So any of you that have dipped into my blog before may have come across my creative shoots, some more "out there" than others. All have their own challenges, whether it be outfitting 20 zombies for a wedding or simply locating a venue and dresses for a bridal shoot.
As winter set in at the tail end of last year, I of course had the perfect idea for a location shoot. Location photography in Scotland is always a challenge and my idea would involve multiple locations across a day.
As I'd originally played with the idea it started off as a merman being transported by his female servants, but I didn't particularly like that combination and I couldn't figure out how he would carry his trident whilst sat in a tin bath. So the idea evolved to a mermaid being transported by her two servants/slaves.
But how to portray this in a striking and unusual way. The surreal idea of a mermaid on vacation immediately made me think of the more fantastical fashion images and that lead me to decide to portray the two models just in their underwear.
Some time ago I'd come face to crotch with Cahoonas when they took part in one of the Nightwalk catwalk shows. They have developed their range since then and are very much into sport and boxing, and their microfibre pants were perfectly suited to our theme.
So I don't know the origin of my idea but it was probably the conglomeration of lots of things in my subconscious, but no doubt Mermaid Melanie had an influence. I knew of her as the daughter of one of my favourite makeup artists and I managed to bag a twofer as I recruited both Melanie as mermaid and June as makeup artist for the shoot.
A casting call for male models gathered a quick response, which was quite surprising as they are often the more elusive of the breed. I'd worked with Christopher a while back in a street fashion shoot with Jacki Clark, but it was to be the first time I'd be working with Ryan, the second model.
So I had a shoot crew pencilled in. Some investigation had lead me to find a tin bath at Titan Props, the Aladdin's cave of prop stores located only after successfully questing down a trading estate and navigating some errant pallets being wielded by a kamikaze forklift.
On a particularly sunny but cold day I went location scouting. It was at this point that the logistics of the planned shoot finally occurred to me. Bringing 4 people on location was one thing, but adding in a tin bath, a mermaid tail and managing it all across multiple locations with my camera gear as well...well it was just not going to happen.
I briefly thought of binning the whole shoot at that point.
Then I decided it could be done in a studio and with a little post production work I could marry up the studio shots with some location shots to create a final image. The new consideration was then how to fit the shoot into a normal studio.
A conventional studio using a backdrop is limited to about 2.8m width as this is the standards roll size for backdrop papers and suchlike. This usually means you have to shoot pretty much straight at your model(s) with only limited scope for shooting up at them or around them before a ceiling, wall or other obstruction creeps into the shot.
I'd recently shot at SWG3 and their larger infinity wall style studio was more the kind of thing I was after. But then the whole bath thing came into it. The studio there is up several flights of stairs.
But lo, inspiration hit once more as Titan Props itself includes a massive studio on the premises, albeit somewhat lacking in mod cons like heating. Still I figured a bit cold in a studio beats being caught in the wind and rain on a hill and having to cart a bath around everywhere.
So that's how the shoot came to be.
The images I've included with this post are still something of a work in progress. The decision to use hyperreal editing using a touch of HDR and my own special blend of filters makes the compositing a little easier, but there's still a lot of shadow work still to do to perfect these.
The three models did such a great job that so far the hardest post shoot task has been limiting the number of final images for editing. What I really need is an editing slave!