A few months ago I had the pleasure of photographing the spring summer fashion look book for a talented pair of millinery designers under the name of The Season Hats.
Their idea was to create a catalogue that was colourful and bold whilst also showcasing the hats in a feminine and elegant way. They were initially drawn to the use of colour in my work and I was excited to hear that they were planning their shoot to revolve around colour too. With my friend Marina De Magalhaes at the styling, we started brainstorming and bouncing ideas back and forth. The client had a clear vision in mind, but within the guidelines provided me and Marina were able to make suggestions based on our experience that were happily taken on board.
As a photographer, I always appreciate it when clients allow me to have an input on the production of the shoot, as it is something that I take care of constantly in my editorial and personal work. Photographers are much more than a finger on the shutter button and the quality of the final images has to do with much more than lighting or suggesting a pose rather than another. Choice and quality of model, stylist, makeup artist and hair stylist, as well as choice of theme/look and lighting suitable to the client’s brand values: this and more goes into making a shoot successful. Most photographers who have a strong editorial portfolio take care of these elements day in and day out and can offer an extremely precious production service on shoots.
When I am allowed to have an input on such decisions, I feel like I can really bring my best onto the table, offering every skill I have learnt along the way.
On the days leading on to the shoot, we discussed several ideas for an original set design that would add character to the shots without looking distracting or taking the attention off the main product. In the end, we opted for a colourful paper set that, with some shapes and bends, would create depth whilst adding a splash of colour to the images. The paper colour was carefully chosen keeping the season, the colour of the hats and the colour scheme of the wardrobe always in mind.
On the shooting day, at Huddle Studios in East London, we started off by recreating the set and planning all the outfit changes ahead.
The lighting had to contribute in setting a lively spring/summer vibe, ensuring that the hats were well visible from most angles, at the same time creating controlled highlights and shadows on the background to generate the wanted depth. I decided to use a large deep silver Umbrella and a large Octabox mounted on two Profoto D1 500 that were placed one on the left and one the right of the model at more or less 45 degrees. This setup allowed me to recreate an airy and bright atmosphere whilst maintaining some contrast and definition thanks to the slightly harsher light quality of the Umbrella.
The day went by fast and smoothly. Our friend Violet Zeng joined us for hair an makeup, and the model Lonnie at FM, carefully chosen after days of model packages emailed back and forth, was experienced and professional.
The Season Hats were a pleasure to work with. An extra treat: they brought their little dog to the shoot. Now, I LOVE working with animals around. In fact, I think that cute little animals should be mandatory in life and on set. They bring an incredible amount of positive energy and have the ability to bring stress levels down like few other things in life. Throw the ball a couple of times, make silly voices, tickle the belly, get a few slurpy kisses all over your face… now what was there to stress about again?!
The Season Hats / Photography: Rossella Vanon / Model: Lonnie @ FM / Styling: Marina De Magalhaes / Grooming: Violet Zeng / Location: Huddle Studios