Photoshoots

Tips for Editorials

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A photoshoot I was involved in earlier this year was published last week in UK blog, Rock My Wedding. Seeing the results of the photoshoot was so awesome that it inspired me to write about my experience working on this editorial with a great team of other creatives. I’ve been doing photoshoots for two years now and found it’s a bit of a risk as a florist, as you have to invest both your time as well as a significant amount of fresh flowers. I’m not an expert on editorials but I wanted to share my experiences so far. I hope that my insights will help others, whether you’re a florist or wish to collaborate on a photoshoot in another way.

Creative vs Business

I sometimes struggle to balance my desire to be creative with the necessities of running a business. For example, I would much rather work on an imaginative project than update my online shop. If a fellow creative has an idea, or asks if I want to collaborate on a project, I often jump at the opportunity without considering how it might benefit my business. If you’re looking at producing pretty pictures to add to a non-existent portfolio, it’s probably not a bad thing, as we all have to start somewhere. But as a business owner, these opportunities need to be balanced with considering what you’ll achieve from the project, how much it’s going to cost, and whether you’ll get a return on investment (both time and money).

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Clear communication is very important

I’m really lucky to live in Canberra where there are so many talented creatives who are really supportive of each other. We have a system here called time for photography (TFP), where everyone contributes in-kind to a photoshoot (for example flowers, fashion, styling, photography). When the shoot is complete, we share the images and promise to promote each other’s work/business whenever the images are used. It’s a simple concept, but can sometimes be hard to honour (often unintentionally) when expectations and agreements haven’t been communicated properly.

For example, if you and the others are aiming for the images to be published in a blog or magazine, everyone needs to be clear and agree that the photographs can’t be shared on social media until after publication. This may take months and will require everyone to be patient, but it’s worth the wait—publishing a photograph that hasn’t been seen before on a platform that has a much wider audience reach can have a far great impact than one that’s already been shared through your own social media channels.

Every photographer is different

When I first needed to organise photoshoots to develop a portfolio of my work, I just asked anyone that did photography without thinking much about what I was looking for. Now I understand that knowing the style and skill of a photographer you’re working with is crucial. Just because someone knows how to use a camera, it doesn’t mean that they can achieve the style of photography you have in mind. Photographers are like painters—they have their own individual skill set, tendencies, strength, and speciality. And it affects everything. The way they see colour, capture moments, and frame a picture are all different, so it’s important to know what you want from the photoshoot and to choose a photographer who can help you achieve this aim.

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Having the right team

When I first met Garry from GC Photography, he said to me, “When you have a team of passionate people you can't fail, you can only succeed.” He was actually quoting Benjamin Von Wong, but Garry really believes in that saying too so it could just as well have been his quote. I’ve learnt that it also helps when this team of passionate people shares a creative view and direction. The recent photoshoot in Rock my Wedding was a perfect example of this. As a florist, I couldn’t really help to ‘run the shoot’ as arranging and styling the flowers was a huge task that required a lot of preparation both before and during the shoot. I was also the main point of contact between the venue and the creative team, so I didn’t have a lot of time to spare. But my main partners on this shoot were Miss Gen Photography and Vicky from Rockstars and Royalty. I’d worked with them both before and knew I could rely on them to produce an end result of amazing quality. Vicky did a wonderful job recruiting the rest of the crew, all experts in their field (styling, stationery, models, hair, make-up), as well as being the firm voice to ensure that we stayed focused on the look that we wanted (it can often be easy to get swayed into trying new ideas).

With photographers, I sometimes need to ask them to take particular shots of flowers for me, but this wasn’t the case with Miss Gen. As she’s an extremely experienced photographer, I trusted her to showcase my work in the best way possible. I was therefore able to relax and continue working in the background on a last minute flower crown for the second look. The hair and make-up team did an amazing job matching everything. For example, in the picture below, Ashlea’s lipstick is the exact same colour as the deep red dahlia. Angelina’s hair was teased like crazy so it looked amazing with the massive flower crown I made. The gold sequinned dress matched the glittering props, cakes, and stationery on the table. Every choice was planned and deliberate, and to me that makes a world of difference in the quality of a shoot.

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The big day 

I don’t know how everyone else found the day of the photoshoot, for me it was stressful but fun. The day was tightly scheduled and we all made sure we knew what was coming next and what our end goal was. This turned out to be very important, as the weather wasn’t what we had hoped. But we knew what things couldn’t be changed and where we had room to improvise to achieve our aims.

Believe it or not, these photos are only half the shoot. We shot another set of photos in a different theme later on that afternoon, so it was a huge day to say the least. Vicky had three costume changes with five models and I was still arranging flowers and keeping a close eye on the weather while everything else was going on. I’m really proud of what we did as a team on this editorial. A good photoshoot really is never just a fluke, it’s a result of hard work and a great team with the same vision. I’d love to hear what others think about what I’ve shared, and to hear about your own experiences with photoshoots as well.

