During the Restart The Art exhibition a couple of weeks ago, I got to chat with the lovely Fiona Hepher, who’s a part of The Sameness Project team (if you guys are interested in seeing pictures from the exhibition, check out my Facebook page). I decided to ask her if she’d be interested in modeling for me, and to my surprise she said yes. I was surprised because I know that the kind of work I do isn’t for everyone, and I’m pretty sure there are lots of people out there who don’t enjoy getting dirty, muddy, or wet. And walking around beaches in big dresses.
Anyway! So a couple of days later I talked to her about an idea I have that I thought she’d be perfect for and we decided to get together on a saturday and shoot. I was so excited about the idea, I went out and bought all the props I needed ahead of time (spoiler alert: the idea didn’t work). But I thought that since I have her for a whole day I might as well do more than one shoot. It was such an awesome day.
We got to our location a little too early so we hung out for a while, then I took some test shots to see if I could start shooting with the sun still up. I knew I wanted sunset light, but I also didn’t want to wait too long then not have enough time to do the other two images I had in mind.
The first image I shot was something that I thought of as sort of a challenge. I wanted to try something I normally wouldn’t do, when it came to both concept and editing style. I wanted to portray how strength and hope come from within, and that it even if everything around us is dead or lifeless, we can still create our own reality, we can still let hope grow. In a way, to me it’s also kind of a “fake it till you make it” thing. If you have to, pretend everything is okay until it really is. Make-believe until the darkness disappears. But this time, I wanted to show that in a more positive (or “pretty”) way. And I normally don’t like the color pink. I always prefer grey and desaturated blue tones, but I wanted to try something new. I knew that I would get pinks and oranges because it was gonna be a sunset scene, but I thought I would just desaturate the colors. When I started editing though, I just really liked the colors so I decided to keep them.
I also made a speed-edit video for this. But unfortunately, I couldn’t record everything. The file kept getting heavier and heavier (by the end, it was around 6GB) and my laptop just couldn’t handle that and keep recording my screen. A lot of it is in there though. What isn’t is mainly some skin retouching, and overall coloring and textures. I also went back to the image after I thought I was done because there were SO many masking mistakes with the plants.
I’ve learned so much from this shoot. I even wrote down a bunch of notes of mistakes I made just so I wouldn’t make them next time I shoot someone, like:
– I forget that my camera should be locked down once I have the framing right – STOP CHANGING POSITIONS (moving the tripod/panning). Mark the model’s spot and ask her NOT to move. Lock focus, but keep checking that the model didn’t move and that pictures are in focus (this has been happening to me so much lately, I think I need to get my eyes checked (and I already wear glasses), I do a shoot and halfway through I realize it wasn’t in focus).
– Compromising the pose because it’s hard to explain what I want (PRACTICE the pose beforehand in front of a mirror, maybe even take a picture doing the pose and show the model).
So after that shoot, we managed to do one more shoot (which I’m still working on) and I thought you know what? We can do the third shoot (which was the main idea I told Fiona about). It was gonna be by the beach and I needed Fiona to get into the water. I also poured some paint on the nightgown she was wearing.. We were losing light SO fast – I think it might’ve been a little too ambitious to plan three shoots for one day.
I still can’t believe she let me make her look like she escaped from a mental institute. The paint here looks like blood (which wasn’t intended), and I also tried to give her bloodshot eyes. I got her into the water and started taking some test shots, then realized it’s just not going to work. I forgot that I had my ISO on Auto so when I checked the first few test shots I saw that it went up to 12800. Not good. I tried to shoot at 1200, but it was too dark. And Fiona was in the water the whole time I was doing my tests :’) sorry Fiona! ❤ in the end, we gave up on the last shoot and left. But it was still an awesome day and I had SO much fun. Fiona’s such an inspiring and cool person, and I can’t wait to shoot her again (if she’ll let me! hehe)