Behind The Lens: Dan Webb

Fringe Fashion PDX’s Director of Good Times, Photographer Coordinator, the Bill Cunningham of Portland, the Annie Leibovitz of the PNW, Dan Webb sat down with us to give us a peak into his world! Lets go Behind The Lens and learn more about Dan Webb.

Do you remember you first fashion photo shoot?

Dan: My fist real fashion photo shoot was a favor for Tom Lupton and a clothing designer.  It was already arranged and I only needed to focus on my part of capturing the photos.  Even the studio location and lighting were arranged to be at Cobalt Studios PDX.  The clothing designer, models, makeup artist, jewelry designers and lighting expert were ready to go when I arrived.  Nervous and shaking I got a quick tour and tutorial from Bill Linn and then starting shooting.  Bill would check my lighting make adjustments, the designers would check my work and let me know what they liked, the makeup artist kept a close watch on fine details and touch ups and I believe there were a few others assisting as well.  That is when I realized a fashion shoot is so much more than just the clothing and a photographer.  It's about having the right team of people!  Each with their own specific skills that when working together make the real magic happen.  Everyone came together for a unified purpose to bring a vision to life and the results were so amazing.  There couldn't have been a better way to have a first fashion photo sessions.  I am still amazed at how professional the results were because of every individual on the team.

What was the hardest shoot you’ve ever done?

Dan: My hardest photo shoot was a Marie Antoinette concept.  We spent months planning, worrying, researching and solving problems before we even got into the studio.  The crew ended up being somewhere around a dozen individuals each with specific knowledge, creativity and expertise but they all assisted during the actual photo session as well.  It started by chatting with a model Nora Knightly and once we hit on the concept it grew with momentum like a sudden explosion.  We asked Sloane White for clothing designs and she made a dress specifically for the photos on the aerial hoop (Lyra).  Then Sloane offered to loan some of her other designs as well to have 4 specific different looks.   We asked Cherrity Patt to join for hair and makeup.  She started by asking questions and recommending makeup looks and then just know the direction to go with it.  In addition to makeup she also structured a pink wig and made Petit fours for one of the looks of having tea and cake.  Noelle Zimel (Metal_Morphosis) and her sister Kimberly Carman Designs provided crowns, other hair accessories and custom made jewelry.  Tom Lupton helped me stay on task with planning and assisted as creative advisor through the entire process.  We worked closely with Cobalt Studios PDX to plan the shoot list, decide lighting and to find a solution to safely hanging the Lyra in their studio.  I researched alternative options like renting a free standing rig and talked with aerial artists and rock climbers for advice to attach rigging to an existing gymnastics rope.  Finally, a knot I've used for several years to hang a hammock ended up being our solution.  Once in the studio we had only 3 hours to shoot 4 very different looks each with slight clothing and accessory changes, set changes and then finally clean up.  There were many hands assisting and coming up with quick ideas during the photo session itself including several members of the Cobalt Studios PDX staff and finally my wife providing food and helping hands as well.  That we managed do it all within the 3 hours during shooting while mounting the Lyra, moving a bath tub, a giant mirror, chairs, mirror ball, all sort of other props and changing up designs and accessories with the model was really unbelievable.  The entire team was incredible and brought everything together amazingly!  Again an example of just how important it is to choose, rely on and trust in a team of very skilled individuals.

Marie Antoinette Photoshoot. Credits as stated in article.

What are you most passionate about shooting?

Dan:Seeing, witnessing and experiencing!  I'm most passionate about being IN THE PROCESS before, during and even after than actually taking of the photo!  It could be a beautiful location, intricate pattern, interactions with others, really seeing someone or something for the first time or witnessing the complete transformation of a person during the process.  There is so much to see through the viewer but also so much to experience along the way.  The final result may be a great photo but the greatest joy for me is the journey and experience itself.

If you were to give advice to someone just starting in photography, what would it be?

Dan: Surround yourself with a creative talented team, trust them, give them the freedom to do what they are great at, listen to their ideas, guide the process instead of controlling it and then be ready to make any necessary decisions.

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