Fashion Portraits with Michael Corsentino
You Got the Assignment. Now What?
If you don’t know your past, you can’t know your future. That’s why research is my first task after I’m hired to shoot a commercial job. Once briefed by the client on expectations, needs, usage, concept, etc.,
I set about seeing what’s already been done in that arena. Research is an important part of the process because it’s one of the ways I can see what the established norms are for what I’m being asked to create. I don’t want to fly blind and risk making images that stick out like a sore thumb from the company’s brand. Conversely, I may want to strike out and take things in a completely different direction—the only way I can be sure is to see what’s come before.
Readers of this column will likely be familiar with Makaila Nichols, featured in this month’s article. We work together often, and she’s graced the cover and pages of Behind the Shutter several times. This time, Makaila (or Mak, as she’s known) and her dad were my clients. They hired me to shoot fashion headshots of her for her modeling agency, The Lions. They were preparing to send Mak to Los Angeles for meetings with modeling and fashion-industry decision-makers, and they needed killer headshots.
My research began with a visit to the Lions website to see what its existing model headshots looked
like, how they were styled, lit, finished, etc. I knew that whatever I created, it had to fit with the existing images. In a way, the modeling agency’s site served as my art director and informed my plan for the look and feel of the shoot.
Happily, the images on the site were consistent with my style, so I was on solid footing from the start. One of the things I noticed, in addition to there being a mix of color and black-and-white images, was how simple and straightforward the styling was. Images were simply lit, and the models weren’t wearing a ton of makeup. They were presented naturally, with a few stylistic variations. More on this in the next section on hair and makeup.