During the shoot
Getting the garments right
With a whole rail of lovely Lucile lingerie to choose from, Fahim and Dave set about choosing which pieces would work best together for the shoot. The garments are the stars in fashion photography, so co-ordinating them well is crucial.
Use your time wisely
As Kasia got changed into her next outfit, Dave explained that it is essential to use this time wisely. The first thing was to check over the pictures from the last set-up to make absolutely sure that you have everything that you need. Then we moved swiftly on to planning the next shot.
The plain cream walls of the empty house were perfect for a high-key style shot of the ivory gown. David said that it always pays to work with the best models you can find, and then explain to them what you want. They will then come to the set ready to work, so you need to be ready to work. Any hesitation on your part, he explained, would put them off.
Use fill lighting
David had shown Fahim his Orbis ringflash set-up earlier and he was keen to find out how that this would work in practice. For this series of shots our professional photographer and apprentice were shooting directly towards the window, with a bright sunny day beyond.
It was obvious that they would need some fill lighting if they were to avoid Kasia’s face completely falling into the shadows. The Orbis was attached to a Nikon SB900 flash, in turn powered from an external battery pack, and mounted on a Three-Legged Thing tripod via a Frio coldshoe attachment. It was one heck of a Heath Robinson arrangement, but it certainly did the trick here!
Fahim says, “I learned two things very quickly about fashion photography. First, nothing happens fast. It was a good two hours after we arrived at the gatehouse at Stoneleigh Abbey until we took this first picture. Not that we were idle during that time… there was lots of preparation to be done.
“The second thing I learned is that fashion photography involves lots of people, all of whom were kept busy during the set-up. Make-up artist Roseanna Velin worked with model Kasia Bober on ensuring her hair and cosmetics were perfect. Sameena from Lucile, the lingerie fashion house we were shooting pictures for, got out and steamed the clothes.
“Meanwhile David directed operations, and discussed with me and his assistant Paul what clothes we would shoot – and where, and how. This is one of two set-ups we did of this red silk gown, converted to mono to make it look different from the colour version.”
Explore different angles
Fahim says, “During our recce at the start of the day we had noticed the gallery in the main hall, and David had been excited about the possibility of using this to shoot down on the model to create an aerial shot of her lying on the floor.
We tried using the floorboards for the backdrop, but to protect the clothes and the model we used a rug instead. To add to the lighting effect Paul held a bare bulb studio flash head, using the modelling lamp alone to add a warm pool of light to the picture. ”
Taking things steady
Switching to a 70-200mm telephoto lens, David said it was sensible to use a tripod. The Orbis ringflash helped to counteract the sunlight streaming through the windows. With the zoom set to 135mm and the focus set manually, David encouraged Fahim to shoot without continually looking at the back of the camera.