Perry Farrel Photoshoot – A Complete Photography Workshop

Why You Should Watch This Video

It’s a Perry Farrell photoshoot! Not many photographers with my experience (if any) are giving this much access to their private sets. This is Perry Farrell and Etty Farrell of the legendary bands Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros.They just launched another incredible project called Kind Heaven Orchestra. Oh yeah, Perry also launched that little music festival you have heard of…Lollapalooza!


It’s 22-minutes that I somewhat regret sharing because my thought was to make it an online workshop. Seriously! You get such insight that it’s probably one of my favorite videos i’ve ever shared. In fact, I don’t know…if the video isn’t playing then perhaps it is a paid course now. That’s a threat, kinda…

Photo 1: Perry Farrell by Walid Azami

Why Studio Choice Matters in a Photoshoot

You’re going to learn a whole lot in this video! I think that’s been established but I’m OK to share a few tips right there. The hiring of the photography studio is key because it needs to cover several important factors:

  • Will it furnish all the wardrobe for your shoot? In this case, we had Etty and Perry. That’s two celebrities with fine taste in clothing and all things glam. We need space for all of Mindy’s clothing racks, plus her assistants on set.
  • Will it fit my needs as the photographer and director on set? I was running two productions in one – videos for the tour backdrop videos and then album packaging photographs. That’s a lot of space that I need.
  • Will it fit our creative director, the photographer, my assistants, wardrobe stylist and her assistants, the entire glam team, the actual talent and their assistants. Will it also fit the lawyer and the manager who stopped in midday, the production assistants, the food, the gear, the content creator who will visit us, and security guards?
  • Will the photography studio provide us additional backgrounds within a reasonable distance?

That’s a lot to factor in and this video should should give you great insight. Oh geez…I really shoulda charged for this lol.

Hiring Additional Production Assistant

You need help. I need help. That’s the basic understanding of a set, but I find that many photographers are hesitant to hire additional help because it cuts into their profits. What I will say is, you saving $400 (2 production assistants) will cost you $40K down the line if the client had a bad experience.

You’re not spending money on production assistants. You’re investing in your future, investing in your guest experience on set. So please invest in additional help.


Here’s a likely situation: You’re nearing the lunch hour and your PA already noted everyone’s orders for lunch. Great! 45 minutes later, someone has to get the lunch because your place of choice is overwhelmed with lunch-time orders. You had one PA and he/she’s gone! You now need something else and there’s no one to help you. You need someone to hold a reflector, grab a sandbag, or even setup the next shot. What if the client wants coffee!?


Now YOU are the one running around in the role of the assistant. This is all about perception and effective behavior. Your clients just saw you hustling in a bad way, they lowered their value of you. Hey, i’m just here delivering truth and not everyone likes that.


Suddenly that extra $400 sounds like a clear bargain! Invest in yourselves my friends, please.

Photo 3: Etty Farrell by Walid Azami

When you see the video, you’ll notice how much of the footage is around the mood boards taped to the wall. This is the approved board for my client. This is what the vision they signed-off with, and this is the type of photography they expect. Don’t stray outside of this approved vision, unless you want to sabotage your chances of success.


Ok, then we’re not allowed to ever step outside of the creative vision? What the hell, Walid! I might as well work in a cubicle and staple papers all day.


Dramatic, yeah? Look, these good people paid for an idea. They used their hard-earned money to invest in my (or your) artistry. They believed in us, they trust in us, and they have expectations of us. This is incredible and we must respect that. Once that goal is met, you then can stray outside your approved-vision and try something new. Flex that creative muscle and give them a treat! But treats come after you had the main meal, and that my friend…that’s what they paid for.


That’s why we posted the mood boards to the wall of the photography studio. It’s where we gathered to exchange ideas and checked against our ideas. Does this new lighting setup match the approved boards? I love this blazer but is it the type of blazer we agreed on? Love this hair but does it match what Etty asked for? No? Yes?

This is how we stay on target. This is how you increase your chances of success. This is how you win. I want you to win.


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Thank you for reading,