Hey Scott! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We can’t wait to find out more about how a day in the life of our CPST & Photographer looks! So, what’s a typical day like for you?
What’s a typical day like as Diono’s photographer? A shoot day actually starts a couple of weeks beforehand with selecting models. We work with a few modeling agencies in Seattle, as well as several local families, and I have a whole library of kids to choose from. The kids that get selected are based on their availability, which product I’m shooting and whether I’ll need siblings or parents to be in the shots. Once models are selected, we determine a call time for everyone to show up. A day or two before the shoot I’ll get the set ready. In the car or in the studio it always takes a while to light everything and take some test shots so I’m ready when models get here. Upon arrival at Diono the models get settled in and we choose wardrobe.
Wow, you sound super busy already. And the shoot hasn’t even started! Okay so everyone is in place, what next?
Once everyone is ready, we get started. I’ve become an expert at making babies cry so it always takes a little while for them to settle in. Parents and other family members are always welcome on set and I usually rely on them to help bring out smiles.
Oh no, I bet that can slow things down a little. What’s your ‘go-to’ trick or top tip when this happens?
Anything from a favorite toy, a goofy face or a song can help. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to Baby Shark while taking pictures!
We’ll take your word on that one! So it’s not all that simple then? What happens if they don’t stop crying?
Sometimes they never settle down and we either have to take a break or reschedule. With babies I’m on their schedule and have to roll with whatever happens. They fall asleep all the time so it can take a couple hours to get one shot. Older kids are usually much more at ease with the whole process.
Crying, falling asleep, baby shark… Okay so aside from the obstacles, what else does a shoot involve?
Being a CPST I make sure our products are used correctly and don’t show any misuse. I also spend extra time making sure the product and kids look good. A few minutes spent before pressing the shutter button can save me an hour in Photoshop. I usually shoot anywhere from 25 to 100 shots of each “scene” so we have a good number of pictures to choose from for final selects. Once one scene is done, we move on to the next one. This usually involves swapping seats and kids, changing harness strap positions, changing from rear-facing to forward-facing, etc. A shoot can last anywhere from a few hours to all day. It just depends on the products and how many shots are needed.
So you’ve gotta be pretty sharp and smart to save time then! The more prep the better. What about our videos, are they as time-consuming?
Shooting videos is mostly the same process but it takes a lot longer to get everything set up. We need a lot more light for video so it’s a little harder to get everything looking right. Once the lighting is set, we do a couple of tests to make sure exposure and focus are good. Then it’s time to roll! This was my first time on the other side of the camera, so it was a different kind of fun.
Gotcha! But less crying and baby shark at least? How long does an average installation video take to shoot?
Even though I’ve installed our seats literally hundreds of times, it still took about 12 hours just to shoot installation videos for three seats. We have to shoot Forward-facing, rear-facing and booster mode, installed with LATCH and seat belt. In addition to the wide shot of each, there are closeups for things that we want to emphasize or show extra detail on and all of those require a different lighting and camera setup. Our shot list for this day was about 75 shots long.
75 shots in one day, that’s impressive! It’s great that you enjoy it so much. What’s next? Time to grab a quick break or straight back to it?
Once the shooting is done it’s time to process photos or edit videos. Depending on how many shots are selected for final editing it can take a couple of days or a couple of weeks to finish images from a shoot. I have to adjust exposure, clean up the images, remove or drop in backgrounds, clone kids, swap heads on sleeping babies…
Clone kids and swap heads!? I didn’t see that one coming. Sounds like it’s still quite a lengthy process, but the photos are so worth it! Are videos easier?
Video editing can take just as long as still editing because we end up with a lot of clips that are used to make the final video.
Kind of like a jigsaw then! You’re definitely kept busy by the sounds of it. Being a CPST must mean you have so much knowledge about car seat safety, do you ever get to put that into action?
I also help Customer Service with product and installation questions, review photos for our social channels, respond to questions posted on our website, review product manuals, and dig through my memory banks when someone asks about a product from 2014.
Well Scott, you sure do know Diono! It’s been awesome speaking with you and getting to learn more about your role behind the scenes. Anything else you’d like to add about a day in the life of…?
There’s really no such thing as a “typical” day at Diono.