with a softer matte feel like I was in these images, then using a monochromatic color palette might make more sense rather than selecting several colors. On the contrary, complimentary colors are appeasing to the eye so if your vision allows for it and it reflects the mood you wish to convey, then you can select a couple of colors that work as complimentary to each other and coordinate the rest of your palette from there.
Props can add those final details to the shoot that will tie it all together. This children’s commercial shoot is a perfect example of that. I used old tomato soup cans as props to create a game of “telephone”. I worked with various vendors to create a chalkboard area the models could actually write on. I used a long bench to corral the little models together so we could capture the group shot the client needed. I used an old school desk and some rulers to set that “back-to-school” tone for the shoot. And finally, I created an “NYC view” using an old window pane and an overlay in Photoshop to set the tone that perhaps these littles were in the big city. If used correctly, props can really help to set the mood for the session and add to it. Just be careful not to go overboard with props. I only use a prop if I feel that it adds to the vision not distracts from it.
Where do I find Inspiration? You can find inspiration everywhere! Finding inspiration for your vision is all about getting creative and being organized! Believe it or not, organization is key in this stage. Commercial work is a combination of the client’s needs and your vision so it’s important to dig deep and pull inspiration from new places. I find inspiration everywhere – old movies, music, books, fine art, even while running day to day errands. Most of the time, my inspiration for a commercial shoot won’t even come from photography. Interior design has actually served as my muse on many occasions.
Now that you’ve determined your target audience, set the mood for your shoot, and found inspiration in new places, it’s time to organize your ideas in one nice neat place- the story board. The story board can act as a great visual in conveying your vision to the client. These days, it can easily be created using a variety of industry software tools or you can create a shared board on Pinterest and send to the client and any vendors that you might need to help execute your vision.
Lastly, but certainly not least (and possibly the most important aspect of styling a shoot), collaboration. When styling a children’s commercial shoot you will need several vendors to help you to properly execute your vision. Makeup artists, hair stylists, second-hand helpers, lighting assistants, and in some cases even set and prop designers all prove to be quite useful, especially when working with groups of young children. On this shoot we even had someone in charge of playing with the models and running out to the store to get refreshments! When all of your models are ages 4 and under it can prove to be quite tricky to get what you need in the time frame that you have without help. So get connected with some local vendors because you’ll need their help!