Behind The Scenes: Restricted Pictures for Breeze Magazine
Emma-Jay’s Breeze Photoshoot | Darrin Henry
Five locations, five styles, one beautiful young St Helenian model, all tied together with a theme – ‘Restricted Photos’ – for our second issue of the ‘Breeze’ e-magazine.
The shooting took three days; it involved a vintage car, a historic gun and hiking in make-up. All worth it, the results were superb and took up a 12 page spread in the magazine.
The Breeze E-Magazine
Breeze is free and exclusive for anyone who submits an email address to follow our photo-blog, What The Saints Did Next. It’s filled with a diverse range of photo-stories and one of the highlights is a special magazine photoshoot. Issue one featured the 2014 Miss St Helena, Sinead Green.
Planning ‘Breeze 2’ we decided early on to use one of our favourite Saint models, Emma-Jay Constantine. The ‘Restricted’ concept then surfaced while on another project with Emma; we would shoot in confined spaces.
In The Governor’s Car
The indoor, ‘cornered’ shoot was done first. Using a diffused camera flash and with just two or three feet between lens and model, we nailed the shots quickly.
The Museum of St Helena allowed us to use a vintage Humber motor car, once official transport for an island governor, now an exhibit in their ground floor gallery. We dubbed this look, ‘Back Seat Driver.’
Keeping with the old style vehicle we wanted a 50s pin-up look. Emma took care of styling, turning up on shoot day with the perfect outfit, even though she was suffering herself with the early stages of a cold.
A gearbox problem with the car prevented us from rolling it forward into the centre of the hall, so the shoot ended up being more restricted and a lot more challenging than we had figured.
Reflections off the glass from the flash guns were a problem – each time we moved the camera a few inches either way the glare off the windscreen or partition glass would bounce back into shot. Fitting the model, camera and lighting (three people) into and around the car at the same time became a headache. And we were on a time frame – the museum manager was staying back after work to allow us to shoot, so we couldn’t waste time.
Final images were superb and all down to good teamwork.
A New Version Of Windows
The historic Munden’s Battery ruin, overlooking James Bay, was the most difficult location to reach simply because the gear had to be carried. It involved a 15 minute hike up from the wharf car park and around the cliff path. Mind you, this was easy compared to our swimsuit photoshoot with Emma at Banks Battery. That was quite a trek with all the gear.
Two locations were used here at Munden’s – the window frame in a large, sunken cellar and a long, narrow stairway that ran down through a brick tunnel.
The stone debris ‘crumbs’ in the window meant changing positions and poses had to be done extremely carefully, especially with our model in heels. Each position change was gingerly carried out. But Emma’s a trooper on set and from the amazing pictures in the magazine, you would never guess it was awkward moving about!
Down in the stairway the main issue to contend with was the coating of dust covering the steps and walls. Everything we touched left powdery dust spots on our clothes and skin.
Strobes were used to light the scene once more. The ring of light at the far end of the stairway is actually provided by a strobe, not sunlight – this helped show off the dimensions of the space.
The controlled beam of light falling on Emma is shaped by arranging a cereal box around the strobe – otherwise known as a ‘gobo’ or go-between. Cereal boxes, a roll of masking tape and scissors/knife are must have accessories for strobe shoots. Cheaper than chips!
The Canon Photoshoot
Final restricted look took place inside the hood of a large military gun perched on the cliff top at Ladder Hill – a 6-inch Mark VII Elswick gun to be precise. It is one of two guns installed in 1903 but decommissioned now for decades.
Photography clamps were used to fix the strobes to rivets around the gun casing. The cereal box ‘gobos’ were back.
If the Humber car shoot lacked working space, this was worse and painful – bolts, rivets and other metal lips stuck out everywhere and bumping our heads or stubbing toes (Emma was barefoot) was not funny.
Sitting on top of the gun could only be done if we folded ourselves forward to fit. Restricted space all right!
Once again though the effort was worth it for the images we captured.
Outdoor photoshoots are an exciting mix of the unpredictable and challenging. Time of day, weather, accessibility, terrain, privacy, reflections, power, refreshments, safety, etc., are all factors determining the quality of photos you end up with.
If you have a good team though you can usually pull something great out of the bag. With Sharon, Emma and myself, it’s been a winning combination.
For the full set of final photos just start following our blog using your email address which allows you to download the complete Breeze 2 magazine for free.