Sandstorms, Smooth Jazz & A Bird Sanctuary – BTS with Lily & Migs
May 2nd 2013
“I don’t think this is our spot anyways.” She yells. The bird sanctuary was the best spot so far, but it’s in a bird sanctuary and that would probably draw some attention.
For those of you who haven’t been a photoshoot before, you may be surprised by the number of people and stuff on even the smallest of commercial shoots. There are going to be 5 people on set, Me, the photographer and my photo assistant, Jenn and Lauren as stylist and art director, the model Margeaux, our hair and make-up artist. There’s going to be a clothing rack with 30 outfits and all my gear. Not to mention that there will be 2 4’x8′ reflectors highlighting a beautiful swimsuit model. With a set-up this large, it’s kind of hard to keep a low profile. Besides, I don’t really want to be the one responsible for stepping on some endangered bird or something.
“Let’s get out of here!” I yell.
May 14th 2013
“How’s it going sir. Would you be interested in some smooth jazz?” asks the black man holding as stack of CD as I exit Jenn’s SUV at our 5th beach of the day.
“What sort of smooth jazz?” I ask smiling.
“The smoothest” he says smiling back nodding his head. I look over at Jenn’s pregnant bun as she dismounts slowly out of the car, hand on back.
“Not today good man.” I say.
“Right on. Have a good one than.” he says and trapes off towards a big van, clad in red, green and yellow paint, surrounded by what appears to be a group of Rastafarians. The smell of herb wafts in the gentle breeze of the hot summer Chicago day.
“What did that guy want?” Jenn asks.
“He had some smooth jazz he was selling.” I reply.
“I bet. Did he notice that you we’re with a pregnant woman.”
“I have a feeling this is the sort of beach that you come to only if you want some smooth jazz. Let’s walk around and check it out anyways.” I shove my hands in my pockets and start to skulk towards the beach with my pregnant clothing designer in toe, weaving through dodgy looking folk and well meaning beach vendors.
Today has gone a lot better. Using google maps set Satellite mode, we were able to pinpoint some key areas that would work. We visited 5 beaches in addition to this one and this was our last stop, the 63rd st beach near Woodlawn. We’re pretty sure that our spot is the 31st st beach which is newly developed. There’s a great spot with a lifeguard out post in the background and the way the sun is going to hit will be perfect. There’s some artist painting trees in wacky fun ways and one of the trees is surrounded by a fence that we can hide all our gear behind so we don’t get picked off by the po po.
I see a couple angles that might work and have Jenn walk out about 40 feet into the sand where we would shoot it. Her bright red hair glistens in a sea of blue through the lens. I take the shot and look around. We should probably go.
Monday May 13th, “The Shoot Day”
It is the most glorious of glorious days. The sun is out and it is a beautiful day to be outside shooting. Except that we’re not shooting… Yesterday, the weather forecast called for a for rain and instead of chancing it we decide to call the shoot. If the shoot were to rain out, it would have cost an extra $500 in cancellation fees. At least this way, Lauren only spends a $100 to change her ticket.
This is what it is to shoot on location in Chicago, its either going to maybe possibly probably but maybe not rain or its the coldest its ever been. God bless this city.
So we reschedule for the 21st but now things are even dicier than before. I place my studio on hold, just in case we get ‘rained’ out again, we can go ahead and shoot there. However, Paul has this massive wall set in the middle of the studio with about a million props photographing The Hangerjack. This is a contraption that folds up and down easily to hold things. This contraption is in my way, but we’ll have to make it work.
There are other issues, Margeaux is on a loose hold for another job already and may not make it. Nothing we can do about that but grit our teeth. Mel, our hair and makeup artist, can’t stay all day because she has to go to her other job at 3pm. Oh man. Lauren, has now spent a small fortune trying to change her ticket around. Great. Oh yeah, and I have a rather un-promising first date lined for the day right after the shoot. Cringe
In times like this, you just have to cross your fingers and hope it works out.
Tuesday, May 21st ‘The Shoot Day’
“I can’t believe how well this worked out” says Jenn without a hint of sarcasm.
“Yeah, it worked out perfectly. This is better than the outside shoot I think.” I say genuinely surprised and happy.
We we’re ‘rained’ out again, this time the day was even more glorious than before, taunting us from inside the safety of the studio. Paul’s hanger jack set is pushed into an awkward corner of the studio carefully and i’m shooting everything against the giant white wall. The lighting is flat, one large silver 22″ reflector on a old school speedotron head at 0 degrees right above the Nikon d7000 with the 70-200. I’m shooting fast and keep blowing the fuse in the speedo 2400 pack, so I have 2 side by side and I keep switching the head back and forth so I can keep shooting.
One of the reasons we decided to shoot with Margeaux, besides the fact that shes beautiful, is that shes really funny. So I keep having her goof off, making her stand in precarious positions and than making her pretend shes something ridiculous.
“Margeaux”, I yell over the dance music “take that suitcase and place it on your head and pretend like it’s a hat. Now pretend that your a Miami based socialite and your walking around judging everyone that doesn’t have a hat like you.”
She does this the best she can, rolling her eyeballs at imaginary Miami socialites, balancing a huge suitcase on her head and than she breaks into laughter. A split second after she’s done loosing her shit, that is the shot I want. A genuine happy image of Margeaux Raymond as herself wearing Lily & Migs 2014 Resort. This is the moment that makes it all worth it.