A Creative Shoot
Dog Tail Designs has been longing to do a photo shoot in an abandoned building for quite some time, and we finally got the opportunity. Why was this on our bucket list? Why not?!?!? Think of all that an old, abandoned building has to offer. Of course, every building is different, but we knew what we had a specific look in mind. Old bricks. Industrial doors. Rough concrete. Vintage windows. Scattered pillars. It was a treasure trove of aesthetic edginess.
We planned this shoot for months. Once we had our model lined up, the shopping began! A leather and metal corset with a matching mini skirt. Racy denim shorts with a crop top. Fishnet stockings. And black hipsters with a to-die-for, tie-in-front top. Oh, and shoes, of course. Yes, our look was very specific – sexy and stylish.
All the Technicalities
As with any indoor photo shoot, lighting was an issue. With our Canon 5DS in hand, we also brought along a couple of slave speed lights, reflector umbrellas, and straight-on lighting with white umbrellas. In the end, we did not use the straight-on lighting – the double speed lights provided the effect we needed to achieve. However, a large soft box would’ve been helpful. No worries – we always make do with what we’ve got. Head over to our Wish List to see the lighting that would really make our day!
Though it is practically against my husband’s religion, he did shoot at an ISO of 200 that day – a rarest of occasion for him to push up from ISO 100. Technically, the difference is not discernable to the naked eye, but Casey swears he can see a grainier effect at 200. His aperture stayed at f2.8, bringing in as much light as possible. Because so many of our shots were closer in range, the aperture did little to create that bokeh effect, but that wasn’t really our goal. With a shutter speed of 200, our camera settings were complete, and the shoot was underway!
The makeup artist created a smoky look, and we couldn’t have been happier with her work. Fake eyelashes to bring out the glam. Deep pink lipstick to “pout” out the mouth. And impeccable skin coverage for that flawless finish. The before and after pics speak for themselves!
We couldn’t have asked for a better model. Emily was professional, fun, easy-going, and willing to try any pose we threw at her. She even worked with props, which can sometimes come across as awkward, but worked out well that day. Her naturally sexy demeanor shined through every picture.
In the End
Culling our final work was a challenge – we had over a thousand shots to review. It was difficult to pick the “best” one out of each outfit and each pose. Locations throughout the building varied, making our selection process even more extensive. In the end, we picked a couple dozen photos to edit, which was a little less than what we would’ve liked. In retrospect, we needed more outfits. And more time! We could’ve taken pictures all day with Emily, but other obligations cut us short. A disappointment, yes. But, that is not to say we are disappointed.
This shoot provided much-desired material with which Casey could work. He had opportunities to create dark and dramatic, soft and dreamy, fun and playful, and just down-right sexy. He got to stretch his Photoshop legs and bring out the best in each shot. Casey’s work made this the perfect collection to introduce us to the 500px community, and the pictures were received very well by fellow photographers.
In the end, this was a wonderful learning experience and made for a great “first shoot” into our new artistic era. We took away several good tips for anyone crafting their own “artsy” shoot:
- Plan, plan, plan. Though we had ideas and intentions for each outfit, we didn’t get specific with our pose plan. Our first real look around the abandoned building was the actual day of the shoot. Had we arranged for a prior viewing of the building, we could have laid out specific shots ahead of time. Alas, we “winged it” more than we planned it.
- Allow plenty of time. Start early and plan on going late. If you choose to hire a makeup artist, plan on a good 45 minutes for the makeup alone. If you’re doing hair, too, that can be another substantial chunk of time. In fact, depending on the style, hair can take well over an hour.
- Too many outfits? There’s simply no such thing! Plan for an hour worth of shots for each outfit. In any given hour, you can hope to take away a couple hundred pictures. From those, you can count on three to eight pictures that you will ultimately choose to edit. So… do the math. If your goal is twenty or more pictures, you’ll need a minimum of three outfits. But, if you’re going all out on a photo shoot, you should aim for more than twenty pics. If the budget had no limit, we would’ve bought Emily several more outfits. A nice outfit total is six to eight.
- Make variations of each outfit. Our corset and mini skirt were, by far, our favorite outfit. We changed up the look by adding gloves and a choker for some of the poses. However, we could’ve added stockings, varied the jewelry, and changed up the shoes.
- Get plenty of inspiration. Look for shots that inspire you or reflect a look for which you are going. If you’ve got specific poses in mind, try to find an example to show your model. We were so lucky that our model worked her poses like a pro. She needed very little instruction!
Take your Lightroom and Photoshop skills to the next level. Identify your skill level and try to stretch it. Research tutorials and scour the Internet for techniques that might be new to you. Truly, there’s an endless well of photography tips out there, and every photographer should take advantage of that.
In our experience, no two photo shoots are the same. Model, location, inspiration, and the end-goal will all play into effect. With each shoot, we should learn more – take away tips and tricks for the next time.
And we can’t wait for our next time! We’re always planning a shoot. This shoot was primarily for marketing and portfolio building, and we hope to do many more. See the entire gallery of Abandoned Building photos and find some inspiration for yourself. If you’ve filled your schedule with paying gigs only, try to squeeze in one creative shoot for your own artistic development. Make this a goal, and you won’t regret it! When you’re taking pictures for someone else, your ultimate objective is to please the client, giving them the look they want. When you take pictures for yourself – the sky is the limit.
What’s your dream photo shoot? Share your ideas and feedback. How much do you love The Abandoned Building? Or not? What would you have done differently? Start a conversation and share some inspiration. We love to read your comments, and we can’t wait to hear what you have to say!