Behind the scenes of our e-commerce website is a team of talented people whose roles depend very closely on each other. Our integrators, copywriters and merchandisers (to name a few) work to create an enjoyable online experience for our customers every day. But, while browsing Laura.ca and Melanielyne.com, we often forget one of the most glamorous parts of the e-commerce process—the magic that happens in the photo studio. Who creates the visual material for our website? Without knowing just how much work goes into the process, we decided to look into what really goes on at the back of our Laura Canada warehouse. To satisfy your curiosity, we asked the photo studio supervisor what a typical photoshoot is like.
Organization & Planning
We are one of the rare companies with such an active photo studio. With over 5000 samples to deal with every season, staying organized is key to keeping up with the fast pace of e-commerce. We’re talking about photographing 30 to 35 styles daily—five days a week.
Every Thursday, the studio supervisor makes the photoshoot schedule for the upcoming week based on what photos need to be shot. His choices are determined by the available clothing samples from the three Laura divisions and Melanie Lyne. Next, he chooses who to work with for the week—a make-up artist, a hair stylist, a photographer, a fashion stylist and an assistant stylist. Finally, he books the models.
Make-Up & Styling
A typical day starts at 8 AM with a hair and make-up session. The inspiration for the model’s look depends on the category being shot, and whether it’s for Laura or Melanie Lyne. For example, the make-up for a sleepwear photoshoot will be light and natural while make-up for an evening gown shoot may be just the opposite.
As the model gets ready, the stylist uses this time to put outfits together. She also sets the order of the photoshoot by prioritizing products that have inventory in the warehouse. With an assortment of tops and pants, she begins to mix and match pieces to create aesthetically pleasing ensembles with the help of some basics always kept in the studio.
The Photoshoot & Editing
Once the model is ready and the clothing rack is prepped, the photographer takes a few practice shots to make sure that make-up shows up properly on the model in the studio lighting. Over the span of 7 hours, about 2000 pictures will be taken. Eventually, only four images per look will be chosen. One shot from the front, one from the back, a close up of the fabric and one lifestyle shot.
To streamline the entire process, the photographer edits his photo choices on the spot. He has only 5 to 10 minutes to choose and retouch the pictures for each style. The photographed styles are uploaded to our website the next day accompanying product descriptions written beforehand.
While the photo studio works like a well-oiled machine, realistically, the perfect process doesn’t exist. Sometimes a model may have to cancel last minute or equipment malfunctions. In order to keep on top of the process, the supervisor has to adapt to every situation that comes his way.
These kinds of bumps in the road are inevitable, but the photo studio has a few ways to prevent them. Working regularly with the same experts creates a sense of teamwork in the studio. Each person the studio supervisor selects has to work efficiently as part of a team. When it comes to a full schedule of back-to-back photoshoots, the real sense of the phrase “strength through unity” comes to life.
Adapted from French by Kylee Ross