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Back in early November I shot some images for an album cover. Rachelle found my work through good ol’ Google, and emailed me for a quote and to chat about what she wanted (we later discovered we have quite a few mutual friends). Once the quote was settled, I suggested we meet in person to discuss how she wanted to approach the images. Having played music in the past and gone through the process of recording an album with a band, I know you want to be sure to convey the right image. So we set up a time to meet, and I began the research process.

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Whenever someone books me for a shoot, I do a lot of research. Whether that be research on them or image research. For this shoot I took a look at quite a few album covers and photos that had been done for musicians for press as well. I also wanted to get to know Rachelle as a person which is why I wanted to meet with her. I think it’s important to portray yourself not only as who you are, but also as you want people to see you. That last part is very important for musicians. Many musicians portray a certain image and that becomes their persona and how they are viewed within the industry.

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The images we shot will be used for Rachelle’s demo album. Where it’s a demo, the album art usually stays pretty simple so she chose 2 images to be used for it (neither of those 2 are shown here as we want to keep you in suspense). She came to my studio for a meeting and we chatted for a while, getting to know each other. I wanted the images to show her personality, I didn’t want to get into the business conversation right away. We talked about everything from music to One Tree Hill (that’s as much of that story that you’re getting, haha). We talked about life and eventually moved the conversation to what she wanted out of the images. I asked her some questions about the stage person she wanted to portray, what type of music she was writing and how she wanted to final product to look.

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I had her send me a link to where I could hear her sing, and I was floored. THIS GIRL CAN SING! She sent me a link of her covering a Coldplay song (Fix You) and instantly I thought, “this is really good, but that song doesn’t suit her voice”. I just didn’t think that song showcased her voice to it’s full potential. So at the end of our meeting I kind of surprised her, I had brought my guitar along. So I said, “how about you sing a song or 2, so I can get a feel for your voice”. I did this for 2 reasons, 1)I wanted to hear her voice in person, and see the emotion she had while singing 2)I wanted her to feel comfortable with me, comfortable enough to sing. The second reason was so that when it came time for our shoot she would feel that much more comfortable with me as a photographer. I could tell this took her by surprise, and I could see her getting a bit nervous. Which was exactly what I wanted. I wanted that nervous energy.

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When I used to play in the band we used to cover the same Coldplay song she sent me, so I suggested we play that. Little did she know I was way more nervous than she was, as I hadn’t played in months and was nervous to play. After we finished that song I asked her if she ever sang any Adele songs. She said she did, but only for herself and for her father. It took a bit of convincing but I got her to sing “Someone Like You”, now this is where I really got nervous. I had never played that song before, so I quickly printed off the tab, gave a listen to the start of the song and off we went. This is where I saw her persona and passion come through. As she sang I periodically got chills as she moved effortlessly from note to note (I was happy I didn’t really mess up the playing). We chatted a bit more (I think our meeting went for about 2hrs, which flew by), set a date for the shoot, and then continued chatting over email about small details until the day of the shoot.

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We decided we would do one studio look and one on location. I had decided on a location, and mentally prepped myself doe it. Then something happened… When my wife dropped me off at the studio on the morning of the shoot, I just happened to notice a location that would work perfectly for what I had in mind. I wanted something very bright and happy (color wise) to echo her personality. Sometimes things just work out the way you want. We selected the wardrobe and headed outside for the location images. As we were shooting, Bonnie, the make-up artist, suggested we use her leather coat. What a wonderful suggestion and Rachelle ended up choosing an image with that coat for her cover.

Sometimes you can control every aspect of a shoot and things will work exactly the way you want. Sometimes you have to keep your eyes and ears open because there may be something better waiting right in front of you. Bonnie could have worn a different jacket that day, and I could have been dropped off in a different place and not seen this location. You always have to be ready to change your ideas if something better comes along.

Check out Rachelle’s YouTube channel here, she plans to release her demo in the spring (I can’t wait to hear it)

Makeup by: Bonnie Dilag

Hair By: Jennifer Duguay

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