“Make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails” – Leonard Snart, The Flash (2014)
This for me pretty much sums up planning a photo shoot. The thing is, there is always something completely out of your control and our most recent photoshoot is a testament to that…
It was all going swimmingly – we had found a brilliant location, the Royal William Yard in Plymouth the ex-Royal Navy Base which is now occupied by businesses and restaurants set in one of the largest collection of Grade 1 listed military buildings in Europe. Pretty cool and has the added advantage of a harbour in the background, green park areas, urban restaurant vibes and some really nice industrial feel spaces to use.
We had sourced the models, confirmed the photographer and worked up the shot list with a mix of indoor and outdoor shots so what could possibly go wrong in the Southwest in mid-February…?! Needless to say that it was beautiful and sunny the day before and after but on the photo shoot day itself it was a different story. From the time we set off in the morning to the drive back home, it was raining, it was grey and it was cold.
The thing with any photoshoot is there’s a lot of stopping and starting and standing around. Repeating shots to ensure we capture the right angle, the right light and, especially important on fitness shoots, the correct technique. This is all very well and good but when you’re shooting on a cold February day and it is tipping it down, you have to make sure everyone stays as warm as possible. Especially the models who are wearing clothes ideal for a continuous workout but not so much for a cold rainy day in Devon.
At one point my hands were so cold I could hardly type the text for an Instagram post and I was lucky enough to be wearing a warm jumper, raincoat, fairly warm trousers, thermal socks and boots! The models were wearing leggings, training vest tops and thin training jumpers. Needless to say, we made sure to make sure they had warm clothes to wear between shots and got them to keep moving about to keep warm. Oh, and hot drinks, you gotta have a cuppa on a cold day!
A break in the weather
As I said, our shot list was a mix of indoor and outdoor shots… Luckily, we did have an hour or so in the afternoon of light drizzle and that’s when we made our dash to capture the outdoor shots. There is a lovely feature of the Royal William Yard which we really wanted to use – it’s an archway area just outside the room we were shooting in and it was great because it provided an outdoor shot that was neither too urban or too countryside. However there was one problem, although the rain had eased off, it hadn’t stopped altogether and, well, the big, powerful photography lights really don’t like the water so much so at times I found myself transformed into a glorified flash stand, hiding out of shot pointing a small portable flash at the models – one hand clutching the umbrella with the other hand pointing the lights where they needed to be.
That’s a wrap
By the end of the day we had captured the shots we needed, our client was happy and the models still had smiles on their faces. So, all in all, it was a successful shoot despite the challenging weather!
I have worked on quite a few shoots now with each one we learn something new and the main thing I’ve learnt is the need to be adaptable. As I’ve said, it doesn’t matter how much you plan, there is always something that can change but the quicker you can react to that change the smoother the photoshoot will be.
Keep an eye on our portfolio page for the final results of the photoshoot!