What Goes on at a CEF Photoshoot?


Jaishree Narsih

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a CEF photoshoot? CEF collaborates with many different photographers and there is a lot of work that goes into producing a single photo shoot to yield the stock photos which are then posted on Getty Images. Kate Stevens, Creative Director at CEF, is here to give us a little bit of insight and take us behind the scenes of her role. She has been with CEF for five years doing editing and occasional art directing in the last seven months, has taken on the role of Creative Director.

Kate Stevens

Photoshoot days are hectic and there is a lot that needs to be done! The day starts with a quick run through with hair, makeup, and styling to outline expectations and setup for the day. While the models are getting ready, Kate runs through the shot list and expectations with the photographer and walks through the location to determine the best start setup. A lot of this planning is done well in advance of the photoshoot day; however, being flexible is very important. Many factors including lighting and weather can require switching up the shots to get the best results.

Here is an excerpt from Kate outlining some of the behind the scenes specifics:

“Once the photographer and team have the lighting set up I’d get the model/s on set and run through specific shot requirements. I would by this point have discussed with the photographer how they wish to direct the set…often too many directives and voices are confusing for the models. Some photographers find it easier to give direction than others. Ideally it is a collaborative process…you see the shot on the laptop (if they are shooting tethered) and you can immediately pick up on what needs adjusting or changing. Throughout the day your job is to make sure the shots are achieved and to keep the photographer moving on through the set-ups. You constantly keep an eye on the clock and need to be thinking one, two, three sets ahead to get styling and sets prepped to avoid long delays. I would usually get a copy of the day’s shoot on hard drive before leaving.”

This is only some of what goes on during a photoshoot – a large shoot requires a lot of planning and the better the planning, the stronger the shoot.

I asked Kate what she enjoys most about her role. She said that she enjoys it all “from putting together an overall production plan and budget, engaging photographers in projects, to putting briefs together, helping out on the shoots and the nuts and bolts of production…finding the right location, models and assembling a shoot crew! Seeing the results in editing is very rewarding.”

Kate’s biggest challenge is working with the fluidity. As mentioned in the above overview, planning and organizing a photoshoot requires many different aspects to come together and you always have to be flexible and adjust to any changes that may be required.

As CEF approaches its 10-year anniversary, we have a few interesting photoshoot prospects coming up! This includes a contemporary look at the workplace and business owner shoots featuring the actual owners and an environmental shoot which is in the early stages of planning. There are going to be shoots in Vancouver as well as Toronto, Montreal, and London with hopes to bring Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle into the mix as well. There are also preliminary talks to bring in and work with some new photographers – more on that as things get finalized! Steven Errico (Photographer), Amy Jones (Producer), Hero Images (photography team) and Julie Francoeur in Canada are fantastic shooters who contribute every year and make a huge difference to projects supported by CEF.

Project Update: 8 Smart Kids Students Supported by Giving Tuesday

Adrianne & Rick, Kids International Development Society

The 8 students that CEF is supporting through the "Giving Tuesday" fundraising event, their parents and mentor Hak.
The 8 students that CEF is supporting through the “Giving Tuesday” fundraising event, their parents and mentor Hak.

On Sunday March 6, 2016 Adrianne and Rick of the Kids International Development Society went out to see the Smart Kids and have a meeting with with the eight students that will be moving to Siem Reap in August to attend grade 12. Their parents attended to discuss any concerns and to go over what the students would be provided with while boarding at Hak’s (Smart Kids Manager) home in Siem Reap.

The parents were happy that their children were being given this opportunity and although they would miss them they are hopeful that this will lead to a better future for them. For many of these families they have sacrificed to send at least one of their kids to school. The parents had a few concerns about registration fees and transportation fees. We were able to reassure them that these costs will be covered. The students all realize that this is a huge opportunity for them and they are excited and committed to do really well.

Thanks to the support of the Compassionate Eye Foundation all room and board, Khmer school fees, English school fees and bicycles will be provided for the students. Hak is also going to give extra computer and English lesson at his home during the week. KIDS will provide the computers for the students. The students will be expected to assist with household chores and cooking. The parents agreed to try and provide some pocket money for the kids however some cannot so we will ensure that the kids get some funds while in Siem Reap.

It was a rather moving meeting as the parents deeply thanked CEF, KIDS and Hak for this amazing opportunity.