I learned that working with models can be tricky and tiring, but super rewarding if you do it right. Depending on the type of photograph you’re trying to do. Nowadays, it is easy to contact a model; Instagram is great for sending direct messages; and of course, Facebook is great if you join groups. Once you have a few shoots, you can approach a model agency for testing. These days, however, they are a lot more picky about who they use and they tend to like a similar style. However, many give new photographers access to their new faces so collaboration is really possible at this point.
The King of Silks in Soho
Creating pieces of Art to sell Silk
I was approached by a Manchester-based company that had opened a store in Soho London and wanted a range of artwork that would celebrate not just the brand but the colourful and vibrant silk range that they were now creating for a range of clients including La Sensa and Agent Provocateur. The images had to be strong and striking but not just a straight fashion shot. They had seen some of my composites and decided that this would be the best route for them if they could find a story that linked them together.
Fashion Photographers Blog and the approach finalised we were all to meet in Manchester for a 2 day shoot where I would run through the ideas with the team. Once again we were presented with very sketchy plans and visuals and it was up to me to interpret these as we went along most of this was verbalised as we shot and would then create the vision.
Our approach was for the shoot.
We were trying to achieve 4 shots in a day, which sounds as though it should be fine but in some shots, the model needed body paint and we also had to set up shots with props. There is also a certain amount of time you need to build in for problem-solving and things that don’t go according to plan. The biggest problem for me was one or two of the models and in the nicest way possible, they just weren’t the right choice for this particular job, however, the client insisted that I use them and so I did.
Having shot the raw files on the Hasselblad the quality was there however due to this perfect quality of capture the real issue would be in the retouching due to one of the model’s skin imperfections and I mean not the odd blemish but full-on acne. Lighting would need to be directional but diffused, this would be just perfect, but I had to bear in mind not just the retouching but also the main tasks, post-production and composite.
Problem-solving on the fly is the game
Having dealt throughout the day with the problems that normally arise i managed with my team to create the 8 looks needed in the raw which would be taken back to base for the retouching. There was still one shot that they required and it involved the red ribbon and the target as shown in the image above. What I love is how sometimes you think that the job is done and you are about to pack up when guess what, there is always one other shot that needs to be covered.
Now I don’t mind covering the shot and keeping clients happy as this is how you wind business and keep it. You have to be seen to be helpful and make sure you get it all covered as it is a costly job to set it all up again.
Being fair but also keeping it strictly business
I will accommodate my client’s wishes as much as I can and will always go out of my way to do this because guess what you are only as good as your last job or whatever your client says about you to others as in this game it’s a small world. If there is a reason that it can’t all be completed then there should be a good reason or compromise.
We have found at NADER when working with the client, making clear statements as to what each needs from the shoot and by when is always the best way forward. Clear guidelines with a built-in contingency from our point of view but also meeting the client’s expectations.
We carried on into the night to capture the shot and make sure the client had exactly what they needed and needless to say after this there were many days of post-production. I think in total around 8 to complete. Each image was made up of approximately 25 layers to create the look at the end of each composite the image runs through a colour grading process and is then saved out into the relevant files. With the German companies, they seem to always want Tiff RGB for the Hexachrome or 5 colour process which is more costly however in the UK CMYK is the norm or supplies res Tiff files for clients to use them as needed. All files are either delivered via WeTransfer or our own server via FTP