- Fashion Shoots
all have at one time wanted to do a Photoshoot - But does
the thought of an expensive and sometimes sterile photographic
studio put you off?
Well what about an alternative
location - providing interaction with daily life, atmosphere
and much more fun!
somewhere to undertake an interesting and fun photoshoot
is not difficult - it's all about getting the right elements
to come together - just follow this simple guide.
Firstly - there is absolutely
no point in proceeding, unless you have a professional
Photographer on board (this is the one expense that you
cannot afford to leave to an amateur friend). Through
such publications as this Tranny Guide or even your local
phone directory - you should find no difficulty in obtaining
a photographer (I use Don Allen) - agreeing the right
price may need some persuasive negotiation though, and
also he needs to have the right equipment (which we will
come onto later).
really are only three types of location; these being an
Outside (public area), Inside (shop, restaurant etc,)
and what I call a "Planned" location (somewhere where
it is expected that photos and shoots will be undertaken).
With all locations - what
appears most daunting is finding somewhere suitable. Its
not that difficult - you just need to step outside the
box and view what's around you from a different perspective.
Just ask yourself - would this make an interesting background
to a photo of me? (Lets face it - it's all about us "girls"
wanting to be the star of the shoot).
looking at the practicalities first - this for us - where
do we get changed, do we use a Make Up / Dressing service
(I use Adam & Eve at Bethnal Green), or do we change at
home? This starts to formulate - where to start looking
for asuitable venue. You then need to go out and about
looking and checking out (see below) before you embark
on a shoot.
So let's look in detail
at the three possibilities -
- This can be the easiest venue
to find - but the most difficult to control. Finding a
venue is not about just architecture - which is a good
starter, but about finding a vision of colour, texture
and style that would make an interesting shot. Street
furniture, fencing, doorways, corners of buildings start
to take on a new significance. Once you have narrowed
down to a geographical area that you feel is practicable
to access in your "girl" self, take a walk around, a step
back, and look for opportunity. Don't dismiss everyday
things that you take for granted, as it is these that
can often make the best backdrop.
Now there has to be a few
words of warning and practicality here - You need to be
streetwise, dressed appropriately for the venue, and to
remember its still a public place. There will be interruptions
of passers by and cars (plus all the obvious comments
from White Van Man [love'em] about your mini skirted long
legs) that you will need to contend with.
all however you should not place yourself in the position
that attracts the "authorities" insofar as "causing an
obstruction" or, and I know it's unfair - but a danger
to "your" safety. (You know what I mean elsewhere in this
Tranny Guide - in You and the Law).
Also surprisingly there
are many places that you think are "public" which in fact
are privately owned or managed. Go and see the people
responsible and arrange permission (if possible in writing)
first. If possible take with you a photo of your "girl"
self, or better still also bring along your photographer,
(it shows you mean business). Outdoor markets and precincts
are good examples of this type of location, (you may also
need to sign a simple indemnity as well).
is as you would expect a good starting point, and it could
equally be a modern style as old. Think about what outfit/look
you wish to convey in you photographic image.
There are some disadvantages
however in choosing an outside location - weather being
the main factor. (I usually try to set up a few dates
with my photographer and agree the day before if the shoot
is a "goer"). The other limitation is the number of outfits
you can use. This can be overcome a little, by changes
of accessories and the use of jackets and coats on and
- An inside (private) venue - has
the advantage of being a more controlled surrounding,
with most likely the opportunity to change/vary your outfits.
The disadvantage is being able to find a suitable venue,
then getting permission.
Finding a suitable venue
employs all the same rules as described already for an
external location, but of course you have to be able to
see what's inside. It's largely a case of just keeping
your eyes and ears open for an opportunity. A surprisingly
good source of ideas - are many of the fashion shoots
you see in mainstream magazines. It gives you the inspiration
of where to look for something similar for your shoot.
permission can be a little more tricky than an outside
location as it is far more intrusive to the day to day
activities of the venue, whether it be a shop, restaurant
etc, expect to work around times that's convenient to
them. Again think outside the box - you don't have to
look in the Tranny Guide for a local friendly venue. There
is so much diversity these days particularly in the main
cosmopolitan cities that you can look for other venues
that have a décor and atmosphere that can make a shoot.When
deciding to approach a venue for permission, it's always
best to be totally honest and upfront. As with Outside
permissions - if possible show some previous photos of
your "girl" self and get your photographer along. Clearly
one really big incentive, is if you intend to try a get
your photos published. Then you can then tap into the
idea that their venue will be getting some free publicity.
