How to set up your own photoshoot: Tips & tricks from Trudy Kazangu
Photographer Trudy Kazangu has been part of the Chase community for a while now. She started out as a writer with a passion for visual arts, which made photography and videography a logical next step. At the moment, she is doing an internship at Flair Belgium and is working on her ‘Tinted Souls‘ project. Recently, we collaborated with her on a paid assignment for one of our Chase Creative clients. Do you also want to set up a photo shoot but don’t know where to start? Trudy’s tips and tricks will give you a hand!
Article by Ashley Okwuego
HI TRUDY, WHAT’S THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZING A PHOTOSHOOT?
Trudy Kazangu: “You must first know what you want to achieve with your shoot. Preparation is key! Freestyling is definitely allowed but is usually really risky. Second, you can’t forget the three key elements: your camera, charger and memory card. And last but not least, it’s best to go to bed early the day before a shoot. It may not seem like it, but you have to be very alert and accurate at a photo shoot. It can sometimes be very tiring.”
“With the support of AnastassiaOudovitchenko, Senior Account Manager at Chase Creative, I was able to work in a very structured way for this shoot. Without her help, it would’ve never gone this well. The largest part of the shoot was worked out and prepared down to the details. Ana even wrote down the hour on the call sheet during which the sun would go up. It may sound absurd, but it’s necessary if you want natural light to work.”
WHAT ABOUT CASTING, MOODBOARD, AND LOCATION?
Trudy Kazangu: “Both Ana and I were responsible for the casting of the models. We had a varied selection of women and it also went fairly smoothly with the client, as they were satisfied with the casting. Based on the client’s vision, I made a mood board on Pinterest. After the models were chosen, I specified the mood boards per model. This helps a lot during a shoot because you already know in advance what you’re going for.”
“Viewing the location before the shoot is definitely a plus. This time, I unfortunately never managed to physically visit the locations before the shoot. But Ana always made sure that I received detailed photos of the rooms before I’d had to shoot there.”
HOW DID THE SHOOT GO IN GENERAL?
Trudy Kazangu: “Thanks to the mood boards I made in advance, we actually knew beforehand what we wanted to achieve in terms of image. So that went very smoothly. The boards mainly served as inspiration and basis. Something that didn’t really go according to the plan was time… If you are working on such an extensive shoot, time is your biggest enemy. You have to work fast and at the same time still perform well as a photographer. Not only for the customer but especially for yourself. You solve that problem by being as well prepared as possible before the shoot and onset itself.”
WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SHOOTING ON LOCATION AND IN A STUDIO?
Trudy Kazangu: “I have never worked in a studio before, but I do assume that in a studio you have better control over various factors such as lighting, positioning, and space. While that can sometimes be a bit of a searching process when you’re shooting on location.”
WHAT’S YOUR STRONGEST AND WEAKEST POINT IN TERMS OF PHOTOGRAPHY?
Trudy Kazangu: “My strongest point is probably my ability to visually assess things correctly in general, which means styling people, choosing which color palette I want to go for, the location and the models. My weakest point is that I often underestimate how much effort it will cost me to start a project. I just love it so much that I sometimes forget that it is hard work too.”
DO YOU RECOMMEND HIRING AN ASSISTANT?
Trudy Kazangu: “I recommend an assistant if it helps you. For example, an assist can also delay you in your work if they are not alert enough and simply have no feeling for this type of work. A shoot also succeeds on your own because you often simply cannot do otherwise. A good assistant is really a luxury for me at this moment. I have always done this on my own before and still am. So you can perfectly work without one.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS?
Trudy Kazangu: “As a photography enthusiast, the only tip I can give is that you shouldn’t lose yourself when looking for your own corporate identity. That comes naturally and you have an audience for every type of photography. Experiment as much as possible! I recognize my own in everything I do, I think that is very important.”
DO YOU PREFER DOING YOUR OWN THING OR WORKING ‘ON BEHALF OF’?
Trudy Kazangu: “I currently prefer to work on my own projects because the pressure is much lower. Photographing people is my favorite thing to do. My love for the art actually started that way. Capturing faces, it’s always so beautiful. Working on behalf of someone else is also possible for me, but the client and I have to be more or less on the same wavelength. Collaborations are good learning processes and I know I still have a lot to learn!”
DID YOU ACHIEVE THE 2019 GOALS YOU’D SET UP FOR YOURSELF? ANY 2020 GOALS?
Trudy Kazangu: “In 2019 I had set up a goal to make music. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to focus on music, but I really have to work on that. Music makes me very happy and I can really use that happiness now. My goal for 2020 is to save enough money for my big trip through South-America in October. Over there, I want to make some more small personal documentaries like my ‘Tinted Souls‘ series and be able to do my own thing under the southern sun. I hope photography will help me to achieve this goal. In addition to that, I want to feel more comfortable this year in everything I do and am. I want stability and serenity.”