Sunday, February 12, 2012

How to produce your own outdoor photo shoot!

Last November I produced my own photo shoot for my jewelry line!  I had little idea what a large undertaking it was!  I decided to do a gypsy/vagabond theme, so I wanted to shoot outdoors, and get the story across with the location, prop and wardrobe styling.  First things first, if you would like to shoot at a local park or nature area, call the park in advance to find out what days they are available for shooting.  Many places are incredibly busy, like Vazquez Rocks, so you will need to know what days they have open.  I opted for Placerita Canyon in Santa Clarita.  Make an appointment at the park, and do a walk-though with the park ranger to let them know exactly what and when you are planning on shooting.  If approved, the park ranger will sign an approval form for you to move ahead and get your shooting permit.

Now, to do a shoot at one of these parks, you will need a permit.  To obtain one for a Los Angeles county park (full list of LA parks here), you must contact Film LA.  You will then be assigned a coordinator for your project.  You will need to get insurance for your shoot, short term insurance is available locally, or if your photographer already has insurance, that will cover your shoot as well.  Film LA needs a COI (Certificate of Insurance) from your photographer, they will not issue you a permit without insurance.  Luckily, my photographer Marilyn Nakazato already had insurance available for my shoot!  Film LA typically needs about 3-5 business days to issue you a permit, so be sure to give them as long a lead time as you can. There are fees involved--for the permit, it's about $60.00, and if you shoot at an LA County park, it's an additional $100.00.  Also keep in mind that the park you choose will also charge you a separate day rate, and depending on the park, it could be anywhere from $80.00 - $250.00 per day.

At the same time, while coordinating between Film LA and your location, you must coordinate with your photographer, hair stylist, make-up artist, models, and assistants to find out which day is available for all of them to shoot!  Sounds easy, right?  LOL!  But first, before you coordinate with your team, find out which days the park is available to shoot! 

I chose Placerita Canyon since it had a beautiful rock formation, overhanging trees, lush green meadows, and an amazing dry creek bed.  Also, the park had an available prep room with electricity (for hair/make-up), and adjacent bathrooms!  There were other beautiful nature areas, close to Lancaster, but they have no restrooms and electricity.  (Unless you're bringing a trailer!)  Park ranger Frank Hoffman was very helpful, and kind enough to even share some of his food and beverages with us!  Below are more images from the Placerita Canyon shoot.

Now if you don't want to do the whole "shooting with a permit" process, you can always go "shoot guerrilla-style!"  Just find a place you want to go to, and start shooting!  But keep in mind, park rangers and cops CAN enforce you to leave, since it's technically illegal to shoot anywhere public without a permit.  However, it can still work if you go somewhere remote enough, where no one will bother you.  For my shoot's second location, we shot "guerrilla-style" at Franklin Canyon park--although we had to keep hiding from the ranger trucks that were always patrolling the grounds.  Below are a few images:
 Best of luck with your own shoot!  Images courtesy of Marilyn Nakazato, hair and makeup by Emily Christison, models are Tashina HunterTyler Batson, and ModelWire Network member (and my intern!) Jamie Nocher.  Prop assistant:  Jodie Guirey.  Photo assistant:  Michele Rivera.  Wardrobe provided by Tashina Hunter (dresses),  Madisonpark Collective, and Cityzen Green



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