M. Butterfly at Custom Made – stage promotional photography

Promotional photography for the win. It tends to be pretty quick (under two hours) and often times gets you press notice if that’s something you want to chase.

This was an amazing shoot to get to do because stage photography is hard to get into in general and promotional photography is critical for press coverage, at least around here in the Bay Area (California). Most houses have photographers that they like and use them over and over. I am really lucky that my day job is for a theater company and most of the people who work there also do theater stuff in their spare time.

The theater company I did this for is small and runs on a kitestring budget. The background was from the previous set and I was able to do a tiny bit of colorshifting to make the shot really work. Frequently for shots like this at this level of theater company the costumes are not the ones used in the show and rehearsals have barely begun. Again, I was very lucky to have two actors who were already familiar with the work, had the director there to set the tone and had the managing director of the company available to tell me exactly what he was looking for.

Theater promotional shoots are an odd beast. There is a very specific style of shot that is common in each area and you have to stay within that look (but be different!) to get work. The photography are then used on the theater company website and sent out to media in advance of any performances to try and get people talking. You are often times trying to give the flavor of a piece that no one really completely knows yet. I’ve been lucky to work with several different companies to do this work and I’ll be talking about it more in future posts.

This article on the art of production┬ácovered a lot of what I do when I do these promo shots from the general business perspective – except on a much tiner scale with it just being me doing everything. Show up early, be nice, don’t make being there a burden to everyone, be grateful for the work, make sure you do your best.

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