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The Secret Behind a Great Photo Shoot Team

Bella Notte Linens hand towels and guest towels


I recently had the pleasure of working again with the Bella Notte Linens team on a photo shoot for their Spring Style Guide. I’ve worked with them many times and every time I’m struck by how well the shoot goes and how much we’re able to get done—which is pretty amazing given that the stylist for the team, Juliet, works on the shoot remotely….from a cattle farm in rural England.

It’s a phenomenal feat and one that can only be done thanks to technology. We communicate with Juliet via Skype and she “sees” everything on the set via the video feed from my camera.  On site are four amazing, creative, and communicative women—Kathleen, Bella Notte’s President and Lead Designer, her daughter Taylor, the company’s Visual Media Director, Michelle, Director of Sales & Marketing, and Leeta, Textile Designer. These women have been collaborating for months on the design, layout, sourcing, and construction of each of the sets.Everything is “story boarded,” sourced, and lined up ready to go, from props to product.

Then there’s me, shooting, working to capture the Bella Notte feeling, and doing most everything in Adobe’s Lightroom. The Bella Notte shoot runs for a number of days and the sets are amazingly inventive and incredibly rich visually. And while technology helps us accomplish a lot in a little time, none of it could get done and done so well if the team weren’t who they are.

According to a recent New York Times article, good teams have three distinguishing characteristics:

• “First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.”

• “Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.”

• “Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men.”

The two characteristics I’d add to this list are respect for each other and lack of ego. By the end of the shoot, we’re all ready to move on and tackle new projects, but we’re also incredibly proud of the work we’ve done and looking forward to the next shoot.

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