Wowser! Our first production photoshoot, what we called our ’shooting experience’, went even better than expected. And all you have to do to get a taste of the action is to play the video above.
About a month ago, having discovered MC Motors in East London, Matt and I knew we wanted to do a shooting event there. However, we wanted to make it a bit different from one of the regular workshops. We wanted people to be able to come in and shoot all day, maximising all its nooks and crannies, big props and glorious natural lighting, using models styled in as quirky a fashion as the location itself. The idea of the shooting experience was born.
We spent about 3 weeks putting the styling team into place, initially advertising for 12 photographers and 4 models. Soon we realised that lowering the places to 10 and increasing the models to 5 would allow for a much better structure. 9 photographers came on each day, leaving a space for myself to participate too. After all, I was yearning to shoot also!
Everyone from the participants to the models were impressed as soon as they walked into the building – and rightly so – it’s a brilliant space! There was a common surprise at how well-heated it is in there too.
Following a carefully-planned schedule, the photographers were rotated round the location, into each of 5 different set-ups with a different model each time. Everyone moved round in pairs. This was the perfect way to work – it allowed sufficient time for everyone to shoot the model individually, but then to step back to think about, or set up, their next shot – or assist their partner. We paired everyone carefully and they all seemed to gel well with each other. It was a sharing experience without too much compromise.
Within the 5 shooting set-ups, we had two constant Photoflex StarLite QL kits (example above and below), Elinchrom flash lighting with an octodome, and reflectors and Photoflex Litepanels for working with the natural light. Two of the set-ups are ‘roaming’ set-ups which allows everyone to make use of the great natural light in the location, one of the features that attracted us to it in the first place. There were also old manoevreable spotlights that we used as a form of constant light.
As seen below, the Photoflex StarQL lights, as well as being atmospheric self-sufficient illumination, were also a great compliment to the natural light already coming into the building, as a form of boost or fill light. Photographers present who were used to metering flash lights were intrigued to use a continuous source that allowed them to work more by eye.
By the end of the day everyone seemed absolutely satiated with how many shots they had in the bag – literally hundreds – a whole portfolio worth of shots with different models, lighting, props, scenes and concepts. The photographers were giving us glowing feedback even by the middle of the day. There was still time for breaks, lunch, styling touch-ups for the models and even costume changes.
We had professionals and amateurs alike, both men and women, most who wanted more experience shooting models, some weren’t used to shooting people at all. The day transformed the outlook for many of them and by the end of the afternoon, people who’d started nervously were totally immersed!
Here are some of my shots from the weekend:
We had clothes from 2 costume designers Arisa Fukumoto (example of costume above) and Lenka Padysakova (dress below).
You can see examples of the participants’ images in the dedicated Flickr group.
We have set dates for the next shooting experiences and we are currently taking bookings for all:
16th & 17th April 2011
14th & 15th May 2011
It is a one day experience and costs £425. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a place.
We price our events so that you get much value for money. What each person literally gets for the price on the day (that is, after all the resources are divided between the other photographers) is worth at least 3 times as much if they were to organise it themselves, and a lot of people wouldn’t want to otherwise put the effort or work in to implement it. You can walk away with a portfolio of shots for less than half the cost of hiring just the venue itself.
The price covers the 5 models, a styling team of 2 make-up and 2 hair stylists, stylist/director, costume designers, use of supplied flash & constant lighting (1 flash system, 2 continuous lights) plus reflectors and lite panels for working with ambient light. You are looked after from start to finish, directed where and whom you are shooting next, to enable everyone a chance with all models and set-ups. We also provide your lunch as we are introducing catering. All you need to do is turn up with your equipment.
After the shooting experience, all participants receive 3-4 video tutorials from me which go over the post-production of my own images from the shoot. I cover raw workflow in Capture One, touch-ups in Photoshop and also other software usage such as Photomatix for HDR generation where appropriate.
Thanks to the support of Phase One, all participants can download a free copy of Capture One 6 Express (worth 99 Euros) using my unique promocode I’ll supply you with. In Capture One Express, you can make batch changes across your RAW files, edit colours and output your files as TIFFs and JPEGS. Read more about the program here.
There are 10 spaces on each day, which includes the space I will occupy as a participating photographer on the Saturday.
Here’s a lively testimonial from Mark Legge who attended on the Sunday 13th:
“I’d been struggling with how to give myself a complete portfolio overhaul, something like five incredible models, professionally styled and made-up and all available in a location providing a never ending supply of settings, props and inspiration. How to do that without spending ten grand? I’d be a fool not to attend Miss Aniela’s shoot experience… so I did!
“First the bad – I had to get up at 5am and drive across the country and through central London in order to be there on time! Erm… that’s it really. But after meeting other attendees who’d travelled from Paris, Berlin, Spain, Malta and Canada, I was put to shame!
“As for the good, this could go on but I’ll try to be succinct. Five models, brilliantly styled and made-up by a fantastic team of creatives, available to shoot in slots of one hour each in a location so amazing and inspiring that many of my photographer friends have since grabbed me by the collars (which hurts when you’re wearing a vest) and demanded to know where it is!
“I came home with a haul of close to a thousand images. Many of them, an entire portfolio’s worth, the best work I’ve ever done! Just do it! You’ll be thanking me, and you’ll definitely be thanking Natalie, Matt and their team!”
Want to be part?
The closing credits: big thanks to all who contributed to our first shooting experience:
To our sponsor Photoflex for providing us with constant lighting and light panels
A special thanks to Aimee Woollard and Hannah Coates for tireless assistance!
Make-up artists Mutsumi and Krystalo, hairstylists Jasmin Rosso and Hellie Last, stylist Villy Kontonikolaki
To Daniela Haug for taking behind-the-scenes images, which appear on this blog post – you did a wonderful job!
To all our photographer participants
To MC Motors for being a great accommodating location and also buying us bottles of water!