This past week, I had the chance to collaborate with Rag-O-Rama for a night fashion shoot in Uptown Westerville featuring all Mac Group equipment. I used Bowens Gemini 400 lights, a Bowen TravelPak, Pocketwizard Plus III‘s for easy connectivity to my DSLR, and the Sekonic Litemaster PRO L-478DR. Never having done a fashion shoot, I found the experience to be exciting and challenging. I quickly discovered on set why Bowens was the best choice. Everything was easy to set up and easily changed while shooting. The incredible battery life on the PocketWizards and the battery pack lasted the entire shoot, which was a surprise because I tend to take more photos than necessary. With that being said, I also found the lights to have incredibly fast recycling time between shots. Overall, the location, clothing, and equipment were perfect for achieving the look we wanted.
A few days before the shoot, I met with Courtney, the store manager at Rag-O-Rama, for a fitting with my female model. I could not have done the shoot without Courtney, as I don’t have much fashion sense and never realized how much went into picking out an outfit. We sat there for a few hours trying to come up with about 8-10 looks that would look well photographed. With every outfit, we planned out the accessories, hair, and possible shot ideas. We were lucky to find a male model last minute, which made the shoot even more successful with complementary clothes that went well with our female model. Being a portrait and concert photographer, most of my subjects pick their own looks and what they want to wear, so this was an entirely different experience. With Courtney’s fashion expertise and my knowledge of what looks good and works for photography purposes, we were able to pull 9 outfits that were planned head to toe.
Once we got on location, I quickly set up the Bowens light and metered for my models. I was ecstatic with the first few images. I’ve used studio lighting before, but I’ve never gotten the type of dramatic lighting that I got with the Bowens lights. I was also impressed that although I was using the lights for harsh lighting, none of the highlights were blown out of proportion. As we continued to shoot, I shared the images with Courtney and the models to make sure the optimal look was being achieved. With the help of my assistants, for each look we were able to move the set multiple times to different backgrounds throughout Uptown Westerville. This made for fast transitions that took only 5-10 minutes (both changing wardrobe and set). With time restraints, we were only able to get through 5 looks, but we currently have another shoot booked for completing the remaining looks.
The Mac Group products have made me more confident in my photography work. This shoot was a learning experience for me from learning new lighting techniques to learning from some mistakes I made while shooting. I’m happy with the outcome and am excited to move forward with another fashion shoot coming up. Working with Bowens lighting and Rag-O-Rama have made fashion photography fun, easy, and interesting.
Here are some tips that I learned from doing this shoot for anyone looking to try fashion photography:
- Be confident in your work and equipment—know your gear and what you can achieve with it!
- Plan outfits around your theme while keeping in mind pieces that will photograph well.
- Budget time. If you’re looking to do 8-10 looks in 3 hours like we did, keep yourself on schedule with someone keeping time. Also, plan on spending a few hours beforehand picking out the looks.
- If you don’t know much about fashion, find someone who does. I was lucky to have Courtney help me in the process of picking out outfits as well as posing on set.
- Make your models comfortable with you and other models that may be working with them. I had never met my male model before the shoot, but we all ended up having a good time and getting some great shots.
Take a look at some of the shots from the shoot! All clothing is from the Columbus Rag-O-Rama store.