I've been shooting behind the scenes at our big campaign photo shoots for the last few seasons. I never forget the most shocking thing about my first shoot. Sure it was super exciting, but what amazed me was the amount of down time. I mean, I didn't expect nonstop photo-flashing action, but I admit I was kind of hoping it would be like Blow Up.
Instead, the day moves slowly. Everyone has this intense focus and each decision holds so much weight. The clothing changes are quick and the hair stylist's hilarious stories are sometimes cut off midsentence by frizz-emergencies. The models are under the most pressure. But once they're off the set and hanging out, they can't wait to tell you about all ridiculous experiences they've had on location. And the food! What can I say? It's incredible. No one wants to be the shoot with the gross lunch.
For me, as the behind the scenes guy at least, it's far less glamorous. I have to be alert and in the background all at once. Fashion photographers have big personalities. So during a shoot, it's wise to stay out of the way of the real deal. When I first did behind the scenes, I tried to stage beautiful shots. But over time, I started to realize that the fuzzy, poorly composed ones that showed real moments were way more fun. Whenever you put a camera in front of anyone you change the way they behave. So, I'm always careful not to wreck a mood. But if you sneak around shooting when people aren't looking everyone tends to think of you as a stalker. You've got to wait for those special moments when we're all laughing about how fancy the food is or how funny so and so looks with a wig on. That's the best. That's when the awesomeness happens.
—Jimmy, Social Media Strategist at Nanette Lepore