There’s always that dread the night before any shoot.
It’s that ‘eve of the first day of school‘ type of feeling, where many of the same emotions and questions run through your mind. We’ve all been there, we’ve all experienced it; a whole evening filled with ‘What ifs’.
The answer to alleviate such doubts is to ask the question and then prepare for it. For example ‘What if it rains?‘ then ‘Take an umbrella and waterproof gear for the camera‘ simple remedy.
But there is always something. Either the one thing you’ve forgotten comes back to bite you or something you couldn’t have expected crops up. In which case, you take a deep breath, carry on and make do and hope that it turns out for the better.
Yesterday I was invited to a photo shoot at the home of Lady Mary Mansel Lewis and her daughter Catherine. Two nicer and more welcoming people you could not hope to meet but more on that later. The shoot was arranged by Lisa Moore of Vintage Falls, in order to help promote the latest event (Details as yet unavailable) With this in mind Lady Mary and Catherine gathered their vast collection of designer labels together (clothes collected from each decade since the 50s) and with the help of 6 models the day was spent bringing life back to the various garments that had been hidden away for so many years.
But before I go into the days details, I’d like to go back to the evening before.
I had gone through my little OCD check list: Batteries charged?…check again…Back up batteries charged?…double check….Lenses cleaned?….Specs on camera sensor?…dust and check again…Memory cards wiped and ready? and so on. Everything seemed in order and I spent a brief moment mentally preparing what I was going to do the next day….and that’s where I had failed. One of the main things a photographer needs to assess is the terrain/location of where to shoot. Although the models are often the main focus, it’s the environment and surroundings which often turn a good photograph into a great one. This was out of my hands in this instance. I had never been to Manordeilo before and due to the amount of clothes involved in this shoot it was the only feasible place to shoot without hiring moving vans!
All thoughts of other potential problems faded into insignificance as I realised that I was stepping into an unknown location, with models I had not worked with before and, as far as I was aware, had not worked with each other either!
Then the ‘What ifs’ started up again. ‘What if ‘ there’s nowhere to shoot? ‘What if ‘ the models don’t get on with each other or worse don’t get on with the photographer a.k.a Me?! The lesson I’ve learned when faced with these things, however, is alarmingly simple. Always remember to breath…and then carry on.
Saturday morning arrived to the tones of my increasingly annoying alarm. Opening the curtains with an eye half open I saw that the weather….was fantastic. Clear blue skies (the first time in weeks it hadn’t snowed, rained or threatened a hurricane!). With all my gizmos and gadgets packed into the car I went off to meet up with Lisa and the models.
I arrived at the meeting point far too early (old habits) but it wasn’t long before Lisa pulled in and we chatted a little about the day ahead as we awaited the models. Donna of Donna-lee Photography had done a terrific job of selecting the models as when they turned the corner they were all chatting and laughing away like old friends. Will the models get along with each other? Box ticked. Truth be known it only became apparent to me later in the day that, for the most part, they didn’t know each other!
The only thing left to do after introductions was find Manordeilo and get things started. I knew that it was roughly in the Llandeilo area, but beyond that it would have to be an Obi Wan style ‘Use the force’ scenario. My satnav was next to useless choosing not to recognise any of the address details I typed in. Google Earth mobile app directed me to a sub-Saharan town which was quickly disregarded (since checking Google Earth on my PC it now shows that Manordeilo is indeed near Llandeilo). However, despite all things we managed to find the location and another one of my earlier ‘What ifs’ was quickly quashed .
The grounds were fantastic. Immediately I could see an array of possibilities of where to shoot. As we parked and made towards the house we were given a great and warm welcome by Catherine, who was kind enough to not only allow us to use her home for the day, but to look around the grounds, offer advice as to possible areas to set up and generally was as excited as we all were about the day ahead. I cannot express what a difference it makes when you have a host like this, so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the Mansel-Lewis family for what was a great day and am looking forward more than ever to the main event at Stradey Castle.
As the models readied themselves and went about choosing which clothes to wear first, with Lisa starting on styling along with acting as make up artist for the day (the original make up artist fell ill the day before), I went for a quick stroll to see what options were available for backdrops. As the majority of clothing came from the 50s, 60s and 70s I wanted to capture a natural feel. Nothing too fussy nor distracting but at the same time something that would not make the models nor the clothes look out of place. As I mentioned earlier, thanks to the grounds, this was easily achieved.
Whilst I haven’t uploaded the photos yet, due to them being used for ongoing Vintage Falls promotions, I will upload them as soon as I am able and hope that you’ll see in the photos what a great day it was.
My thanks once again to Lady Mary Mansel Lewis, Catherine and to Vintage Falls’ Lisa Moore for arranging the day.
To Donna-lee Lewis for bringing the models together and for being a great helping hand on the day.
To Holly Price, Jodie Bevan, Evie Lodwick, Kimberly Hanley, Sadie Rivers and Bella for putting up with a demanding photographer and for their professionalism.
A special thanks to Hendrix the dog for keeping me company whilst the girls were getting ready.
Will keep you all posted as to when the photos will be arriving, until then bye for now 🙂