Challenge: take 13 models, 1 studio, 1 tin of coffee, plenty of grit and enthusiasm, 1 camera, 3 lights…
Capture as many high quality looks as you can. GO!
So here’s the challenge… we spend every day working to set briefs, delivering a vast range of both highly creative and functional video and photography projects. But we believe that it’s also important to exercise without working briefs – which helps train you to be able to think fast and quickly respond to your environment. This mirrors a number of real-world shoots as well, as we aren’t always able to recce locations in advance of shoots.
As creatives, it’s also important that we practice as much as possible and work on our own styles. So we invited 13 models who we soured from casting website Starnow all of whom were selected for their differing looks, styles and personalities. Some were new and emerging in the industry, and others were experienced and looking to add some specific new looks to their portfolios. Our intention was to create as many looks in as many different ways across a single day, spanning portraits, fashion and beauty. Challenge accepted!
There are certainly worse ways to spend a cold dark Sunday!
Next to the models, the location was the most important decision. Shooting in a clean white box of a studio just wasn’t going to work – we needed to rely on objects, backgrounds, props as much as possible. We booked Belt Craft Studios up in North London, having never used the space before, this fit into what we were trying to achieve. What we loved about this particular photo studio was the immense versatility, having loads of furniture, props, walls, textures and windows that we could shoot against.
The shoot day comes, and we quickly realise that the quality vs quantity balance was going to be tough – scheduling had been tricky as we’d had so much interest, but the models were due to arrive across the day at times which should allow for a good amount of shooting time with each. Getting them ready, in and out of makeup, before being ready to shoot added to the complexity, but the word I used earlier – ‘exercise’ was certainly a relevant one! Not only was there a lot of organising, creative thinking, the need to quickly manoeuvre and change camera settings, but crucially to manage the people-side of things too. For those who were giving up their Sundays to shoot with us wouldn’t want to be sitting around for too long waiting for a slot to shoot. Thankfully, even though this was inevitable, spirits were high and the mood was really collaborative.
On the photography-side, I was shooting all of our stills, with my trusty assistant Niki – who was prepping one light after another, and our video team were also on site to capture motion video and cinemagraphs. You’ll be able to see these in a future blog post.
We moved from one creative lighting setup to another – combining short and broad lighting styles, hard and soft lighting, with our various modifiers. Days like this are fantastic as they force you to make a decision on how you want something to look, and then use the tools available to you to create it quickly. It’s a bit like that Masterchef round where they load up a pantry and you have to pick from the available ingredients to create whatever you want. We just swapped the meat and veg for softboxes and beauty dishes!
Personally, I like visual drama, and I like that to show in my images. Plain walls do very little for me, and I don’t believe they add enough to most shots. I had to split my time between encouraging the right poses and expressions from some of the lesser experienced models, and keeping up with the hardened pro’s who were rocketing off one move after another! That constant contrast was wonderful, as was jumping from portrait, to beauty to fashion sometimes within the same set.
We also captured a range of fitness and yoga sets as well, which are being used to help demonstrate what we can offer to health and fitness professionals.
“I had such a great time helping with the lighting – each model required a slightly different setup so I’d swap out the different softboxes and other modifiers to achieve the best shots. The vast studio space offered so many backgrounds & textures, allowing us to get really creative & think outside the box!
As we approached the end of the day, it began to get even more challenging – we were running out of time and we still had a few models left to shoot! We did manage to get through them all, luckily and just about scraped out the door at finishing time!
Niki Vaghela, Lighting Assistant
Overall, we have some wonderfully diverse results that are a result of everyone’s hard work, not least of all our long-suffering makeup artist – Safa! Do get in touch if you’d like to be a part of our next shooting challenge!
Steven Mayatt, Creative Director / Photographer
“Loved working with Steven on set. His direction was great and easy to follow, he had loads of creative ideas and the final pictures are AMAZING. The shoot flew by I cant wait to work with you again! Thanks Pocket Creatives!”
Jade Coles, Yoganaflow
“I have worked with Steven on a number of occasions and he is one of the most pleasant and professional photographers I have worked with. Very talented!”
Malene Wagner, Model
“Stevens organisation is second to none, clear, precise and readily contactable. He is kind and trust worthy and adept at working with a wide range of personalities and clients.”
Lucy Edwards, Model
“My shooting with Steven was a top experience at every point. I highly recommend a photo shooting with Pocket Creatives if you want pictures with a perfect composition.”
Birgit Lechner, Model
“I was model for a fitness photo shoot with Pocket Creatives, I highly recommend this team of creative people, Steven was amazing from day 1 with excellent communication, organisation and he is a brilliant photographer very talented. I had a great experience Working with PC, they made me feel comfortable, relaxed and I had fun. At the end I love the final result of the photos and couldn’t be happier they will add great value for my portfolio. Niki and Steven are very professional, genuinely friendly and open to listen to any ideas. Thank you Pocket Creatives for such a great experience.”
Paola Alba, Model
“Really enjoyed working with Steven and his team recently – they are all incredibly professional and approachable! The shoot was a lot of fun and very creative, and the finished shots are great. Highly recommend.”
Eleanor Bailey, Model