Transforming a hotel suite into a photo studio.

Setting up shop inside a bland hotel suite is the norm for many celebrity portrait photographers and according to Robert Hanashiro, the first question is always, “How do I turn a room I’ve seen a thousand times into a photo studio?”

On a recent shoot with Pharrell Williams for USA Today, Hanashiro mounted a Go Pro in the corner to demonstrate what his process looks like. In the time lapse video above you can see Hanashiro, his wife Deanna and his assistant Michael Der moving furniture, placing a backdrop and arranging and testing a variety of lighting set ups. When working in a generic space, Hanashiro says lights are key to creating something dramatic for the subject.

Transforming the room took approximately 90 minutes. Hanashiro’s portrait session with Pharrell lasted a mere 8 minutes.