Organising your own Fashion Shoot

In addition to providing commercial photography throughout Cheshire and the UK, I also like to keep my proverbial creative axe sharp by shooting personal projects when my schedule allows me to. Towards the end of last year I felt like I had been doing way too much work for other people and needed a creative photography boost. I had a good think about what I wanted to do and where I could do it and came up with an idea to do a unique fashion shoot, with some unique models, with unique styling in a unique location.

To start the project off I worked on securing the location and then took it from there. After some initial online research I settled on the fantastic Peckforton Castle Hotel (which I had visited a number of years ago when myself and my now wife were looking for possible wedding venues). After securing a deal with the hotel I went to work on assembling a team for the fashion shoot.

The concept that emerged from my planning was one of juxtaposition. The obvious thing to do once securing a medieval style castle would have been to go for some kind of historical or romantic theme so I purposely went against that and went for building some unique looks that you wouldn’t normally associate with such a location but with styling and images that wouldn’t clash too much as to not build a balanced look to the finished photography.

Using social networking I secured some from Emi Jewellery and KhuKhuz Fashion.  This helped me form the concept a little more in my mind and so I went through my contacts book looking for suitable models and MUAs that would be a good fit for this personal photography project.

Originally I put together a team of five (2 x MUA and 3 x Models) but as is often the case (unfortunately) with unpaid projects (all taking part were doing so in return for images) one of the MUAs and one model didn’t make it on the day. As a side note, if you are working on a TF (Time For) project I highly recommend you either book more people than you need or make sure you have a plan B (and sometimes plan C just to be sure).

Other than the no shows, the day of the shoot went really well, we got loads of looks and made the most of all of the individual locations throughout the hotel. We set out a plan whereby we would have 3 sets of shots with each model, starting with fairly simple looks and building it up to a more stylised look through the shoot. I worked with each model in turn so that while I was shooting one, the other was in make up and this worked really well and made the most of our time. As we were moving around the location fairly fluidly I wanted to keep things lightweight so I used a couple of speedlights with various simple modifiers and gels. This allowed me to be creative and change the look and feel of the shots but not spend too much time setting up each shot or carting stuff around.

The team worked great together and we ended up with loads of great images that everyone was able to put to use in their portfolios, look books and websites. A big thanks to all involved!

Photographer – Johnathan Clover
Make Up Artist – Samantha Gardner
Models – Jess Wilcock & Marianna Szomolay
Accessories – Emi Jewellery
Fashion Designer – Beryl Phala (Khu Khuz)