Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jewelry photoshoot session for Etsy, in Canberra

I've been trying to make the most out of my time here in Canberra, and getting a jewelry photoshoot was one of those attempt.

The original plan was to take photos outdoor in the beautiful Canberra landscape as the background. Fresh green spring grass on the hills and clear blue sky. Not just that, but I wanted to have 3 models with 3 different skin tones and getting them to change their costumes that fits my jewellry... basically try doing whatever I can't do at home.

As it turns out... things aren’t as simple and romantic as my head makes it to be. I didn’t know that I was asking pretty much the impossible until my friend/photographer Ben said, “Ok... we’ll try to keep aiming high now...”

As he said that, the 5 of us (me, 3 of my girl friends as models and Ben) were standing in this patch of grass next to our flat freezing our head off trying to take photos out door. It was super windy... and it’s 6’C outside. There goes my plan...

There’s a lot of things that I wish could be done better. First, the weather. I should’ve hired someone to chase the wind away.

It has been forcasted to rain days before and no matter how many times I’ve prayed, it looks like it’s meant to be cold, windy and raining... but at least we are allowed small dosages of sun. It’s been 20 plus degrees in the past couple of weeks in Canberra, but then it decided to drop down to 6 degrees on the Saturday, with an occasional drizzling rain and horrible wind blowing Bens prop away while we’re trying to take photos. Plus, because the wind is blowing very hard, the clouds are moving very fast which change the lighting very quickly. So Ben would instruct us, "Hold the prop, take it out, put it back on, take it out..." - something like that...

Second, timing. I wanted the girls to be sorted out before Ben arrived. I slept in and woke up 15 minutes before the time I said for everyone to meet up. Melissa is an American and she lives with me so I had no problem with that. Prabha, the Indian-Singaporean arrived half an hour late with her boyfriend Brendan. And since she’s in the middle of doing her PHD thesis, she got her laptop with her to check on her experiment simulations when I needed her to get change. Sienna is a Phillipino who lives outside of town and she was feeling quite ill the night before so I didn’t expect her to come, but she came anyway, although she was an hour late. So... when Ben rocks up, the girls aren’t ready and I panicked. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had to do either. I had to allocate who’s going to wear what jewellry, with what dress. I had to put make up on some of them and also directing the photoshoot itself.

So, note to self: the more organised you are, the better... and I guess that rule can apply to most things that I do.

The weather was so horrible but we tried to push for it anyway... 20 minutes later, we came back inside. Ben helped me decide to take photos on the verandah cause there’s not enough light inside the flat and it’s too cold to be outside. So, there goes my romantic outdoor photo session. But Ben was right, we started to get a lot of results in the verandah. I’ve learnt that it’s either you change your costumes or you change your venue a lot. Originally, I wanted us to go out for a walk around the area and find nice background to take photos against, but thats not going to work because the girls need to get change in between shots. So it's easier to stick to one venue in this case.

I love the tiny camera remote thing that Ben's holding. What an awesome gadget to have!

Now this is the bit where I write about how thankful I am to my friends who are willing to stand in the cold, letting me take photos of them, torturing them just to take some photos for my Etsy shop. I guess I went a little too overboard. But I couldn’t say that I didn’t do this without laughter. The flat became full of people going in and out. Our boyfriends were there making us girls laugh and smile and not shiver as much when the wind suddenly came gushing down. My friend Caroline is making us tea and amazing mini lemon meringue cupcakes keeping us full and warm. Oh, I really love these moments. Ben is angel sent really.... unlike me, he came very prepared. He even bought a new prop to experiment with during my photoshoot. He has an eye for detail and lighting that I definitely don’t have. I also like him because he has and always been so full of wisdom I dare not disobey his commands and suggestion- which helps a lot because I’m often very indecisive.

Taking photos is always something that I never look forward to when it comes into listing items in Etsy, so whoever thought that I would be working this hard in taking photos that is probably not worth the money the jewellry is worth. Ben said to me, “Do you love it though?” The indecisive me for once answered a very confident “Yes! Ofcourse!”

Well, At least I don’t have to take the photos so I’m not sure what I was answering yes to... Probably organizing this whole thing.... Getting stuff done and allocating people to do jobs that I can’t do. it’s a lot of fun, good experience and brings people together. I love my friends, and being around them makes me happy.

... and thanks Mel for all the great shots in documenting this photoshoot. You're awesome!

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