With the string of Africa-inspired designs in SS14 collections about to hit the street, I sat down with fashion stylist Dasha Egay to produce an editorial for The View Magazine. During a very creative brainstorming session, we quickly came up with the mood: strong, confident, proud. Now, all we had to do was to put that into a fashion story…
Should we shoot on location or in studio? What type of set do we need to bring out the designs and the story? What looks will best go with the theme? What colour scheme should we use? How do we use hair and makeup to flow with the story? What shots do we need for the story to sit well in a magazine context? What type of lighting is suitable? How should we… You get the picture. A thousand questions and a long to-do-list to tick off as we go through the production process. Go to work!
We decided a studio shoot with a clean background would be the best on this occasion, as some of the designs we had in mind were rather detailed and would risk getting lost in a busy set. We booked a small but perfectly formed studio in Bermondsey, London, for the day.
One of the colours I most associate with Africa is a red-ish brown. So we picked that as our background colour. However, the whole shoot was shot on a medium grey background and I changed the colour to brown in post production.
We wanted rather defined shadows to mimic the sun high on the African sky, so I opted for a single Elinchrom Rotalux octabox with just one diffuser on 45 degrees to the left for direction and a v-flat to the right to fill in some shadows.
For makeup we wanted something smudgy, not too symmetrical and dark and smokey. For hair, braids was the key word. Now, engaging the right models for a shoot like this is obviously vital and I contacted Laura at Leni’s, who gave us a suitable selection, in which we found Julia and Holly. They were perfect for our African fashion editorial.
Being on set can be stressful, but when I work with people that truly know their craft, I immediately feel the pressure come off a bit, as I can delegate and trust that they will deliver. Despite being a bit late in the start, the shoot went very smoothly. Julia and Holly and the rest of the team certainly didn’t disappoint and I quickly felt I had the images I needed to build a compelling story.
As usual in the studio, I shot tethered to my laptop so that the whole team could get quick feedback on what works and what doesn’t. I think it is a brilliant tool to detect lighting as well as hair and makeup issues in addition to making sure we stay on target and get the images we need for the story. The advantages of a big screen that enables direct input from the team and immediate feedback cannot be underestimated.
The final part is the post production stage, where image selection is as important as colour treatment and retouch. I did a quick first selection in the evening of the shoot and distributed this as a protected web gallery to the creative team to give everyone some quick feedback on how the shoot worked out in the end. After the initial selection I usually want to wait a few days for the shoot to sink in to be able to look at it objectively and pick out the images that are just right for the fashion story.
The last step is the colour treatment, cleaning and retouch. I usually do a few different versions and let them rest for a bit, before I make a decision on the final style. The rest becomes almost mechanical implementation and you get pretty fluent in using Lightroom, Photoshop and your Wacom Intuos after a while.
Finally, the images were all exported in the appropriate format and colour space for delivery to The View Magazine. All we could do now was to sit back and wait for it to be published. Here’s the finished fashion editorial on page 4 through 21 of issue 14 of The View Magazine and I added my favourites to the portfolio.
Stylist: Dasha Egay
Models: Julia Wieczorek & Holly Miller @ Leni’s Model Management
Hair: Vimal Chavda
Brands: ACCESSORIES, &OTHER STORIES, AIR FIELD, Alexander McQueen, ASOS, COS, INWEAR, ISABEL MARANT, KENZO, MANGO, MARELLA, MAXMARA, NEW LOOK, NIKE, ONE TEASPOON, TOPSHOP, URBAN OUTFITTERS, VALENTINO, ZARA
Location: Studio Photo Gallery, Bermondsey, London