Charlie's Instagram

Behind the Scene: Classical Musician Fashion Shoot

Behind the Scene: Classical Musician Fashion Shoot

1. Background

Trying something that I have not done before. I never tried photographing with an object in a photoshoot. Most of my photoshoot was based just the model at a location. This time, I am adding the instruments as props along with the models. It was another element that elevates the photoshoot to next level. Having a prop. I was nervous yet excited about it. 

In this photoshoot, I am photographing three concepts: A Conductor, The Bass, and A Trumpet. 

A Conductor is a person who leads all the musicians to follow the music score. Just like a military general who controls all the army. So I want to depict a conductor as a militarily styled fashion editorial. With a bold and military style fashion. Dramatic overhead light. Stoic emotion with an authoritative gesture.

A Bass is a large string instrument. Looks like a big man (even a male has a hard time carrying the instrument). Because contrabass is depicted as a big man, I want the female to be dressed in a see through or translucent dress or clothes. Poses: being on top of the bass, behind the bass with just a leg shown, a nude shot of the back along with the bass, dancing with the bass, etc. 

For Trumpet. All that jazz. Irving Penn (shooting into a corner) and Tim Walker (photographic style and lens distortion), Model dresses in a 1920 style shiny dress to show the Roaring Twenties Jazz age.

2. Process

First, I made a mood board for each concept. Then I send it out to many model agencies in Los Angeles. From 10 model agencies I reach out to, I only got 3 model agencies interested in working with me and 1 denial. I got back from Frank Model, Mavrick, and Willow Model. Everyone was nice to me and I couldn't do this photoshoot without them. 

Secondly, I reach out to makeup and hair. For this photoshoot, I worked with @britt.kaye and @locks_by_lan

Thirdly, I tried to find a wardrobe stylist for my shoot, but everyone I reach out to did not have time for my photoshoot. So I had to go to my usual place where I rent clothes: @WalkerViden. They have been my go-to place when I don't have a wardrobe stylist. I go there and style my own clothes for the phtoshoot. I also checked out a vintage store called  Clothes Heaven in Old Town. They sell luxury brand clothes. I found the white dress and a shoe I used for my bass photoshoot. Lastly, I visited Zara to find a wardrobe that matched my shoot. *what you see on a website will not be in the store most of the time. So order online if they are the exact items you are looking for.* 

Fourthly, I went to Joann's to look for a background. I got a gold and red silk patterned fabric and a canvas fabric. 

3. Prelighting

A Conductor 

Classical Musician PhotoShoot_Prelighting

The Bass

Classical Musician PhotoShoot_Pitch30.jpg
Classical Musician PhotoShoot_Pitch31.jpg

The Trumpet

Classical Musician PhotoShoot_Pitch41.jpg

The pre-lighting part was helped by Jessie Mar. 

4. Photoshoot 

The photoshoot went from 9 am to 9 pm. I had a total of 5 hours with each model ( not including the time to set up the light, do the makeup, hair, and put on the wardrobes). I had two outfits for each model.

In the beginning, there were some technical difficulties with the camera and tethering but other than that, the photoshoot went smoothly. 

5. Equipment

  1. 8x8 frame

  2. silk for 8x8 frame

  3. Hassleblad h6d

  4. Phocus

  5. Profoto D2

  6.  Profoto B1 

  7. V-flats 

  8. Beauty Dish 

  9. 1k studio light 

  10. 12x12 silk 

  11. High-rollers 

  12. Barndoor 

  13. 18x20 flags 

  14. 50mm, 150mm, and 210mm 

6. Contact Sheet

7. Final Thought

It was an interesting approach and I had fun using instruments in the photoshoot because there were interactions between the models and the props. I had to think about how to pose the models beforehand. 

Never do a full day fashion shoot with three different lighting and three different model. It drains you out dry but I had so much fun working on a project I love and happy that I got good images out of it. I do compare my previous photoshoots and this is strongest because the production was stronger. I wish I can get a stylist next time. 

Always, remember to shoot horizontal images. :P 

The images were up on my graduation show at Art Center College of Design. 


After photographing this, Chanel did a Paris-Hamburg 2017/18 fashion show relating to classical music! 

What kind of photographer am I?

What kind of photographer am I?