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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Latest Shoot: Visa Signature Collection

I was really excited to get chosen to do a print shoot for Visa's "Signature Collection." Basically, it's similar to a stock photography shoot, except the images chosen will be exclusively for use by Visa for their various ad campaigns. These could range from online banners, filler photos for their website or in print materials like fliers, magazine ads, etc. Many times huge companies like Visa have their own library of stock images so that whenever they need a certain picture, all they have to do is turn to their own resources. This is much more affordable and convenient, compared to going out and doing an entire photoshoot every time.

I booked this gig through freelancing and was given a call-time of 8AM at a residential home in a city called San Anselmo, which is a ritzy neighborhood in Northern California a few minutes away from the Golden Gate Bridge/San Francisco. San Anselmo and its surrounding cities in that area are regularly used as locations for various photoshoots because they are super fancy/expensive houses that are nicely furnished and are perfect for such projects.

Weeks before the actual shoot date I was sent an email with all the specifics, including the wardrobe items I needed to bring, which were supposed to be for the summertime. I packed swimsuits, a sarong/coverup, sun hat, various strappy sandals, shorts and a few tops.

I arrived early and the rest of the production crew showed up a few minutes after me. I introduced myself to the people in charge of the shoot and was directed to the pool house, where the models were supposed to get hair and makeup done. The scene for the shoot was supposed to appear like a resort, where I and three other models were going to be hanging out next to the pool. Although this was being shot at someone's home, the way they structured the shoot will make it appear as if we're at some fancy resort hotel (See? Nothing is as it seems in modeling! LOL).

After meeting the other models, I got into hair and makeup. Then I met up with the wardrobe stylist to find out what outfit I was going to wear. Even though I had brought some of my own wardrobe, the stylist also had a collection of stuff on a rack so we did a bit of mixing and matching. I used my sun hat and strappy sandals with a short heel, as well as a white tank top. The wardrobe stylist gave me a long, blue wrap-around sarong to wear from her collection and I just had my regular underwear on underneath (since the wrap was long, I wasn't worried about accidentally showing anything).

When all the models were ready (there was another female model and two male models), we were directed to a set of steps, which led down to the pool. We were given wine glasses filled with champagne. We were told not to really drink it but to "pretend"--this wasn't because they didn't want us getting drunk but because it would mess up the glass from out lip imprints, as well as require extra time refilling the champagne in each glass. The scene was that we were a group of friends lounging at a resort by the pool, having a good time and engaging in lively conversation. The photographer was going for candid shots where we weren't looking at the camera. The client from Visa was also on-set to make sure the photographer got the images they needed. The sun was super bright outside and I was glad I had my hat to block it out, although halfway through the shoot they asked me to take it off (darn!). Because it was so bright, we ended up having to close our eyes and have the photographer count to three, which would signal us to open our eyes as much as we could (without looking like we were psycho or a deer in headlights, haha), throw our heads back and laugh. It's a LOT harder than it sounds. But we eventually knocked out the shots and were done in no time!

After the client checked the images, we were free to go. I returned the wardrobe items to the stylist and packed my things. Then I met up with one of the production crew folks to sign out and was given my check (I LOVE projects that pay at the end of the shoot day!). I exchanged business cards with a few people, shook hands and thanked everybody. Then I went about my merry way.

Here's a behind the scenes pic of us on set in between shots:

I don't know how long it'll take for the final images to come out but I do know that in cases like these, the models don't always get official copies. Visa and companies like them are super strict about releasing images that aren't approved by them or already in use for projects so I'll have to shoot the production company an email to see if they can check on that for me. If anything, they'll probably let me see the pictures Visa ended up not choosing to use but that usually means they're gonna be the sucky ones where I'm like blinking or something, haha. I'm not sure where my image will end up being used for Visa's projects but I'll definitely keep an eye out and if I come across them, I'll make sure to save it and share it here. Or if any of you end up spotting me in a photo for Visa, I'd love you forever if you let me know! :-)

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