Invest in what is in front of the camera

Exactly a year ago I had the pleasure to work with a Korean Marketing agency called "D.INTELIGENCE" on an assignment for Petrolimex Vietnam. Their concept was to promote Motorcycle Oil with the help of the famous Vietnamese actress Nabi Nha Phuong.

When the art director of D.INTELLIGENCE contacted us they were looking for a professional photographer who had access to a big studio location in Danang. Based on their requirement we found that one of the largest meeting room in Pullman Danang Beach Resort would be a perfect fit. They also enquired about a make up and hair stylist which at that time was easy to find since we worked exclusively with Nguyen Nahara.

*** Side note: Unfortunately Nguyen Nahara moved to Australia and we've been working with a dozen of other make up artists locally (danang) and it's really hard to find a good replacement. They tend to all do the same very white skin and bright red lips the vietnamese love for their weddings but when you need something creative or even natural here comes trouble. So far the best make up artists we've worked with were from Russia :D so If you know anyone who is good at it please let us know in the comments below with their contact and rates. cheers***

Back to the shoot. Our team arrived 3 hours earlier to setup the meeting room, install the backdrops (2 different colors provided by the client), C-stands, strobes, desk with Imac 27" for live tethering and ipad pro which is used by the art director to instantly preview all the shots being captured. Make up/hair booth and snack tables were also installed in the corner of the room.

The model Nabi Nha Phuong arrived right on time and I could hear the Pullman Staff whispering Nha Phuong.... Nha Phuong..." and thought "well, she must be famous...". (I actually found out few days later after discussing with some friends about the photoshoot, that Nabi Nha Phuong is one of the most popular TV actress in Vietnam lol).

It was my first time working with such a high level of production. The model was incredibly smart and professional which made it a breeze to capture the desired photographs.
— Jonathan SAYEB

The thing that strike me the most working with D.INTELLIGENCE is how organized they were. They knew exactly what they wanted, the pose of the model, the position of the product, color of backdrop, dress etc... Having started my business only 1 year before this assignment it was the first time that I had the chance to work for such high profile client. The art director had our Ipad pro in his hands and it took an average of only 8 shutter actuations for him to validate each shots for a total of 20 images they needed. I was like "really??? that's it???" it went so smoothly and so fast...(1 hour of shooting and it was a wrap.)

The production side was one thing but it's important to mention the importance of the model. Before this assignments we worked with several local models mostly for hotels and resorts lifestyle shots and working with Nabi Nha Phuong was a real wake up call !!! "Modeling is a real job and it's really far from just being pretty." She nailed every pose the direction wanted with such ease and professionalism. To top it all up, she was really friendly and super fun... what a change from some local models who act like super stars when they are clearly miles away from Nabi's Level.

Everything explained above is what really improves our/your photographs. This is a note to our clients and to ourself:

  • Spend the time to plan, plan and plan.

  • Spend the money on professional models/locations/make up and hair stylist/wardrobe.

  • Lacking inspiration? Hire a professional stylist

Photography is a whole and having the right gear and photographer for the job is only part of the equation. The same applies for every type of photograph, try to shoot a beautiful empty hotel room, try to shoot a beautiful dress on a ugly model.... As perfect as the technique can be, achieving good result and stunning photographs come 90% from what is in front of the camera.

For a while i've been stuck with the gear acquisition syndrome which was great because it gives you the opportunity to explore the technical side of photography and its light. The natural next step is to then apply these techniques to beautiful real world subject, models and locations.

If you agree or disagree with me feel free to comment below and it will be my pleasure to start the discussion. Have all a stunning day and happy shooting.