If you read my post where I was testing the ringflash, you know I talked about heading to Halifax for a fairly big shoot for a makeup artist.
I met Craig MacMillian at Atlantic Fashion Week where he was the lead make-up artist. We chatted a bit about doing a shoot and he said he had an idea of doing a fairly big shoot with about 20 models over 3 days. 3 days of intensive shooting, with signed agency models, with a full hair, makeup & wardrobe team. I was salivating… A few weeks after fashion week he sent me an email with a few details for the shoot. He was hiring me to come down and shoot for his make-up portfolio. I travelled down to Halifax about 2 weeks before the shoot to have a look at the locations he had selected, and to see the models who had come out for the model call.
After seeing the locations he had selected, meeting the models, and hearing Craig’s ideas for the concepts, I was extremely excited for this shoot. I knew I wanted to have many lighting possibilities so I borrowed some gear from a few photographer friends of mine (big thank you to them, I’m very lucky to be able to borrow and not have to rent).
I used more lighting setups in those 3 days than I probably have during the rest of my career. Now with that said I’m not one to use 4/5/6 light setups anyway. And really, I think the most lights I used in a single set-up was 4, although we shot so many looks I don’t really remember. I brought every type of modifier with me I could: softboxes (big and small), octaboxes, stripbanks, grids, many different umbrellas, I was going to be sure that I didn’t get in a “damn I wish I had a ______ for this shot” type of situation.
So I loaded up the car and headed down to Halifax the night before our first shoot day. I was extremely well prepared. I knew the types of set-ups I wanted to use, I knew which parts of the locations I would focus on, I knew the types of shots and poses I was planning to do. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of set-ups we were going to end up doing.
In the end we worked for at least 15 hours a day, 3 straight days, and we shot 68 different looks. When I say “different looks”, I mean different hair or makeup but definitely different wardrobe and a different setting. This also usually meant a different setup. While I did recycle setups over the 3 day period I would always modify it somewhat.
I was fortunate to work with some of the models from City Models, who all have quite a bit of experience under their belt. Moving from shoot to shoot was totally seamless and despite the fact that I had never worked with any of these models before, everything went smoother than I could have ever hoped. I vividly remember the shoot that yielded the above image (in the gold dress) it lasted all of 10 minutes. I fired off about 50-60 frames and that was it. The model (Tamara) locked in and made my job extremely easy.
To be totally honest by the last half of the last day, I was starting to run out of ideas for locations and lighting. I had a small break mid-afternoon so I took that time to really think over the rest of the shoots. The last day we shot roughly 30 different looks, and they were all to be shot in the same location. I wanted to be sure that aspect of the shoot wouldn’t be obvious. I’m always trying to give the images a different look, whether it’s in the same location or not.
I usually don’t get too nervous before these types of shoots, but the size of this one made me a nervous wreck the night before. I hardly slept as all I could think about was how I was going to light the shots.
The 3 days flew by and everything went extremely smooth. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I had an absolute blast. I had the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented people (models, makeup artists, hair stylists and designers). A good portion of images from these shoots will be going into my portfolio I’m in the process of creating.
Anytime I look back on a shoot there are always things I think I would do differently. Whether that be lighting, composition, usage of the location, etc. Sure there are a few things I would do differently, bringing an assistant next time and write down the setups I used for instance, but overall I am extremely happy with the images.
I had an extremely difficult time selecting which images to use for this post so please visit my Facebook Page where you can view more images from the shoot. I will be adding more as the weeks go on, and be sure to click the “like” button while you’re there. The experience I have taken away from this shoot is incredible, I’m really looking forward to doing another shoot like this sooner than later.
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Make-up artist – Craig MacMillan
Assistant makeup artist – Heidi DeBoer
Hair – Marilyn Rose, Matthew Scott, Sheila Simon, Jane Rudolph (credits not specific to certain images)
All models, except the model in the 3rd image, are represented by: City Models