Around about this time last week, I had the pleasure of working on an epic, day long fashion photo shoot in Dun Laoghaire with three very talented young ladies. Make up artist/stylist for the day, Gillian Hopper and models, Kate Harris and Zarreen Ghorbani Moore. Check out the highlights inside...
How to Organise a Fashion Photo Shoot: Step 1 - Let Gillian do it...
First off, I just have to give credit where it's due. Gillian is like some sort of Jedi ninja master when it comes to organising stuff. Everything you see below was organised by Gillian. The models, all the locations, wardrobe, make up etc. Yup, that was all her.
Combine that with the fact that our two models, Kate and Zarreen are total superstars in front of the camera and my role was diminished to that of a lobotomized monkey whose sole purpose is to push the shutter button. In other words, they made it real easy on me.
We started early, meeting at about 10am at the surprisingly bright, Hartley's Restaurant (big thanks to the team there for being so welcoming).
I thought I was going to have to light the bejaysus out of this place, but the sun decided not to screw me over on the day and was streaming through the abundant windows around the restaurant. So, I just used the natural light.
I immediately set about breaking the ice with the girls by jumping on a chair and intentionally tumbling to the floor in the most awkward fashion imaginable. I managed to protect my newly acquired 5DmkIII from harm by sacrificing only my pride (and probably my credibility with the girls).
Zarreen at The Pier
After a short break for a change in wardrobe/make up, we were back to shooting at the always wonderful Dun Laoghaire pier with Zarreen. We immediately set about commandeering the bandstand there for the majority of this part of the shoot.
Now, I don't know if the stars were aligned or the gods were smiling down on me that day or what, but the light was just fantastic. If I didn't know better, I'd struggle to identify the location as Ireland in these shots. I couldn't fault Zarreen here either, she absolutely nailed it in my opinion.
Eventually, we took a stroll back to little shaded car park I had spotted while walking to the pier.
There's some sort of physics magic that happens to light when you place someone at the edge of an area of open shade. I don't really know how to explain it, but I love it, and I'm constantly on the lookout for little spots like this when I'm out shooting. I used this same technique on my recent shoot with Dublin musician, Longtails.
After a short rest in Gillian's nearby house, we hit the waterfront with a slightly edgier look. The weather had started to deteriorate at this stage and it was getting quite cold and windy, but Kate and Zarreen were still on top form and were killing it with their subtle interactions with each other.
I love the vibe that the girls had going on here. They're hanging out with each other, but you can't tell if they actually like each other very much. This was all on them, I was giving very little direction here other than very basic positioning.
Kate at The Royal Marine Hotel
We finished up the day with a brief shoot with Kate in a more formal look at the Royal Marine Hotel.
This was probably the most challenging portion of the day's shooting. I think everyone was starting to get a little tired after all the work we had already done (well, I was. Kate didn't seem to show any signs of letting up on the great poses), and I was struggling to light the interior section of the Hotel that we were very kindly given permission to shoot in. Hmm, well maybe struggling isn't the right word. I was very wary of the fact that we had been at this all day and that people maybe needed to get home and, y'know eat and sleep and stuff.
So, I made the decision to stop faffing around with my lights and ended up utilising the multitude of windows at our disposal. It wasn't so late that we didn't have just enough light streaming through to get good results, so we went with it.
Eventually we ended up in the front hall of the hotel, which is lined with plenty of large windows that provided us with some beautiful soft light.
We finished up with a few shots outside, between a couple of columns at the side of the front door, which actually ended up being some of my favourites from the day.
If it sounds like I'm kinda gushing in the paragraphs above, it's because I kinda am. While it was a long and hard day's work, this was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying shoots I've been involved in all year and it's all thanks to a great team.
When the people around you are talented and willing to work just as hard as you are, the results will always speak for themselves.
I'm quite proud of some of the images I got while working on this shoot, and likewise, I hope that Gillian, Kate and Zarreen are equally proud of the work they did, as without them there would have been nothing.
I hope I get the chance to work with each of them again real soon.
photographer / Brian McNamara
styling, make up & planning / Gillian Hopper
models / Kate Harris @ Assets & Zarreen Ghorbani Moore
assistant / Amanda Moore
So, it's been a long week of editing and blogging for me this week. Things will probably be a little quieter around here for a bit now, as I need to start planning my next round of shoots.
I would really appreciate any comments or critiques anyone out there in the digital ether may have. Not just about this post or these images, but about how I'm doing as a blogging photographer in general. I'm very new to this and feel like I'm still finding my feet, so don't be afraid to give me a kick up the behind if I'm failing miserably. Better to know sooner than later.