Photo Editor Michelle Zapata of Meredith Corporation Chooses Photographer Mark Hanson

May 30, 2014

By Michelle Zapata

Model Eden for pregnancy summer fashion shoot.

First  things  first.  What I need to know:  a.) Client – Client Goal/Story  b.) Client Budget  c.) Location  and  d.)  Aesthetic – target audience.

After the above has been answered. I then move into looking for a photographer and teams that fit the aesthetic for the project at hand and who also fits the client’s budget and location.

I rely on different venues when searching for photographers/teams. As photographers and agencies send their work to me, I keep photographers I like in a mental-rolodex (and a ginormous drawer of comps). I keep abreast of new photographers via places like PDN, ADWEEK, agencies, linked-in, Instagram (believe it or not, I think Instagram gives you a small peak into the photographers work style, how carefree they are or how professional does it look etc.) and my network of talent.  Referrals are great!

One of my favorite photographers to work with is Mark Hanson.  I met Mark very early on at Meredith Corporation as he had shot for American Baby and Parents magazines. Aside from that, he had worked on some amazing fashion with a variety of talent. His personality and talent ensure that I can meet any goal for our clients. The greatest thing about Mark is his ability to adapt to any situation and circumstance in front of us. He is a master at his craft and his personality is so easy going that it flows with any job and any creative director.  I love that his ego never enters our set, only his talent!

Seen here is a photo from our last Pregnancy Summer fashion shoot with mommy-to-be model, Eden. This is one of my favorite shoots to date. We had the chance to shoot at Hawks Cay in Duck Key, FL.  With a great crew and an outstanding location we got some high fashion pregnancy editorials!

In addition to choosing a great photographer, I believe it is essential to have the right energy in play with the entire team! Stylists, hair and makeup, photographer, assistants, they all add to the creativity on set. So if you pick a great team and let them do what they do best, you are guaranteed success! You can see more of Mark Hanson’s work at his site,

Michelle Zapata  was born and raised  in New York City. At the age of 10, her parents gave her a camera as a birthday gift. She was enchanted every time the flash popped. And that was the beginning of  her career. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC,  from their Advertising and Communications program she still continued shooting.  In 2002, she landed a finance position at Time Inc. Working internally with their money and AP positions, she was able to transition into People en Espanol’s photo department in 2005. While at People en Espanol, she learned to produce celebrity and fashion shoots, do research and story features. In 2009,  Zapata  began working with Meredith Corporation in their Hispanic Media Division. Since then, she has been  working on Ser Padres, Espera, Bebe and other internal brands. She has had the opportunity to develop on-set art direction, problem solving skills and develop her own creative vision. You can see her work and  that vision at her site at