What does an Art Director do?
I handle the photo shoots from concept to completion, from deciding the look and feel of a photo shoot, to choosing models, locations & stylists, to directing the photographer & team on the day.
Tell us about a typical day in the life of an art director?
Every day is different depending on the job in hand. Most days in the office I’m usually concepting and creating mood boards, other days I’m casting models and doing recce’s of suitable locations. On a shoot it’s down to me to organize the team and check that all shots taken on the day are a good representation of the theme and consistent to the representation of the brand.
How did you get into art directing?
I kind of fell into the role, I studied Fashion at University and was unsure what career I actually wanted to do. I eventually ended up working for a retail company in the graphics department where I trained on the job in graphic design. It was within this role where I gained experience of photo shoots, and realized that this was something I loved doing, and had a real passion for. I’ve been at Mamas & Papas now for almost four years and again my role evolved from graphics and art directing to now solely handling all photography projects for the company. My role at Mamas & Papas is great because I get to organize shoots for all the categories from Maternity fashion to Nursery interiors.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
This is a really hard question because I love all the aspects of my job and it’s hard to narrow it down, but I guess if I had to pick it’s seeing my concepts turn into actual imagery.
What’s involved in planning a Maternity photo shoot?
I usually start planning the shoot two to three months before it take place. The more time the better, it always feels like just as we have finished one shoot another starts. Firstly I will meet with the design and development team who will talk me through the forth-coming collections. After this I go away and create photography mood boards to how we propose to shoot the collections, I then present these back to the design and marketing teams. Once the concepts have been signed off I start organising the shoot, which involves: casting and booking the models, researching locations and booking stylists and the photographer. I will then create a shoot pack, which contains all the information for the shoot, and circulate this along with a brief to the whole team involved on a shoot.
Mamas & Papas are quite unique as we shoot for each season, which I love because I’m constantly working on new concepts.
Where do you get your idea’s/inspiration from for the shoots?
I get inspiration from so many places, there are some fantastic blogs & websites out there along with fashion prediction websites like WGSN, also there’s nothing like a good old magazine or a stroll down the high street for some current trends. I keep lots of files full of imagery, which I pull off, and keep as and when I see anything I love. I’m also a massive fan of Pintrest, which is like a virtual mood board bank of everything I like from various websites.
What’s your role when on shoot?
On the actual shoot I work closely with the whole team in particular the photographer & stylist checking that every shot is what we hoped for and is the best it could be for the brand.
Are there a lot of differences between organising and shooting a baby shoot to a maternity one?
Yes, even though all the work prior to the photo shoot is the same the actual shoots can be quite different. What’s good about maternity is you can direct the model, but working with children under two you have no control of what they do. I have had shoots where all the kids in one day have cried their eyes out. I pleased to say to date I don’t think I have ever had a maternity model in tears!