SingaporeBrides Paris Behind the Scenes

Saturday, December 19, 2009

For some odd reasons the frequency of encountering rain is super high when I shoot outdoors whether in Singapore or overseas. It's something a couple of my editors had been commenting on excessively this year, and at one point I was blamed for bringing rain on shopping days upon my touch-down. D:

Right, if I could reeaaaaally make rain... hurhurr.

But frankly, I'm not really one to complain about it.

Rainy days do make shootings more difficult, but I find gloomy skies wonderful.

And when it rains, everything starts to catch light and become reflective, I think that in itself adds a beautiful touch to an image.

I lost a lot of sleep during the stressful 3-4 weeks of planning.

The Parisian model agencies my editor was speaking to were really unresponsive, and I had became skeptical of working with people on first contact out of fear for the unreliability of a new person. It happened too many times when I was in Europe -- hair/makeup/models not turning up, cancelling a day before shoot, etc. We had planned so much with regards to the locations and styling I just couldn't risk it, having limited days in Paris.

Eventually we found a good management from the Netherlands for the model, and I had Andrea Perry-Bevan, whom I worked with in Manchester about half a year prior, to fly in for the hair and makeup.

All this was done whilst preparing for a campaign for Orchard Central, shot on the day I was due to take off. I quite literally went to the studio with my luggage and stuff so I could head for the airport straight after.

I arrived in Paris on a Saturday morning, had a meetup with some local fans from facebook at Six Huit before moving on to drop my luggage off and start the location recceing.

We were scheduled to shoot two days, one on location indoors and one outdoors. To put it simply, it just translates to a hell lot of recce work.

Unfortunately, we didn't accomplish that much in the end on Saturday, with my jet-lag kicking in and being exhausted from the last shoot and all. And the places we went just weren't satisfactory.

We continued on Sunday. Places to places. The final decision for the indoor location was a really old hotel with gothic furniture from the 16th century. It was small, but splendid. I stayed a night in the room after the shoot since it was paid for. :D

It was really funny when I met up with the chief editor of Gothic & Lolita Bible a few days later, to find out that she was staying in that very place during her visit. We two were going on and on about this "awesome gothic hotel" we each knew, and then suddenly someone else asked the name, and we realized it was the very same one! Hahahaha.

Monday we moved on to check out potential outdoor locations. I wanted to cover notable places and we narrowed the list down to: Arc de Triomphe, Pont Alexandre III, Eiffel Tower, Lourve, Sacré Cœur and Notre Dame.

That night Andrea was dropped off at the wrong hotel, we had a huge scare waiting, but she found her way eventually.

With all things in order we were more or less set for the shoot the next two days.

Tuesday morning our model Anne arrived from Amsterdam. The team waited for her at the hotel while Andrea and I went flower shopping. It ate a lot of time from the morning but it's a component I can just never seem leave to someone else to do.

The entire shoot was done with natural light that came in through the windows.

I am fortunate enough in the sense that SingaporeBrides always allows me the maximum freedom in direction, so I can have my own lighting and mood and expression down to the smallest details in each photograph.

Of course I do discuss with the editor on my plans, concepts and directions, but because of how flexible they are while knowing what's acceptable and not for their own direction (many times I think clients don't know what they don't want), I find that I create some of the best editorial images with and for them (aside from maybe Bazaar, which works pretty much the same and similarly the quality of results).

On the second day rain came around mid-day. It wasn't heavy, but enough for us to need umbrellas. I was prepared with a parasol I'd bought from Korea 5 years ago for the very purpose of photo-taking. =D

And so my assistants held makeup items and umbrellas for Andrea and me, and we continued shooting that way in the rain till the end.

There're quite a few outtakes from the shoot I love that couldn't work in the editorial as a set, however, I hope I'd be able to revisit them one day~

I really enjoyed working on this and I hope everyone like the images. Now I shall be off to do my packing for Tokyo. Though actually, I don't have much to pack aside from a kimono for new year's eve, seeing as how I haven't unpacked from Lijiang. Hahahaha.


Yamabuki said...

Thanks for posting the great pictures

The darkness and water add a wonderful gothic feel.

I know what you mean about bringing the rain. I have an old african rain stick. If I so much as pick it up we get rain here.

I think some people are water people and have a connection to rain.

Hope you have recovered from sunburn and have a good Christmas and New Years.


Maria Olshevska said...

Well despite all the stress, to me it seems like the photos came out great. Way to be prepared and keep it all together=)

Christina ♪ said...

Lovely photos!~

The gothic hotel sounds great! I hope I can go there one day.

Sahakiel said...

I love seeing the world through your eyes; it's wonderful! Your art is gorgeous, seriously!
I hope you'll have a great Christmas and lovely New Year :)

Chica Especial said...

Your English is soooo good! *envies*


thank you for this diary entry. let me say something about the room at the hotel; something I didn't like was that you could see the plastic flowerpot. I would have put it inside a ceramic or, even better, wrought iron flowerpot. The flowers are great, though ^^ I understand that with so many things to put together, you can't control every single deatail.

but of course, congrats for this great photoshot!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing about what goes behind each photograph. =)

Many a times, people are prone to thinking that a job like yours is as simple as clicking a button, cause what goes behind really do stays hidden.

Do share more of such posts!

Julia Appelgren said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences! You should be grateful for the freedom your client gave you. I have experienced quite the opposite - my client was with me while shooting and the directions given were totally against the way I wanted to shoot.

I think you did a wonderful job on that editorial!

himiko said...

woow lovely photos!! <3

TabzChewy said...

even though you seemed to have a stressful shoot, your pictures are beautiful (again! I say this so many times that I worry that you get sick of reading it...)

Could you tell us the name of the hotel you stayed at? I have some friends in Europe right now, and I'm sure they'd love to take a look...

dreamtomatoes said...

Wahh! I loved this post! So many pictures and very behind the scenes. =]
I hope you have a great time in Tokyo! Also, your postcards arrived in the mail today. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!! x]
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

hermithole said...

Your behind the scenes shots could totally work as separate photos.

Such a busy and fulfilling life you lead. <3

Steampunk Oni said...

Hey Z, thanks for sharing your projects with us, I always enjoy seeing where you're going to end up shooting next. Your photos give me alot of inspiration. I'm not sure if you're aware of this yet, but your Singapore Brides Photoshoot is a Behind the Scenes Video as well.

It's very exciting to see you working your photo magic. Keep up the awesome work!

Dannyjive said...

How do your models change clothes? Do you have a designated area or do they just change in local bathrooms? I ask because I'm starting to do fashion photography and often encounter issues with finding good/safe places for models to change. Especially on outdoor shoots.

Naomi66 said...

Hope you had fun in Tokyo during New Year's Eve, and would love to see the picture of you in Kimono. =)

Andy King said...

The Paris photos are gorgeous! I'm in awe!
Did you have to get permission to shoot? I was in Paris a few days ago in order to shoot some photos for my portfolio, but got almost arrested (and my camera almost confiscated) for taking photos! We had to go around looking for places to shoot and everytime we stopped, we had to be escorted! Even in streets! At one point there were six security guards after us. I'm still shocked and amazed at the enthusiasm and rudeness of the guards. If only they could be as energetic in catching criminals. I tried to explain it was non-profit but they wouldn't believe us.
I can't believe photography is becoming illegal in so many cities.