Behind the Lens: On Set with AE Part Two

Behind the Lens: On Set with AE Part Two

Hi, Cassie again from the social media team at American Eagle Outfitters! A few days ago I told you about my experience at the Spring 2013 photo shoot and what happens before the actual shoot begins. Read on below to learn about my experience when the cameras start rolling.

Shoot days begin very early, especially during the Fall and Winter months when sunlight is limited (we shot our Spring campaign in November). Call time was typically around 6:00 a.m. depending on how far we had to travel to a location and how many shots were planned for that day. We shot  all over Los Angeles –  Malibu, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, San Pedro, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica, so getting to some of our locations would take over an hour and a half of driving time. If you have ever been to Los Angeles, you know that it takes three times as long as you expect to get anywhere because of traffic!

los angeles kenneth hahn state recreation area instagram

I snapped this Instagram photo of downtown LA from Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.

Breakfast is served on set while the cast members are in hair and make-up. The one thing I learned really fast about a photo shoot is there is a lot of food all the time… my Jeggings started feeling a little tight by the end of the week! Aside for the big meals of the day snacks are always abundant and I suddenly found myself having to try everything.

Ronnie grabs a bite of breakfast on set before the shoot begins.

Ronnie grabs a bite of breakfast on set before the shoot begins.

Megan has her hair styled by Jayson Medina and make-up done by Jenna Menard.

Megan has her hair styled by Jayson Medina and make-up done by Jenna Menard.

After hair and makeup, the cast goes into wardrobe. The wardrobe team consists of stylists, stylist assistants, and the AE Business Strategies team, specifically Sarah L. and Lauren R.. There are stylists on every set, so if we are shooting multiple places at once, the stylists and their assistants are nearby to make sure everyone’s look is perfect from the placement of a necklace to the rolled cuff of a jean. I loved watching the stylists in action and was definitely making mental notes on how to wear some of our cute Spring pieces at home!

Erin American Eagle Outfitters Stylist styles George Spring 2013

Our home office senior stylist Erin perfects George’s shirt.

Once shooting begins, things get really hectic, so I did my best to stay out of the way. We  had four different sets running simultaneously during the shoot – a video set and three photo sets to capture everything we need for marketing such as Looks to Live In.

The video set was my favorite to be on for a few different reasons. One was the first day I arrived when we were shooting at a house in Malibu. The grounds at the Malibu house felt like a secret garden because there were so many little trails and beautiful places to explore. I always fly in heels to save room in my bag (for more heels, of course), so everyone was laughing at me walking around on the uneven paths and in between trees and bushes in heels since I went straight to the set from the airport. Lesson learned – wear flat, comfortable shoes while on set!  The second was shooting on Venice Beach for Malia and Jarett‘s video. Watching them surf inspired me to put add ‘try surfing’ to my bucket list. Plus, I had my first celebrity sighting in LA – Pink rode by on a bicycle with her husband! (The second was Whoppi Goldberg when she walked past me in the hotel lobby!).

Malia and Jarett surfing in Venice Beach American Eagle Outfitters Spring 2013

Malia and Jarett surfing in Venice Beach.

Another really fun day on set was when we were shooting Ronnie and Jason‘s video in San Pedro. While I was driving out to San Pedro, it was beautiful and sunny, but after lunch, the fog started rolling in. We kept shooting, but before long we could barely see each other because there was so much fog. As quickly as the fog came, it left. Visiting San Pedro was especially cool for me because it is where my grandfather was stationed before he left for the Pacific during World War II.

Being on set, I had the opportunity to get to know the cast personally. I spent the day wtih Tonikali while she was shooting her video and they had a beautiful outdoor area set up for her to paint. Watching her mix media to create a unique piece of art in about twenty minutes was amazing.

tonikali american eagle outfitters artist spring 2013

Tonikali poses by the painting she made for her video shoot.

I had my first run in with Jarett the next day. I was instantly blown away by his energy – it was still pretty early in the morning and he was doing flips and jumps that would make Gabby Douglas jealous.

Jarett American Eagle Outfitters Spring 2013

Jarett showing off his moves.


The cast got to do some really awesome stuff on the shoot, from driving vintage Broncos and station wagons to spending the day showing us what they love to do. Eager to have a little fun myself, I took a quick bike ride around the set one afternoon to explore and have a little me time.

cassandra pisone american eagle outfitters social media

Traded in the rental car for two wheels of my own.

On the last day, I attended the Student Conservation Association service project in Solstice Canyon where the cast come together to do some much-needed conservation work. Their energy and camaraderie on the service project was so infectious and they left me feeling excited about our partnership with the SCA.

Photo shoot weeks are long, but definitely fun. But before I knew it, I was packing my bags to leave sunny Los Angeles for Pittsburgh on a red-eye. The most gratifying part of the trip overall was getting to know the cast and crew of our Spring 2013 photo shoot. The social part of social media is why I love my job! I loved being able to introduce and profile the amazing people you chose for our Spring 2013 Live Your Life cast.

If you have any questions about what else goes on at an AE photo shoot, be sure to leave them in the comments and I’ll respond.

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