Fashion shoots are perceived to be glamorous affairs – beautiful models, flamboyant stylists, clients, and art directors all running around, with a gorgeous photographer at the centre of the action shouting instructions and making provocative hip movements. Well it’s all true! I don’t do much fashion work with models, but when I do, it’s always really enjoyable. It’s not as glamorous as people think however. Often shoots are conducted in freezing cold locations, such as the Barbour stock warehouse in South Shields. Setting up a makeshift studio in a cramped location at short notice presents all sorts of problems with lighting, health and safety, and production quality. This shoot needed to be done quickly, lit so that the various garment textures were emphasized properly, and incorporate full length poses of the models moving swiftly towards camera. 

We had 3 days to shoot close to 100 different outfits on 6 models. The final edited images were to be cutout, so luckily there was no need to light the background environment. Space was very limited, so I set up a white paper roll with an 8 foot walkway, used 2 softboxes (with inner baffles removed to harden the light) at oblique angles to the point of image capture, a forward facing flash with brolly on low power to soften out any hard shadows, and finally a flash bounced off the paper background to give a bit of highlight to one the side of the models face. I used a 24-70mm AF-S lens on a Nikon D3 at f11 at 1/250th sec. I shot tethered to a 21” Imac. Shooting was fast and furious – shoot 12+ poses, review, edit keepers, change the model & outfit, style, shoot again, and so on for 3 whole days. The set got pretty crowded at times, and the temperature was only a few degrees above freezing. I got the model to walk quickly towards camera, and shot at a pre-determined point using manual focus. Styling was expertly done by Vikky Johnston – see her work here. The shoot was finished with a bit of time to spare so Adam decided to avail himself of the opportunity to display his formidable kung fu skills. It all became too much for designer Gary, who needed to lie down for a bit.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to a very successful job.

Brian Young shoots all aspects of the built environment for a range of clients throughout Northern England and the Borders.


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