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The M Dash

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The Secret Behind Our Most Recent Photoshoots

We love a challenge.

By Lauren Rogala

Photoshoots are not typically socially distanced affairs. They require a photography crew of anywhere from 15-20 people, hair and makeup folks, and stylists to adjust the clothing on the model so it falls just right—plus, they’re usually held indoors. So when Covid-19 hit, and New Yorkers were told to shelter at home, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle. How were we going to shoot our beautiful summer collection and M Dash stories without being able to, well, gather in person with other humans? 

The answer is ingenuity. After all, we’re enterprising women, and we love a challenge. Below, we walk through some of the strategies and Plan B’s that allowed us to pull it all off.

Models, Photographers, and Zoom

Like the rest of the world, our first plan of action was to take things online. You can have a Zoom workout class, a Zoom wedding, and as it turns out, Zoom photoshoots. But since we’re talking about physical products, a certain amount of it had to be done in person. Luckily, we found a photographer and model who were sheltering in place together and had a photo setup at home similar to what we were looking for. In the weeks leading up to the shoot, our stylist, Nyjerah, worked from home (and via Zoom with our design and merchandising teams) to style all of the looks we would shoot. After sending the products to the model and photographer, we logged in and got up and running. A screen share, hair and makeup check-ins, and a lighting test later, and we were off to the races. All the members of our photoshoot team were logged in remotely from their living rooms to weigh in on the styling, art direction, and fit of the clothing.

Getting Familiar with FaceTime Shoots

We use the M Dash to show our new collections on a variety of body types and people with different personal styles, and we usually love to feature the M.M. team. With everyone working from home, our best option was FaceTime. If you’ve ever been on a FaceTime call and noticed the white button in the middle of the screen, surprise! It actually takes a picture with the other person’s camera and saves it to your camera roll. After Nyjerah styled the outfits remotely, I would call my coworker and do a quick scout of their home to find the best lighting and backdrops, and then we’d get started. We learned that tin foil makes a great iPhone tripod in a pinch; we should never underestimate the power of good window light; and, as always, dogs are the best photoshoot companions.

Solo Photoshoots for Fun

Sometimes we just had to work with what we had, and that meant photoshoots all alone. Armed with many hours, a tripod, a remote for my camera, and some lovely summer light, I ventured across my apartment and the streets of the Upper West Side to capture photos. After setting up the shot by figuring out the frame and lighting with the tripod, I hopped in front of the camera, remote in hand (and usually hidden in M.M.’s roomy pockets) and took batches of photos. After many instances of trial and error—and smiling at no one in particular—we had an M Dash story.

Lauren Rogala

Written By

Lauren Rogala

Lauren is the Associate Art Director of Photography at M.M.LaFleur. She loves shoot days with ambitious shot lists and figuring out new ways to tell visual stories to the MM community.

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