I have been working with RMT Management for the past few months, working with their emerging models on a fashion workshop once every couple of months. These sessions are designed to give models an affordable and 'secure' access to experiencing studio work whilst adding to their range of images for their portfolios. We started working with extremely simple set-ups to give models 2 different looks in a session - a casual 'jeans and T-shirt' look, and a more fashion look - both on clean and simple backgrounds. Here are a couple of examples of the early looks we explored ::
The team involved in the sessions include myself as photographer, Angie from RMT as coordinator and stylist, and Melissa Nicole Hair & Makeup. We reviewed our outcomes after the first 3 sessions, and decided to take a slightly different route for the second look images - the full-length white background shots just didn't offer the models, who are often in-experienced, any support in terms of poses or character 'motivation' (not that it's necessary, but without the confidence that comes with experience, it is hard to hang-loose in the space and not look awkward).
For our first 'concept' we worked with a winter theme. Without any kind of budget (the model fees don't even cover our expenses), we had to come up with something accessible. I had just done a trip interstate for a photography festival and had picked up some tumbleweed on the SA-VIC road on the way home. I suggested we use the tumbleweed and my smoke machine to create a wintery and stark mood, and the idea of using branches emerged as another prop. At first I imagined the shots against a white background, but in the end we thought a dark background might work better with the clothing and winter aesthetic. Here are some of the outcomes from that shoot ::
The tumbleweed worked well-ish but definitely not as I had pre-visualised, and consequently many of our selected shots didn't feature these fascinating objects. Here are a few shots that were dragged off the cutting-room floor for this blog - I still quite like them.
You can see from the setup that I used a blue gel on the rim light for the main setup. and when shooting from a side angle towards the white background and cyc, it gives a really different look. The lighting was reasonably simple, using a large 1x1m softbox as the main light, with fill from below and a kicker from behind. We varied the level of fog for variety. The background is a Matte blackboard paint for most of these images.
Here are some of the plain background shots for these models..
Latest shoot :: RMT Fashion #5
We found that having a theme / concept and something for the models to do / interact with was definitely a positive experience and provided more interesting outcomes for both the creative team and the models. So for our most recent shoot we thought we'd work with a different background - newspaper, and splashes of colour. Again, with no budget for styling we needed to be practical. However we did have the huge benefit of a stylist who came in to help the models with their wardrobe styling, as well as ideas for props. I feel that having the fabulous MazMis on this shoot took it to a different level.
We were all surprised to find that newspaper is actually very colourful (we had envisaged B&W) and that the background was really too busy. We ended up really simplifying the props, stripping back from the colourful furniture we had planned, and using just small, simple props. Here are some of the outcomes. For comparison I have placed the 'straight' look below each model to see what kind of versatility we can get from each person.
I had to mask out the newspaper background and drop the saturation to 0 (also dropped the clarity) to help maintain the original concept - I think it may look too over-done though. I still have bits of blu-tack all over one of my studio walls, but I am generally pleased with the outcome of the shoot. I have to say, these models were absolutely amazing - helping with the backdrop and being really open to playing. My initial poses were a bit stilted until Angie came in to ask for more movement - once we got that brief we were off, playing with lots of ideas and working with the 'indecisive moment' - allowing models to move and play with the objects - also throwing ideas around and getting more involved with the images. It also made a big difference to have an assistant for this shoot - Chris was brilliant to help with suggestions and a few laughs to help everyone feel relaxed.