OK, as with several other things on this blog, I’m describing something that to some people will be second nature, but will be a little hazy and ill defined for others. What do I mean by production with reference to professional photography? The easiest equivalent I can draw is from film and TV. In these areas a producer is someone who is responsible, in a very universal way, for bringing the piece (film, show, documentary) to the screen. This means that they have ultimate responsibility for budget, personnel, equipment, locations and arguably every aspect of the “production” right down to the paint used to paint the sets and the type of coffee served at lunchtime.
Although it’s the director whose creative vision and interaction with the actors will be what people take away from having seen the piece, it’s the producer who enables all this to happen, or in some cases doesn’t when, for example they overrule a directors desire to create a particularly expensive sequence. The parallels to photography should be obvious; as a “director” you employ your creative talents, your people skills and all your technical ability to realise an interesting and successful image, but as a “producer” you have to get everything together to enable the picture to be taken, ranging from the more obvious things such as hire studios, through to more mundane bits like spare batteries and the right bulbs for the studio lights.
These pieces could never be exhaustive, as professional photography covers such an enormous range that I couldn’t hope to ever encompass all the possible aspects of production on my own. What I’ve tried to do is illuminate areas that people may not have thought of. These pieces are a little bit more list-like and practical in its nature than some of the others, but perhaps that’s necessary to balance out some of the airy-fairy stuff that I’ll soon be writing (be afraid!). There are several other pieces on this blog which touch upon production, as it’s such a fundamental topic. The portion of this piece which deals with production whilst shooting will be discussed in more depth in a future piece (hopefully not too far in the future) as it’s such a large area in it’s own right.