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Credits:

Photography: Miss Gen Photography

Dresses / Creative Director: Rockstars & Royalty

Flowers: Peony N Pearl

Venue & Food: Pialligo Estate

Styling & Dessert table : Swish Vintage Canberra

Stationary: Invitations by Melita

Hair: Dilkara Essence of Australia

Make up: Jacqui Scott MUA

Suit: Braddon Tailors

Models: Ashlea Perry, Matthew Gambrill and Angelina Leljak from Devojka Models 

Shower in Blooms Photoshoot

thought I know what it means to have passion in something, and then I met Garry Chiu of GC photography- and now I don't know what that word means anymore.Garry somehow found me and contacted me via facebook back in December to see if I was interested for a shoot. I replied straight away saying yes! We somehow got chatting away about 2 photographers that we happen to both know and love (Kirsty Mitchell and Von Wong). Garry is one of those people who has so much character that his personality is transparent even from chatting, so we got along really well before we've even met!

Christmas and New Year came not long after so I took the holiday period to really recuperate from a year of madness while Garry went ahead and pretty much organized everything. Sure enough a few days before I flew back to Australia I checked my facebook and Garry has got a team ready waiting for me. Garry relied on me for theme and ideas so pressure's on. Thankfully Canberra happen to have a lot of rain that week so one night while I was sitting on my bed with my pencil and paper I just happen to come up with a title "Shower in Blooms" And the imagination flows from there.

I really wanted to incorporate my flowers and wire work in 1 image so I decided to design my very first wired head piece and a peir of flower crystal earrings to go with it.

We had the shoot on Saturday 7th of February, which happen to be a very busy day for me. I had to deliver flowers for a wedding at 2:30pm and set up for my first bridal expo before 4pm. And so the shoot will have to finish at 1:30pm the latest.

I made everyone come to my house for the shoot so that I can keep all the flowers that I needed in the flower fridge- and everyone graciously did. There were definitely a lot of coffee being made and handed around the house. I woke up at 4:30am to work on the flowers of the head piece. I decided not to do it any earlier because out of all flowers, I find that blue flowers are the most fragile.

The only person that I have ever worked with is Marie Donnell from Myshairdesign - I adore Marie, and I'm so happy that she's able to do Paris's make up. Paris was my first preferance for model because of her captivating blue eyes. So when first Garry told me that we got her I was pretty ecstatic. Erika, Paris's mum was with us the whole time. Us kids cant function without her. She got us props, helped Paris to take her for dress fitting provided by Vicky from Rockstars and Royalty, and a steam iron last minute. And then there's my husband, Greg who loves people and stayed with us all throughout the shoot helping us doing small odd things that makes a huge difference.

After we finished prettying up Paris, I suddenly realized that she looked like Elsa from Frozen- which is ironic because I don't like Frozen at all. Marie even braided her hair so she looks like Elsa even more! Is it possible that my dislike for frozen is so apparent that I decided to subconsciously created one in real life??? And because I also dislike the soundtrack we started singing "Let it Go". I guess I was so happy and excited at the time I didn't really care.

Shooting was so much fun. Garry connected his SLR to his laptop so that we can see the photos that he took on LightRoom and comment as he shoots away. He took a lot of really funny ones and also told us a lot of really funny stories. Greg's brother Luke, is living with us at the moment. He reported that he heard more laughing than "the clicking of cameras" (his words) coming from downstairs. That's probably about right. We weren't the most efficient bunch, but we most certainly are a creative bunch that managed experiment a few different things.

After taking enough beauty shots to our hearts content, we tried this trick that Garry has been wanting to try called "Glam the Dress". That is when Erika and I lift up the outer layer of Paris's dress on either size, and dropped it on queue- and then it look like her dress is being blown! In this photo my fingers accidentally got caught on the dress so I flicked it instead of dropping it- but it ended up being one of our favorite!

And then because the title of this shoot is "Shower in Blooms" we also tried throwing petals around Paris so it looks like she is posing in a rain of petals . It was my idea, but none of us really know how to achieve it. So the first time tried it, Erika literally threw a bunch of petals on Paris's face- it was hilarious! We had a really good laugh out of that, but then we manage to do it again out of confusion. I guess we have to start from somewhere!

We tried throwing petals in different ways while Marie was concentrating on the photographs that appears on the laptop and constantly giving us feedback on what works and what doesn't. We finally manage to pull this photo out of a few experiments. Pretty amazing right? What we did was, Erika and me are throwing petals on either side of Paris from below. Greg also threw petals from in front of Paris but just lightly so it doesn't reach to her face. Even when the petals are being thrown from below, it still looks like it's falling from above on camera.

So that was it! It was a huge day for me and felt like I've achieved a lot to last me awhile. I found a lot of things that I need to improve on from this experience. And the one thing that I am most proud of (apart from producing these amazing images with a kick ass team) is actually how I managed to keep the flowers alive all throughout the shoot. Meanwhile, Garry, Marie and Paris went away and did like another 5 other shoots in the next 10 days. You just can't limit love and passion combined together. I hope you are inspired by these ideas and images!

Fionna