Our looks for this shoot
Felicia and I hadn't done a photoshoot together since 2010 so it was really time for some updated images! We wanted to have shots using two costumes that each had a much different feel.
In January, we made cream and gold chain bedlahs for a show. We first wanted to find the same fabric that we used for the beldahs to make circle skirts to create a princess-y look for the shoot. Luckily, the fabric was still available, which meant that we were able to make skirts which matched the bedlahs perfectly.
For our second costume, we wanted to wear our gorgeous new hand dyed skirts made by Painted Lady Clothiers, but we needed to find a bedlah to match. For many years we had been coveting the Mid-East manufacturing coin sets, so we decided now was the time to buy them. However, that meant we needed to make new bedlahs as well. The coin parts for the bedlahs arrived on Monday and the shoot was Saturday. By some miracle, and with Felicia's costume and design ingenuity, we managed to get the entire bedlah bases done, the coins mounted, and the new ivory skirts completed in time!
It had been so long since we had done a shoot, so we wanted to cover all of our bases for updated photos by getting shots with all of the props we routinely use. For us this meant zills, veils, and swords. We also dance with palm flames so we opted to include those as well.
Day of the shoot
Our good friend, and fellow dancer, Laura accompanied us. She was curious about doing a photoshoot as she is planning her first one for next year. I always prefer to have an assistant during shoots, even better if it is another dancer. It is ideal to have someone there to help with costuming and to give a dancer's eye to my poses and posture, so having her come along was perfect. Laura was especially helpful during costume changes by being able to create some private space in this location with the help of our vehicles and strategically placed veils. In addition, she is experienced with fire props so we did not have to prep our own fire props while in costume. This blog series was already underway so we also decided that she would take some behind the scenes photos to use in this post.
We started out in the tower with our princess costumes and got veils and swords ready. It was a lot of fun using our swords to mimic the look of the arches in the tower. Next, we went to the top of the tower to get photos of our veils in the wind. Choosing deep red veils added the most contrast to the ivory costumes, blue sky, and green foliage.
We also wanted to get some shots in the woods. As not to interfere with the people visiting the tower, we decided to do the fire shots there. We always think of safety first so we made sure to have all of our fire safety equipment ready, Laura spotted us, and we stayed well away from the trees.
Paul is wonderful to work with because he always has fun ideas for photos. We don't like to take ourselves too seriously and always make sure to get a few photos in non-dance poses for fun. Paul had the brilliant idea this time to do some fun things with perspective on the forest path.
When it was time to switch costumes, we changed with Laura's help one at a time while the other took the opportunity to take some solo shots. It is always a good idea to trade off like this if you can, in order to use the photographer’s time as wisely as possible. After we were both changed into the coin bedlah costumes, we did more duet shots in the woods before heading to the tower. It turned out a lot of people were keen on using Poet's Seat as a photoshoot location that day because when we returned to the tower there was a wedding party doing photos there! I still regret not asking them if they wanted to photobomb each other’s shoot.
In the tower we decided to return to the top tier. It was getting cloudy which we were worried might make the photos look dark or wouldn't be as pretty as a clear sky, but it ended up being absolutely perfect. Paul really used the clouds to our benefit and we created some great sword shots with dark and stormy backgrounds due to the cloudy skyline.
We wrapped up on the next tier down so we could get a few more shots by the arches and another professional photographer who happened to be on a day trip to Poet’s Seat came across us. She was excited and asked if she could take a few shots as well. We all agreed and we ended up getting some beautiful pictures from her and making a new photographer friend.
Lots of hard work on our parts, as well as the talented Paul Jones, created the beautiful photos in this post and many more. After a long day filled with costume and prop changes, hiking up many flights of stairs in the tower, and successfully manipulating fire in our brand new costumes (yikes!), both Felicia and I came out with some amazing images and had a ton of fun working with some of our favorite people.
I hope this post has given you helpful information on what it is like behind the scenes at a photoshoot. Please feel free to ask any questions you have about this post or photoshoots in general. Upcoming posts will cover choosing a location, developing your look, and what to do the day of your shoot. As always, if this series inspires you to do your own photoshoot please share the photos!
My adventures in dance, music, costume design...