Saturday, September 20, 2014

Last Days of Summer

So it has been a while... again (sigh...)

I admit I haven't had time for blogging but I did keep busy in the photography front.

Last month I decided to challenge myself and go for something bigger and a lot more complicated than the last photoshoot I did at Weizmann... This time I had contacted three models, two make up artists and a stylist to do a life style shoot at the beach. Early morning, at Ashdod's fort beach. This was really much more difficult to arrange and shoot, but the end results are well worth it. Also, I've learned a number of lessons for the future...

Models: Liora Finkelshtein, Or Jacob, Merav Weintrub
MUA: Mary Jane Kvantaliani
Styling: Zoe Simazki for Swans Moda

So the idea was simple enough: do a shoot at the beach for the end of summer (like always I wanted to do this since summer started but hadn't had the time until September). I didn't want to fall into the old worn out cliches: swimsuits at sunset at the beach, contrasty light from the flash/reflector, girls posing in the water. It seemed to me like it was done to death.

So how to innovate the summer shoot scene? First off I decided to go for life style shoot, with summer clothes and not swimsuits. I recently started following the work of John Schell (from Fstoppers) and I thought I would try to imitate draw inspiration from his style as far as I could.

The second idea I had somehow gotten into my head was utterly revolutionary... instead of taking sunset in the sea photos (like everyone else...) I would shoot at dawn, and take advantage of the good light that would face my models while they stand with their back to the sea...

So I contacted some models I had already worked with. Liora from May's photoshoot was happy to join us, and Or, whom I shot a couple of years ago at a winter photoshoot, even remembered who I was and said yes right away.

The third model that was supposed to join us (through facebook) eventually couldn't make it, and the girl that was supposed to replace her bailed the night before... but luckily Merav was spontaneous enough to jump in to replace her at a moment's notice.

This was only the beginning of trouble for organizing such a large team. The original stylist left the team due to creative differences (yes that happens, I was surprised also) and the make up artists both changed, until Mary joined us. She was supposed to bring a friend to help us get the make up going fast enough to not miss the sunrise, but he hadn't shown up and didn't answer his phone at 5 am when we came to pick him up.

Make up was done under LED flood lights until around 6:00 when it started getting brighter...

We did a set with Liora until Or was ready and then with Merav. Once the individual sets were done the real sunrise was already done, but the light was still good for another hour or so.

The beach we were shooting in was rather far from the regular bathing sites of Ashdod, and only a few people came to swim so early in the morning. There were a few surfers that happily lent us their boards for a quick shoot...

This was about the time that I came to realize that shooting life style, that is, spontaneous, non posed pictures of people, is a lot harder than I thought.

I mean, getting a model to pose for the camera, set up the light (reflector, flash, or just natural light) is something I already got the hang of, pretty much. But getting all that technical stuff right, and making sure the girls were posed in a flattering way and also looking natural like they were really just having fun at the beach... that's a lot harder.

Also, posing three models at the same time is way harder than it looks (Physicists call this the "three body problem"). Eventually, I got a few good, natural looking shots, and a lot of very good posed ones. I did want to challenge myself, after all...

Attempting to break the ice a little:

Some more goofing around and trying to make a photo of it:

 In this shot I had just asked Or to sit near the edge of the water, but not too close. This is exacly when a particularly large wave came up (and you can see the edge of it splashing her skirt on the left):

As for processing the images, I wanted to give them a consistent look and feel. The direction I was going was old color film, with low contrast and faded blue shadow areas.

In fact, I had brought my film camera and shot a few frames in between the digital shots. A couple of those images even made the cut into the images you see here. Can you spot the film frames out of the digital?

A few of the images required I give them a warmer tone, especially those with the early morning sun just showing up. Even then I tried to make the images look like they all came from the same film camera, only in varying light.

So we managed to get a few good looks, a few good processing styles, and quite a few outfits to show off this summer's collection by Zoe our stylist. Now all we need to do is find a new concept and location to shoot the winter collection...

You can find more images from the shoot (and more to be uploaded as I process them) at my facebook page...

If you liked the styling on this shoot make sure to check out Swans Moda and if you liked the make up work see  Mary's professional make up page.

See you all again for the Autumn / Winter collection!

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