Photoshoot – Behind the Scene
Saturday, December 10th, 2011 – It was the 10th photo shoot and we expected to complete it in record time. After all, we had gained a great deal of experience. To our surprise, it was the contrary. We thought that with a single attire and a single theme, we would quickly wrap things up. We had many reasons to believe that this photo shoot would be quick:
- Our model had already done the group photo shoot and had gained experience in front of the camera
- Our model was now comfortable working with the technical team, including the photographer
- We had previously met the model to discuss the wardrobe and the desired poses.
- Our model was very confident and thought that she would wing it
“This photo shoot will definitely be easy”, we all thought. Our model, Martine, had chosen a theme that represented her as a business woman. She would wear a dark suit, a bow tie and a top hat, thus displaying her feminine attractiveness with a touch of gentleman flare. I loved the idea! To take her sexiness up one notch, she would sit facing the back of the chair. This pose was typical burlesque, but fishnet pantyhose and a bustier would not be part of her attire. The photo shoot would portray a professional woman wearing a simple black suit, posing in a way that would make every man want to date her. The pictures would leave men dreaming of a very interesting evening… We wanted to create a passionate image of Martine. Was the model wearing fishnets and a bustier under the suit after all, or simply going commando? The answer resides in our video clip…
Our goal was to portray the natural beauty of women and Martine was the perfect model. In order to achieve this, we decided to apply minimal make-up and limit her jewellery to simple earrings. Isn’t this the ideal photo shoot for a woman? I believe so, for I am a business woman myself. I would love to be photographed in a way that would make me feel intelligent, beautiful and sexy, but still in touch with my femininity!
Martine arrived at the shoot on time. She is a very dedicated person and always keeps her promises. She was committed to this calendar and wished to part of the experience since it would benefit women in need. Like every model participating in this calendar, she was very proud to be contributing to a good cause.
Two of our technical team members showed up on time at the photo shoot site: the photographer and the technical assistant. We finalized the poses and defined the proper set-up for the shoot. An hour later, we became concerned for our Amélie, the art director. She was late and we hadn’t heard from her yet. We called her cell phone many times, but she didn’t answer… We knew she had been suffering from an inflamed sciatic nerve and that she was under a lot of pain. This is when I realized that we were now part of something special… the team members were now interconnected. Any circumstance, good or bad, affecting our colleagues had a direct influence on each and every one of us. We were continuously trying to help each other and giving advice when it was needed. This project had created a new benchmark for business: connectedness and mutual support, no matter what! As humans, we are presented with many challenges and surprises, and we share our feelings with people we can trust. It suddenly occurred to me that this team was all that and more… Although we had only been working together for four months, it seemed like we had always known each other. It was meant to be this way.
Finally, when Amélie stepped into the doorway, we all ran to her and greeted her. We made sure she was not overstraining herself, for we wanted to avoid aggravating her condition. In the video, you will notice that Amélie is sitting on a ball chair which helps her ease the pain. Also, as everyone knows, laughter is the best medicine… Well, we gave her some to spare!
After the first set of photos, we were convinced that we had captured all that what was needed to represent the theme. We uploaded the pictures onto the computer for a better quality assessment. We wanted a precise representation of Martine’s essence and, most importantly, we wanted Martine to be satisfied with the pictures. After all, these photos would become public. To our surprise, the shots did not quite cease Martine’s true self-image. We had somehow deviated from the theme. We had emphasized her beautifully curled hair, therefore eliminating the hat. However, this decision had caused us to slightly miss the mark. As a result, we had to extend the photo shoot. We were confident that the second set of photos would be right. Martine would be photographed in her black suit and would be wearing the hat as planned. When we reviewed the second set of photos, we found a shot that would make a perfect display in a New York art gallery.
We always prepare our photo shoots in advance, but we never seem to follow our initial plan. I think this is the result of mutual influence. When one team member wants to try a pose and another member suggests a different pose, there is too much management. The model tries to capture everyone’s advice at once and she often ends up confused. That was the case during this photo shoot. However, we always try to remain very flexible and in tune with the model’s state of mind at the time of the shoot and before the shoot, when planning the poses and the theme. In doing so, we allow the model to feel comfortable. We try to sync our views of the shoot with the views of the model, because we want to portray her persona as accurately as possible. During the initial phase of the shoot, the models usually feel intimidated in front of a camera and in front of the technical team, who is constantly giving them instructions. I can still hear our recurring comments: “Chin up! Back straight! Fingers together! Knees bent!”, and so on… As the photo shoot progresses, the models become more confident and relaxed. Perhaps their tiredness kicks in after posing for a long period of time, allowing the models to slip back to their true self. As we have observed time and time again, it is often the very last photo that becomes the potential calendar pic, as it represents the model’s true spirit. I take my hat off to all of these women who have demonstrated great courage and tenacity through many hours of posing in pursuit of the perfect picture for the calendar. Voluntarily! This requires patience, kindness and a certain amount of self-confidence. But the whole process leaves everyone feeling good within. Cheers ladies!
Article by Joanne
Edited by Zoé G.