The final shoot for the weekend was to help out Grace Krishnan who is an Upper Hutt makeup artist. She has realised that in her portfolio she did not have any wedding makeup images, and given that weddings is actually one of the few areas where makeup artists can actually earn a living they were essential.
I dropped off a wedding dress that I had purchased for a “trash the dress” shoot and Grace found a model. She arranged to meet with the model at 2.00pm and I would arrive at 4.00pm. The original plan was to shoot at Percy’s Reserve in Lower Hutt and then down at Petone beach.
Unfortunately events conspired to work against us. When they put the dress on the model (Jade) they discovered that it did not fit properly and secondly was completely out of style. So they went off to the local SaveMart store and managed to buy another one for $24.00.
That trip however put the whole shoot behind schedule, and given that the light was much better in Upper Hutt than Lower Hutt we entered up shooting down by the river. As the light was quite dull we used a mix of techniques. For some a bare off camera flash was bounced off a gold reflector to give the impression of a warm afternoon glow. For others I put the flash in a Softbox positioned on the end of monopod and held high in the general direction of where the sun should have been.
Some years ago I found a very special little waterfall and pool beside a walk in Upper Hutt. I just knew that it would be great for a shoot. My vision was to shoot a model in flowing fabric where what she was wearing and the water would meld into a single image. Knowing that the water would be fairly cool I always reserved this shoot for Summer but had never been successful in finding someone willing to take part.
That changed this year when a Facebook group was set up specifically for models, makeup artists and photographers who wanted to collaborate on projects. I took a punt and posted the shot I had of the location and was absolutely blown away with the response. Something with the concept and location touched the right cord and within hours I had lots of models to choose from. That resulted in me developing the idea from a single shoot into two with the second using two models. As I had planned to extend Waitangi day holiday into the weekend I planned the first shoot for Friday (7th) and the second shoot for the Sunday.
One of the first models to approach me was Ashleigh-Jane who happened to live in Upper Hutt so she was offered the Friday shoot. She had recently done a shoot with another Wellington photographer that I know so I was given a good reference.
With my models I do try to meet up with them in a public place beforehand as I find that this removes a lot of nerves from the shoot itself. We did this and it was obvious that Ashleigh-Jane had thought about the shoot. After deciding that the original choice of material would not suit her complexion she left with a length on fabric that she was going to create a gown from. To ease her comfort I was happy for her to bring along a friend. You can image my surprize when the friend turned out to be Issy who was one of the finalist in the New Zealand Top Model contest. She had shot with some of the top photographers in the country, so you can imagine there was a certain nervousness on how I would measure up.
The day was perfect and the whole shoot went really well, apart from me slipping on a rock and coming away with a few grazes. We started on the rocks and then like a professional she moved into the water and then in the pool at the base of the falls. She was not concerned about the cold but was a little worried as to whether the stream had any eels in it. The location has really nice lighting at the top but was a little dark once we moved to the lower pool. This was easily remedied by getting Issy to use a reflector and shine it into the area. We used the gold side to create a very warm light.
The genesis for this workshop came out of the blue when I received an email from an American model Brynn Cook who was visiting New Zealand and basically funding part of her trip by doing shoots on the weekend. Now I do not normally pay for models, but Brynn was stunning and I thought it was a great opportunity to organise a group shoot with a number of others.
In the end 5 photographers took part. I took the role of co-ordinator/timekeeper so that everyone had a fair run at the lights.
Brynn was an absolute professional and helped put the others with suggested poses.
What was really funny was that when we started I thought I would have to cast lots to select the order as I had assumed everyone would want to go first. In fact the opposite happened and I had to choose the order.