Edinburgh International Fashion Festival got off to a flying start with the outstanding Clements Ribeiro runway show at Mansfield Traquair.
I was there to capture the night in my trademark black and white style.
To see the full set of images, head on over to my Facebook page here:
Here’s a selection of my shots from an editorial published in Spectrum magazine.
My team and I shot at the National Mining Museum, Newtongrange just outside Edinburgh - which is right at the top of my list of favourite fashion locations owing to its plenitude of run down, industrial locations.
You can see a showreel video of the making of the shoot in the post below, but I wanted to share some of the stills with you too.
I assembled a great team for this shoot:
Fashion Photographer - Philip Stanley Dickson (my good self)
Models - Victoria Middleton (Model Team) and Melissa McComb (Colours)
Styling - Ann Russell
Hair - Jason Hall and Mia Stronach
Make Up - Ola Moodsfactory
Videographer - Andy Glen from Madisson Productions
Let me know what you think of the photos and the location.
Fashion photoshoot by Philip Stanley Dickson from PSD Photography. Shot at the National Mining Museum in Newtongrange, just south of Edinburgh (one of PSD’s favourite locations).
Check out our behind the scenes video, shot by Andy g`len from Madisson Productions.
Full credits are also given on the video.
Let me know what you think!
ANATOMY OF A FASHION SHOOT by Philip Stanley Dickson
Headwear by Arabella Bridal – Part III
In this final instalment I will take you through the actual shoot, with some details of the lighting I used and some of the post production techniques to polish off the images.
During the latter phases of the hair and make up team working on Emily Jones (our fabulous model for the day from Superior Model Management), I set about figuring out the lighting in the library. There’s a few things that dictated what needed done, such as how much natural light was there and where in the library I would be shooting. The first location was against some bookshelves and was relatively dark, so I knew that I needed to add some light in, in fact I was taking complete control of the light as the ambient light was not only low, but not too flattering either. That meant setting up a soft-box as the key-light - I used the 45° set-up - that is, light 45° on the horizontal and vertical planes, and also added a big soft-box directly behind me to add in some fill light, to soften the shadows. That set up gave me a soft light, but with enough contrast to sculpt Emily’s face and beautiful catch-lights, especially when she raised her head towards the 45° light.
Following that, we shot directly in front of a huge window and I tried to add in the fill light only with a silver reflector, which worked well for the half-body shots, but wasn’t enough to overcome the bright window light for the full length shots - so Emily was largely in silhouette. I added a big softbox to balance out the backlight and this had the desired effect. To shoot Emily full length, I had to be quite a distance back from her so the softbox was 4 or 5 metres away from her, so I compensated by using my biggest Octobox (1.2m) to try to retain some softness in the light.
All the set-ups in the other room also required one softbox, as close as possible to Emily for softness, but one of the set-ups close to a window required a more innovative solution. I had switched to a 50mm F1.4 lens (from my usual 24-105) and cranked it right open to maximise light intake as outside it really was dark grey and the background was dark panel wood. Working at 1.4 meant I had problems keeping both the product and Emily’s eyes in focus. I needed more light, but working in the window recess (and with a fixed focal length) had left me no room for manoeuvre or getting any direct light onto Emily. Had it been a dry day, I could have taken a light outside and shone it in through the window, but it was pouring down at this stage. I came up with the solution to position a big flash behind Emily and bounce it up to the ceiling to try to spill some additional light for me to use. With a few posing adjustments for Emily it worked a treat.
The rain on the windows posed my biggest problems and I knew that each shot with raindrop covered windows would need extensive photoshop work. But it was not a surprise, after all I chose to shoot against the windows later in the day after the heavens had opened. If I was setting myself an impossible task, then I would have shot elsewhere. When you have a window completely covered with rain, there’s no point in using the healing or cloning tools initially, as there’s no clear areas to sample from. They come in handy later on to finish the job neatly, but first it’s about picking a colour to paint over the windows - and I used a mid grey, which didn’t detract from the model, but also looked realistic enough. I used a low opacity and simply brushed over the raindrops until the smaller ones disappeared. That gave me some clear areas to sample from for my cloning and spot healing (I know spot healing does not need a direct sample area, but as it analyses the nearby pixels, it will only get rid of blemishes if the surrounding area is similar), which allowed me to finish off each window one by one.
Generally my workflow goes as follows: Import to LR4, sort and organise, order and apply any lens corrections, white balance settings, and recover any highlights. Then transfer to PS5.5 for any detailed edits, skin touch ups, complex selections and cloning out distractions etc. Then it’s back into LR4 where I look at various finishes and effects to complement the images and often apply them to batches of images, before checking each final image to make fine adjustments. Then I rename the photos for the client and export.
I realise that the lighting and post production is a huge area of interest to you, and rather than write for a week, I have pretty heavily condensed it for this blog, so if there’s any questions, please feel free to ask me here in the comments section and I will try to reply and elaborate.
I can’t wait to get and see this exhibition of amazing and inspirational fashion photographs when it lands in Edinburgh this summer at the City Art Centre.
