Photoshoot – Behind the Scene
Sunday, March 18th, 2011 turned out to be a beautiful day. There were sunny skies and the temperature reached 25 degrees Celsius. We were experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures beating the previous record (set in 2010) by 14 degrees. We were about to begin Karine and Sandrine’s (who are twin sisters) photo shoot in a dark basement filled with thin light streams produced by red laser beams. This was our last photo shoot and it would complete the 2013 calendar. In 8 months, we had completed a total of 12 photo shoots! We thought it was amazing that we had managed to accomplish so much in such little time.
This photo shoot was going to require significant preparation. We had learned from the previous shoots that we needed to improve the technical groundwork. Also, it was imperative that the model’s costume, make-up, hair style and poses be very well prepared. These details were to be determined beforehand. In preparation of this shoot, we came up with some interesting themes. Initially, the twins were to be body-painted for the photo shoot. Amélie (our make-up artist) had purchased a spray-paint gun and compressor. She was taking a shot at it… It would be her first time applying make-up and paint to a whole body. This was unlike her usual tasks as a make-up artist, and it would be somewhat of a challenge. With the help of Elyse, a tattoo artist, Amélie had come up with the perfect body paint design. Their plan was to spray the upper body in gold and hand paint a snake along the side of the leg up to the shoulder, with the snake’s head reaching out to the shoulder blade. This design was going to be phenomenal and was worth a full day’s work. However, after a long reflection, Karine and Sandrine were not so convinced about the body painting anymore. We needed a plan B.
Amélie proposed an Egyptian theme. The twins have natural black hair that would be appropriate for the theme. For the calendar photo, we envisioned the twins kneeling down face to face with their hands touching. They would gaze intensely into each other’s eyes. The make-up artist would make the twins resemble Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra”, with gold clothing and accessories.
After further thought, the twins dismissed the Egyptian theme idea as well. We now needed a plan C. After much brainstorming, the technical team came up with a Cirque du Soleil theme. Karine and Sandrine would wear body suits decorated with jewelry, and would be photographed in a way that would accentuate their feminine curves. The photo shoot would take place in a dark room filled with laser beams, much like the movie “Entrapment” starring Catherine Zeta-Jones. After having searched the Internet, we had many poses in mind for the shoot and we were ready to propose this idea to Karine and Sandrine.
When we suggested the Cirque du Soleil theme, the twins were thrilled and motivated. To them, this theme fit their personality like a glove. A decision was then made: we would pursue this concept. The twins would wear a black body suit and golden accessories. The photographer immediately started planning the photo shoot setting. He purchased lasers from the Dollar Store and La Source. By producing smoke with the smoke machine, he was able to capture the laser beams on film. But there was a catch: in order to clearly view the laser beams, we had to generate a lot of smoke and this would incidentally blur the models. It was not until the day of the photo shoot that we finally deduced that the lasers would have to be pointed towards the camera for a perfect view of the laser beam and the models, with minimal smoke. This concluded the technical preparation of the shoot.
Sandrine and Carine
After the twins’ arrival, Amélie began the make-up application which took a total of 3 hours. Meanwhile, the rest of the team enjoyed the nice weather out on the patio with a cappuccino and water. We took advantage of the sublime weather during our spare time. Once the make-up was done, we all gathered around the twins. Amélie’s efforts had definitely paid off! The twins were astonishing: Sandrine portrayed a butterfly and Karine’s make-up reflected a pearl’s eye (refer to the images). It was then time for their fitting and Nadine brought some final touches to their attire. They were both wearing high heel black boots, but they were presented with a very nice pair of shoes that both couldn’t resist. However, there was a little problem… there was only one pair! Who ended up wearing these irresistible shoes? You will find out in the calendar!
After the photo shoot, the only thing Karine and Sandrine could express was gratitude for the technical team’s hard work. They were particularly thankful for the photographer’s efforts in making them feel at ease, considering the fact that they had no experience whatsoever in modeling or in posing in front of a camera. Although the twins were nervous in the beginning, this feeling quickly disappeared as a result of the caring and warmth provided to them by the team members.
We had now completed our 12th photo shoot. Through these photo shoots, we had learned many things and had formed a solid team. As we reflect on our experiences, we can synthesize our knowledge and make use of it in the future. For one, we now know that it is important that only one person provide direction to the models, and that person should be the photographer. The remaining technical team members are to be of assistance when required (e.g. holding the lasers in position). During this last photo shoot, the preparation was very efficient; the shoot lasted 2 hours, as opposed to 4 hours for the previous photo shoots. Needless to say, it was our most successful shoot in every aspect; everything fell into place with no major stumbles. The lessons learned are the following:
- In order to avoid confusion, only one person coaches the model in respect to positioning.
- Preparation of the photo shoot set is crucial before the shoot to eliminate any technical problems.
- The theme, poses, clothing, hair style and make-up should be determined in advance and discussed with the models to reduce anxiety.
- Only one theme and one outfit should be chosen in order to save time. We should avoid theme diversification.
With a year of experience behind us, we are now ready to tackle the 2014 calendar photo shoots!
Article by Joanne
Edited by Zoé G.