Shooting an editorial is very demanding, as sometimes the editors are standing over your shoulders directing every detail, and sometimes making photographers do things that may not work. We have to give feedback on the spot, and either accept what the editor wants, or be bold and say no to a certain set up. It's almost like shooting a wedding and the bride wants a shot in a location that has horrible light and is almost impossible to make fit your training and expertise for a quality photograph. So if you think this job is a walk in the park, it's not at all. It can take an hour just to set up an light one scene, imagine shooting a dozens scenes in a day.
The biggest challenge is shooting in all hours of the day, from sun up to sun down, and even at night. Lighting each scene takes lots of time, and when the models run behind in hair and makeup, we sometimes set up a scene and tear it down and relocate as the light changes fast. Cloud cover one minute, clear sunny skies the next. Interior scenes, exteriors, rain, cold, heat, all in one day.
For this shoot the editors wanted to feature vintage wedding dresses covering a time period of the entire first half of the 19th century. We ended up covering 6 decades from 1900 to 1960. Some of the ideas were to simply have some inspiration from certain time periods, and some ideas were to copy those time periods.
My wife Janice Allen who is a very successful and creative hair salon owner, sat down with the editors too, and we all collaborated on a plan. The magazine editor and their art director scouted locations across the south, and came up with a 19th century mansion near Mobile Alabama.
The Hotel Magnolia has seen several Presidents of the United States stay in their quaint hotel, and many other famous people over the years. The hotel had just about fallen apart until recently when it underwent a massive restoration. Today it is a gem of history that is well worth the stay. Fortunately for our team, we spent 4 days with full run of the house for our shoot. www.thehotelmagnolia.com was fully staffed with a 5 star restaurant, which catered our meals with some amazing food, one of the perks of shooting for a magazine.
What vintage shoot could happen without an antique Rolls Royce? We found a company that had just the right limo. With 4 models, 6 time periods and over 25 dresses to shoot, we shot over 5000, narrowed those down to about 200, and let the editors make the final selections. We also created a short film covering the behind the scenes aspect of the shoot, with a full frame HD camera system, we captured over 10 hours of footage that went into the making of the film. You can view the film by searching "Vintage Southern Bride" and finding it on the top of that search on google.
One idea I had to help us create more looks from the models was to incorporate wigs, so my wife and I went to the local wig store, and with the help of some sweet Asian ladies who spoke very little english, we came out with half a dozen hairpieces that fit the bill. Janice is an amazing hairdesigner, and did an incredible job on this shoot. Southern Brides art director, Kat Ballard, had the vision of what she wanted to accomplish, and our team met on location for a few hours to review the scenes. Once the shoot began, we had to light over 20 locations, which explains why the shoot took 3 twelve hour days. We also had 2 makeup artists that we had never worked with before, and they also did an incredible job.
So that's a little background on the shoot. The magazine premiered the issue in June 2010, and asked that we hold off on our blog post until now. Here are just a few of my favorite images from the shoot, the magazine called the spread "Vintage Designs in Modern Times". Part of the goal was to have some modern twists mixed in the vintage style of the shoot. I hope you gain some inspiration from the images, and be sure to get a copy of the magazine on newsstands across the South.