Hope to get lots of inspiration from them, you can never have too many influences.
PSD Photography is proud to support the charity Unite Against Cancer
You can buy some of Philip’s gorgeous prints of X-factor contestant Darius Campbell (Danesh), taken as he performed in Glasgow on Saturday night. All print proceeds go to the charity until end of April 2013.
Darius was in top form and wowed the 300 strong crowd and was a lovely guy to chat to as well!
Click on the link below to see all the photos from the event - the ones with Darius are towards the end.
ANATOMY OF A FASHION SHOOT by Philip Stanley Dickson
Headwear by Arabella Bridal – Part II
Welcome back, this next section details more with the preparation immediately before the shoot and then into the shoot itself.
You will remember that I was shooting at Dalhousie Castle, just south of Edinburgh, for Arabella Bridal and the job was to shoot 40 headpieces in various locations round the castle, in one day.
Don’t let me go on too much about getting to understand the client’s requirements again, but without that there would be a pretty lamentable shoot and a very stressful day! Nuff said!
I work with great hair and make up teams and they arrive, get set up and then we all have a pow wow about the fine details of the look for the model. This had all been dealt with in advance and they had been in direct contact with the client. That’s often something I facilitate, as what’s the point in the information getting Chinese whispered through me, especially as I am not an expert in hair or make up. Best to let the client deal directly with those who can interpret their vision. I just hook up with the look on the day and add any thoughts about the photographic perspective, often make up needs to be a shade or two darker than people would think as the lights can bleach it out a bit. (That’s a bigger subject than I can write about here – as it all depends on the amount of lighting used, the camera exposure and the post production to be used.) Suffice it to say, that in order for it to look good on the back of the camera the make up needs to be a little heavier.
While all that was happening, and we had our coffee (a necessity!) my job was then to work with the client to break down the headpieces to be shot into workable groups. I asked about the type of headpieces, turns out that they were in different styles. I also asked about which dresses they would be worn with. Both these things helped to sort out in my mind how many locations we would be setting up. You may be thinking that all this could have been worked out in advance and you would be right, but in truth there will always be changes on the day – the client may have brought 6 dresses to shoot with instead of 4, and also may have squeezed in another couple of headpieces. That’s why the in-situ planning is vital. What if a beautiful window I was going to shoot against is now rain covered (it was), with dark grey skies behind it? What if one of the rooms we were allowed to shoot in has since been booked up and is not available. What if the client has other ideas? These and a thousand other things may have changed, so the walk around with the client is of paramount importance.
When experience matters
There is no substitute for experience when doing a walk round with a client. You have to be able to identify suitable locations, thinking about how to light them, what the background will look like, where you can shoot from, how much clean up work will be needed in post production, any health and safety issues like cables trailing and whether it fits the brief and will convey the correct message about the client’s products. Determining the most efficient way to order the shoot comes next – taking into account any time constraints from the venue, model, client, creative team etc. There is often a factor or two that govern which way round the shoot works, such as time of day, sunlight direction, weather prospects, the garments, etc and at Dalhousie it was to get 2 dresses and 19 headpieces shot in the library (sounds like Cleudo) and then a further three sets photographed in the ballroom.
There are a few other important little jobs, but one not to be underestimated is building up a rapport with the model, in this case Emily Jones. Having worked with Emily before, I knew that she was a great model, but I always like to give a model a heads up on the shoot beforehand so that they can prepare themselves for the task ahead. With it being a commercial bridal shoot, there wasn’t going to be much need for fierceness, power poses or scary faces, just a far softer, welcoming look with loaded eyes bursting with emotion. It really is down to the connection between the photographer and the model to deliver exceptional shots, rather than run of the mill fashion that I see around all the time. Don’t underestimate the power of having a chat about random stuff before the shoot. You may need to delve into it again to inspire or motivate a certain response later on.
After the walk round is done, I was free to move on with the lighting and camera gear set-up, but as I’ve written more than I thought I would that will have to wait until the next instalment!
Check out more of my fashion work here:
ANATOMY OF A FASHION SHOOT by Philip Stanley Dickson
Headwear by Arabella Bridal
I often get asked how I go about planning and carrying out a fashion shoot, so I thought I would take the time to provide some details here and provide you with some tips and tricks that us professionals use.
How the shoot is planned is dependent on who it is for and how much they bring to the table in terms of direction and ideas. A client could contact me and have almost all of the details, including model, location, creative team and mood boards all planned out - in that case I am just there to apply my knowledge and experience to deliver their vision.
This shoot left me with a lot more to do than that which is why it is an ideal one to dissect!
The client contacted me with an idea to shoot 40 or so products for a website. The products were all bridal headwear - hats and fascinators etc. It was to be with one model and I had choice over the model, subject to their approval. There were various suggestions for venues too, and I added to that list with my large experience in shooting fashion shoots and weddings in many locations round Edinburgh.
