Shooting Fashion Students

For one of our final units, we were given the chance to work with actual clients (well, when I say ‘clients’, I mean the second year fashion students) in order to organise a fashion shoot and produce images from this that satisfied the client and the fulfilled  the brief, wants and needs of the people involved. This required us as photographers to be very professional, accommodating and organised, including having to draw up, provide and sign contracts and release forms etc.

When first meeting the fashion students, I got talking to two girls called Emilie and Joana, who had similar inspirations (art deco – think ‘The Great Gatsby’ and the Roaring 20’s), ideas and visions for their individual garments and were wanting a collaboration for their shoots and thus an idea of what type of shoot they wanted. As there was two of them, a fellow photographer Sabrina joined the conversation and we landed on a pretty sweet deal for everyone involved: Sabrina and I would each undertake a fashion shoot, taking photos of both girls garments. However, my shoot would be on location and Sabrina’s would be in the studio. This worked perfectly for the clients as it meant that they would receive double the amount of images, both shot in different places and in different styles!

Now all I had to do was figure out  location for my shoot! After talking to Emilie and Joana, they wanted somewhere quite industrial, with buildings around it as that would suit the style of their garments and bolster the ‘art-deco’ feel they wanted their dresses to emanate; very bold and graphic. A few places ran through my head; The city, Canary Wharf but then amazingly, the very next day a fellow student showed me a photo of a place in Chiswick that met all the criteria I was looking for perfectly!

The location was a mirror labyrinth (designed and installed by Jeppe Hein) in Chiswick Business Park and after running this by Emilie and Joana (who loved the idea) we decided on a date for the shoot and discussed who would be in charge of styling the models etc and the types of photographs that they wanted of their garments (i.e.: full length, close up, different angles etc).

Everything was set and ready to go, but as always in the working world, people change their mind and disasters occur. Both of which happened to me.. Emilie and Joana changed the date of the shoot around (twice!) as their dresses were not ready and then the day before the shoot, Joana’s model broke her shoulder and despite running around and trying to find a replacement model, we were unsuccessful and Joana had to model her own garment. This impacted the shoot and the resulting photos quite significantly as she had designed her dress to fit her model so it was both too big and too long for her (despite copious pinning and clamping of material) and she was very uncomfortable and awkward in front of the camera.

However, despite a few hiccups, on the day the sun was shining, my travel directions into the depths of zone 3 were correct (thanks TFL!), everything worked out in the end and I managed to provide both girls with three images.

EMILIE’S SHOOT:
Location: Chiswick Business Park
Designer: Emilie Wafflart
Photographer: Anna Dunn
Assistant: Sabrina Bouchaala
Model: Jaybeelyn

JOANA’S SHOOT
Location: Chiswick Business Park
Designer: Joana Alejandra
Photographer: Anna Dunn
Assistant: Sabrina Bouchaala
Model: Joana Alejandra

I found this unit invaluable in regards to seeing what it is really like being a professional photographer and having to deal with clients (who can often be unrealistic, flakey and unprofessional). You need to put the clients needs first and come around to the idea that ‘the customer is always right’ (even if they are not!). It also made me realise how important communication is when organising any little thing and the absolute need for contracts and briefs in case anything should go wrong. I really enjoyed being out on location again and found that I am able to work quite professionally even when dealing with stressful situations.

Hard at work on location

Hard at work on location

I was also very involved in Sabrina’s studio shoot for Emilie and Joana, even helping her make a special backdrop for the day. For an interesting comparison on how the same dresses can be shot and presented so differently, head over to Sabrina’s blog post about her fashion shoot where she talks about her experiences and take a look at her photos!

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