Vanity and Publicity go hand in hand - and gives you the
opportunity to explore a photoshoot with a theme linked
around the venue and it's owners. (I find one really big
lever is to do a little bit of research on the venue first,
such that you can then give them a questionnaire to complete
about their business or activities). It gives them a sense
- By this I mean a location where photos are expected
to be taken, an event of some form, or even a landmark
- where everyone is taking photos (in London you could
associate this with the Changing of the Guard, or Trafalgar
Square) - also more usefully indoor events such as the
Car Show or Erotica exhibition. I have covered a number
of Fashion fairs - where we have taken them as an opportunity
to combine writing an article with a shoot. In this sort
of circumstance you need to arrange prior permission with
the organisers (and get a pass for the Fair), but otherwise
there aren't many restrictions - although you will be
competing with possibly others for the ideal shot, and
of course your confidence in these sometimes crowded surroundings.
what do you - and your photographer need for a shoot?
Wherever you shoot, lighting is
the key. Your photographer will be your guide here, as
to whether there is enough natural light or flash/portable
lighting is required. It's another possible limitation
you need to consider. There is also the element of "perception".
I recently did a marvellous shoot in a busy London side
street, where my photographer used one of those large
(and very expensive) full frame cameras. People seemed
to take our presence far more seriously and were often
more considerate in keeping out of frame. The irony is
that - these days you can achieve nearly equal quality
photos with professional 35mm equipment. A professional
photographer will also make you work for each shot. You're
here to make an impression that will be recorded forever
as you, and not just an endless series of "holiday snap"
Results - Photoshoot at Loungelover, London
So using the principles
above - I took a walk around the shops and side streets
around the Bethnal Green area where my make up is done
at Adam & Eve. With winter fast approaching I was looking
for a nearby indoor venue. A recent article in a newspaper
magazine pointed me towards a lovely French restaurant
and after enquiring inside they directed me towards their
office located a few yards away. What I found as a result
was a startling Cocktail lounge-bar called Loungelover
run by the same people. Whereas the restaurant was full
of architectural character and décor with faintly lit
corners, the Loungelover was an explosion of colour and
arranged a meeting with their manager - Don Allen and
I visited them with details of our previous shots and
the ideas that we were looking for in this shoot. It transpired
that they were regularly approached for such shoots (so
much so that they are able to charge a considerable fee
to TV companies and fashion/style magazines). However
as our interest was purely for a hopeful inclusion into
this Tranny Guide and we were also using a local dressing
agency (Adam & Eve) they kindly agreed to waiver their
fees. (I'm afraid girls this was purely a one off - so
there is no use approaching them for something similar).
The Loungelover opened
in April 2003 and is a series of stunning themed areas
throughout combining baroque, rustic, oriental, and 40s,
50s & 60s settings. Its popularity is such it's reputed
to be London's worst kept secret! We arranged for our
shoot the following week, and with numerous outfits and
the girls from Adam and Eve kindly assisting - Don soon
had me working hard. With just enough natural light, Don
opted not to use Flash Lighting, which could "bleach"
away some of the atmosphere of the unusual surroundings.
our stay there was to undertake a shoot to remember, so
we never had the opportunity to sample the Longelovers
sublimecocktails, Champagne or fine wines (maybe a return
visit one evening on a girls night out perhaps!)
Well the results of our
shoot at this delightful setting are for you all to see
- and hopefully will inspire you to attempt something
similar - maybe it will be your pictures in next years
Don Allen Photographic - Tele. 07708 668886 Website: www.donallen.me.uk
Adam & Eve Dressing Service - Tele. 020 7729 7447 Website:
Loungelover (Special thanks to Craig) - Tele. 020 7012
1234 Website: www.loungelover.co.uk