Basically, I get as much information as possible from the client, to try to understand what they are trying to achieve. Asking them to show me photos that they like helps me zone in on what sort of style they want. As the model makes or breaks the shoot, getting a comprehensive understanding of what the client wants in this area is essential. For example, some of the requirements here were: dark hair required as most of the products are white - so they will stand out better; age to be mid-20s ‘looking’, which left me free to choose someone younger (when make-up and hair is done, young models always look older), but not too young. I added my own criteria here and it was great skin. Knowing that a lot of the shots would be quite tight crops (beauty style shots) I knew that the better the skin, the less time I would need to edit afterwards. This is a realistic concern over 40 images, as you can imagine.
Using all that information, I went through old photos of model shoots and came up with a shortlist for the client. As it happened, top of the list was Emily Jones (from Superior Model Management) who I had worked with previously on a published fashion shoot.
What comes first? Model, Creative Team or Location?
Arranging to get everyone in one place at one time is always a headache and a lot of shuffling around is required. My usual priority is to try to secure the model, and get a selection of dates they are available. Then I move on to the venue and may even ask a few suitable venues at the same time if they can host us on those dates. I do this as it takes time for some venues to come back to me, and if time is tight for organising the shoot, then I will take the first offer I get back. The other venues are never concerned about this as nothing was promised anyway. Next time we may shoot there, so it’s always amicable. One lesson I learned years ago was never to make promises to anyone (models, venues, clients etc) that I can’t keep. Keep it real, have realistic expectations and don’t BS to people.
I’ve shot a couple of weddings at Dalhousie Castle and love the olde worlde atmosphere about the place - it’s full of suits of armour, big old windows and fireplaces, with lots of grand public rooms too - so I thought this would be an ideal location. The client agreed and the venue was happy to host us for a copy of the photos to use, so it was green lights all round. The client also sourced Edinburgh Beautography to do the hair and make up.
The team is in place, the venue and date confirmed, what’s next?
Did I mention how important it is to understand the client’s brief? I think I may have mentioned it once or twice! That’s the only way I know what to bring along to the shoot - from cameras and lenses, lighting equipment, power adaptors, assistants, food, drink, model release forms, props, ladders and anything else that the brief demands. Some things may need bought in advance (backgrounds, props etc), some things may need picked up, or simply put in one place so that I can’t forget them. All the camera gear and lighting has got to be sorted out the day before - and all batteries charged. No point in turning up for a big shoot and your batteries run out half way through - humiliation is never a good look!
I also need a clear understanding of how people are arriving, in case people need taxis booked or picked up at the train station. It’s also important to find out the time constraints everyone has - from the client, to the model to the venue. There’s really no point in shooting for 30 minutes per product for 40 products. I really can’t work out how many hours that shoot would last, but it would be one heck of a long shoot!
I often use the number of products to shoot and the finish time we are aiming for to work out how long we have per product. It makes sense, if you have 2 minutes per product, then you need to know that at the start of the day, not half way through where things will suddenly have to get rushed and frantic and the quality of the shots may be compromised.
That takes care of the majority of the planning and logistics from the shoot - so I’ve now arrived at Dalhousie, been in touch with everyone and we are all there! That’s always a good feeling and a relief to be honest. I’ve had no-shows before and had to really hustle to make the shoot happen - but that’s another story.
To find out what happens next - tune in here for instalment 2 - coming soon.
Philip Stanley Dickson
Check out my BRAND NEW FASHION WEBSITE right here:
I was digging through the electronic archives the other day (call it an early Spring clean) and came across this shot from a shoot I did for The Pulse magazine in the Scottish Mining Museum, Newtongrange.
It was one of my favourite locations ever, and if you add in two fantastic models, Charlotte Turner and Agata Myszkowska and some pretty punchy block colour fashion and it ended up being one of my greatest shoots. This shot did not make the magazine, but there were so many good ones I just wanted to give this another airing.
Models.com has unleashed their top fashion editorials of 2012 (Click on the link above), what do you think?
I love some and have seen others before, but still want to be on that list! I’ll have to work hard to make that happen, but I am certainly going to enjoy the journey trying!
Feel free to share any other great editorials of your choice too, I love looking through them.
Check out my current editorial offerings here:
This is a worldwide competition for all models and designers, make up artists and stylists to get international recognition and fashion spreads.
Go for it folks!
Are you a model who has been treated badly? Get in touch with your own experiences of the modelling industry.
I have never pressured anyone into doing something that they didn’t want to do, nor have I asked anyone to change their diet or body shape.
Why don’t we just start to accept that everyone is different, for once and for all?
(The link is to a BBC report featuring Sara Ziff.
I saw this interesting article on the BBC this morning, highlighting some famous photos and how and why they caused such debate.
I’m opening up the PSD Studios for anyone to come down and experience a min-photoshoot on December 8th and 9th.
This is part of the Arts Complex Open Studio event and we are so happy to be involved and offering an express-shoot (5mins) and we will print you a free 6x4 photo while you wait!
You can then wander round this sprawling building and see many other artists work, all completely free of charge!