In terms of organising the shoot, I really loved it. I believe I did a good job in managing a reasonably sized production and pulled it off well. I have learned a lot about the importance of staggering meeting times. As the make up artist was relatively new to the industry, she required more time than an experienced make up artist would. Because I preempted this, I staggered the arrival times of the two models on the call sheet so that one wouldn’t be waiting around with nothing to do until the other model’s make up was finished. I provided the models with fruit and water and put some music on in the background in an effort to make everyone a bit more comfortable. I think this really helped us to bond as a team. I made some really good contacts of the day of the shoot and will definitely be working with some of the team again in the future. The models and make up artist said they had a good time as well, which is always a positive thing as they will be more likely to want to work with me in the future.
The lighting diagram I originally drew up to begin with changed slightly on the day of the actual shoot. I had tested the lighting previously but when the models were dressed and in front of the camera it was clear the lighting needed some slight rearranging. This proved to be a good thing as I am really happy with the final images.
It was great working with Corrine as she has a very different style of photography to me and it was interesting to work on a shoot that was so different from mine. She was really helpful and ended up being a great assistant; I think we worked very well together. It was good to get another photographer’s perspective on my ideas as well, and she helped me solve some problems with my own shoot. I have always enjoyed working by myself but I am learning that it saves time and generally makes it a lot easier and less stressful to have an assistant or two.
Luckily, the atmosphere was relaxed on the day of the shoot as I felt I had everything under control, which meant the models and make up artist felt comfortable as well. I think it’s very important to create a fun atmosphere at a shoot, as those involved are more likely to want to work with you again in the future.
I thought it would be a good idea to get two models from different sources, as it allowed me to experience two avenues. I decided to post a casting call on ModelMayhem.com as well as e-mailing agencies. This also meant that I would have a back up model in case one of them dropped out. This did end up happening with the model I found on ModelMayhem.com, and the agency changed the model they were providing me with at least four times. This caused a great deal of stress as I had already bought the outfits for the shoot (and spent a hideous amount of money on them as well). In future, I will buy the outfits nearer to the time of the shoot to save this stress, as I bought them a few weeks before which caused a lot of grief when the agency changed models due to differences in sizes etc. I will definitely learn from this mistake in the future.
Speaking of models, I noticed a very big difference between the model I acquired from the agency and the one I acquired from ModelMayhem.com. The model from the agency was a lot more professional and looked like the pictures I had been shown. However, the Model Mayhem model looked severely different from her pictures which was a big let down. She genuinely looked nothing like the images I had seen, which meant she was all wrong for the style of the shoot. In future, when sourcing models from Model Mayhem I will attempt to get models that other people I know have collaborated with. This way, I can get their opinions and an accurate prediction of what they are going to be like.
Using the Phase One
I was quite worried about using the Phase One Digital Medium Format camera before the shoot, as I have never used a camera like it before, especially not one that was so expensive. However, after a few practices with the camera, it began to scare me less as I realised it wasn’t that different from mine. The quality of the images was outstanding and I loved the colouring. The images definitely had a different feel than the images I had taken on my own camera.
I did encounter a slight problem, in that the lens had been slightly damaged so the focussing was difficult to maintain. The auto focus wouldn’t really work so I had to use manual focussing. However, this turned out to be a good thing as I was working with a lot of movement and it would have been difficult for the auto focus to focus on what I wanted it to.
Another slight problem was the tethering. I didn’t realise that you cannot tether the camera to a Mac laptop unless it is a Macbook Pro. Mine is a Macbook, so I couldn’t use the tethering system. Instead I simply transferred the images onto my computer afterwards using a card reader. This wasn’t a big problem at all and didn’t affect the shoot, but it would have been good to use tethering as I haven’t done so before.
I am so happy with the final results of the shoot. I was worried that because I styled the models myself, their outfits wouldn’t look right on camera. However, I think I pulled the looks off well and both models really suited the outfits I had chosen for them. I am going to trust myself more in future and remember that I am capable of styling. However, I would like to work with a stylist in the future to get more collaborations going and build my network of contacts.
The models were very happy with the final edited images that I sent over to them and both have used them in their portfolios, which makes me happy that I could help them out. It was definitely a very successful time for print shoot. Sapphires Model Management were also really happy with the final images and have used one on their website. I am really happy that I have collaborated with an agency because they seem keen to let me use their models in the future, which again builds my network of contacts.
I am very happy with the way the shoot turned out and think the final images look good in the layout that the brief required me to use. I think I could have considered the layout a bit more while I was shooting, as I got a bit excited and carried away kept forgetting I was shooting to fit a layout. I printed out the layout and had it on a pin board in the studio, so the preparation was there, I just have to remember to actually look at it next time.
Some more edits of Tara from the shoot. I’m still unsure whether to use these or not as they divert quite a lot away from the original lighting plan I drew up.
Another composition test for the layout.