The anatomy of a photo shoot

part one

Usually the seed for an idea for a photo shoot (yes, seed, then idea, then shoot) comes from a meeting with a model over coffee, and a chat about what we have seen recently, whether that’s on social media, in magazines or in the street, and what we would like to do.

Often, we will have found some images on Instagram or in Pinterest and we will show each other and see what they think. We usually come up with a structure of what kind of image we are looking for, it is unlikely we want to copy the image as seen, there is very little point in that – why make an exact copy of someone else’s work? We think about if we need any complements or not (usually we do) and where to find them. Scarves and jewellery are great for changing a look without changing your wardrobe.

On this occasion it was Renaissance dresses. Sacriel knew a shop that made them so, a week later we went to see if they could be rented because it would be a very expensive business if you had to buy all of the costumes you want to photograph. They could be rented, so they were tried on for size and a date was set for the day of the shoot, in this case it would be just before the Christmas holidays so that the festive food and drink could be enjoyed without worry (I’m on the other side of the camera, I wasn’t worried).

Trying on a dress at

The day before the shoot turned out to be quite stressful for me. I did not have much time to pick up the dresses because I had a photography class followed by an English class. I just had enough time to go to the shop and pick them up. When I got home I was informed that the crown was not in the bag and I would have to go back, but, I had classes all afternoon. Luckily my assistant (son) was able to go and pick up the crown and saved the day.

Finally, at 11 o’clock the night before the shoot, I checked my camera gear, made sure I had some extra batteries for the flash because I thought it would be necessary and made sure the GoPro was charged and ready for some Instagram videos if possible. Half past midnight and I was in bed ready to get up at 6:45, later that morning.

Since we had planned the shoot the weather has gone from sunny spells to cloudy to rain (I had been checking the weather each day). At that moment it was promising thunderstorms from 8 to 10 and then after that it would just be cloudy, I was hoping the floor would not be too wet because the dresses obviously drag along the ground and would soak up water and mud. If it wasn’t actually raining, we would most likely be able to get some relatively good shots, if it was raining we would have to try to find somewhere indoors. I did have a couple of places on the plan B shortlist but one of them had fallen through a few hours earlier, and the other one may not have allowed us to photograph inside. We would have to wait and see – maybe all the work and planning would have been for nothing.

part two is here

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