Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow White

 I thought I'd go back and include what I remember from the process of each shoot starting from the beginning.  The first shoot as I mentioned was Snow White.

Last July I found a craigslist ad from Perry Heideman.  A Milwaukee photographer who wanted to start doing a photos that told a narrative as opposed to the landscapes he'd been doing prior.  I responded saying that he should do existing stories, like fairy tales and make it easy on himself.  Then I included my number, and within days I received a phone call.  After less than an hour we had picked our first story, Snow White and a day.  The shoot was set two weeks from out first conversation.  That's when the work began.

I set about finding a location.  The issues where that we have no budget... none.  All of these shoots are funded by myself or Perry.  I personally will not spend more than fifty dollars a shoot.  So I had to search for a public location that still looked lush and had that fairy tale quality that the story required.

I ended up choosing this ravine trail by the lake front in Milwaukee.  I often go running there in summer and spring, and it was so perfect in those months for what we were trying to do.  However a little tricky to get to, but more on that later.

Then I started on the dress.  I had one day off from work in the two weeks leading up to the shoot, and that was the day I needed to get the bulk of the work done.  I had an idea of what I wanted.  A flowing white cotton peasant dress... If you'll take a look at the above photo that is not what I ended up with.  I mentioned that we had no budget so when I went out to buy fabric I realized that my said little pay check did not go far.  So I headed off to my favorite place in the whole wide world.  Goodwill.  I found this amazing wine colored fabric in the form of a curtain panel.  It may have been very Maria VonTrapp, but I didn't care.

This being the first dress I made in a while, I didn't quite trust my pattern drafting skills.  So I did use a pattern.  It's a Mcalls quick sew that I modified.  I also don't have a dress form so I do a lot of fitting to my body.  The day I started that dress I worked for 14 hours straight and finished it that day.  I have a very one track mind when it comes to that kind of thing.  The "belt" with that dress was made from a spool of ribbon that I cut and doctored together in a way that worked with the dress.

Now I had to "cast" a Prince.  This proved a little more difficult than I thought.  After this shoot finding models wasn't too hard, but being the first in the series no one knew what the finished product would look like and they were super hesitant.  I called four or five of my actor friends who either declined or couldn't make it.  I was at the end of my rope when I remembered Chris MacGregor.

Dreamy right?  Right.  He hadn't crossed my mind at first because he's a few years younger than me, but I had just worked with him in another show.  Once the idea popped into my head I realized he was perfect.  Then I called and thank god he accepted.  I told him to bring a bunch of clothes and we'd pick on the day of.

The other thing about these shoots is that the best time to get a good photo outside is 9am or 5pm.  Now I am a demon hell spawn and I like to do early morning, so I made both of these poor men get out of their beds by 7am on a Sunday morning.  I myself couldn't sleep.  I was up at 5 doing hair and make-up. Then at the location Chris pops open his trunk which double as our make shift wardrobe and make-up trailer.  We met up with Perry at the entrance to this ravine trail.  Remember when I said that it was tricky to get to the location.  Yeah.  This is a ravine trail, it's scenic and beautiful, but also hidden away and steep.  The three of us carried MASSIVE amounts of equipment down stairs, through brush, and over bridges and such.  To make matters worse it was I believe 90% humidity that day, which I believe is somewhat of an excuse for my hair or at least that's what I'm claiming.

Perry provided the apple, I brought along the blanket and the basket of flowers.  I knew the shots I wanted so we set about the better part of two hours trying this and that.

However, this being a public area meant that there was no privacy, so in most of these shots there were people stopping to watch us shoot.  Yep, people with their dogs, runners, bikers, you name it they'd buzz through and we'd politely say hello then they'd move on.  We finished the shoot, packed up the equipment and headed right back out of the woods.  No sooner had we left than the skies opened and it started to pour rain.  This was not the last time we lucked out like that, but that's a story for another day.  And the shoot turned out happily ever after.

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