Producing a Photo Shoot

2000 May 30, 2000

 Submitted to Romantic Times - Excerpts being published in the next issue
      I went to the Toronto Romantic Writer's Convention with the intention of finding a publisher or at least an agent for my novel, Jettison. In the course of this convention, I had the sudden revelation that I was in the position of being a potential book publisher. I had experience in everything required except a photo shoot with a live model.
      So there I was, sitting in the book fair, pondering the momentous step I had suddenly decided to take, when I looked up and saw, Troy Sutter, a cover model pageant contestant whom I had been watching for several days. I promptly dragged him to my room and made him an offer he did not refuse.
      I had my captain.
      I went home pondering whom I should use to do the photo shoot.
      Aha! Who but the photographer with whom I had donned a bunny suit and roamed the clean room with, shooting bunny-suited assembly line workers and test equipment and with whom I had an easy creative relationship - I would describe and he would deliver chip shots that would land on the covers of high-ranking engineering journals.
      He was willing so I now had a good photographer (Ron Jones, Phase Infinity).
      Now for the serious side of the operation.
      The project is more than "show up, we have a camera". You need first, a clear vision of what it is you are shooting. I had that before I hired Troy. My captain is cresting a hill, leading the party to safety, alert for hidden danger. He must look alert, tense, and most of all, like you would follow him anywhere. Men will look at the muscles and the gun. Women will look at the man and the muscles. Perfect.
      You need a location - Ron found the studio. And a make-up person, Doris Lew. He set the time at 4-5 hours for the shoot but reserved the studio for the day just in case. Removes pressure. He advised me that either we would get the shot immediately, or not until the last rolls. As it happened, we are using a shot from the first rolls. As it also happens, I have way too many usable shots!
      You need props. After about 20 e-mails, I had plants. Not too many, it is part swamp, part jungle, hilly terrain. Nix on the waterfall, yes to the plants. And a few large, fake rocks.
      I trust my photographer. He suggested, when I described the attire (something to show off those arms and that chest), that I make the vest red, and use velvet because of color saturation. I sewed. I told Troy to bring those leather pants and boots. And keep his jewelry on. He did.
      My younger son helped pick out decorations (buttons and buckles) and then agreed that big zippers were better. I found metallic red velvet and made another vest, gold button insignia. I like this one - it's very spacey. This is, after all, science fiction.
      I described the angry sky that I want in the background to convey danger. Ron found a photo of his that fits nicely and suggested Chrome Digital for processing. I have a good visual capability - I can "see" this.
      As a backup costume, we had a black Ranger vest from the army and navy store - but the red and black sky was a problem. Next book, I will set it up so that the black vest works.
      I called in my older son to find me an Arnold-terminator -type gun after Ron and I decided that we had no idea where to get one. My older son delivered this creation to me a mere 48 hours before the shoot.
      It was perfect.
      I had planned the ads and the poster as well as the cover.
      I bring body oil for the centerfold shot. (I get to oil Troy up!)
      Besides capital, here are two things that you need to be able to pull off your own photo shoot, good people and the good sense to trust your people.
      Most of all, go into it with an open mind, a smile and a sense of wonder.
      Every author should get to do this!

For information about this file or to report problems in its use email

Copyright 2000 Donnamaie E. White - White Enterprises
Material may not be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

May 30, 2000