Here it is! The story of our very first shoot for Lex and Josh Photography. Buckle in... this is a good one.
Also please check out our Behind the Scenes vlog for the day!
We all began the day at Miya's (our awesome makeup artist) studio so that we could all meet face to face and get everything ready to go. Things that were yet to be determined at this point: how the models felt about their roles, how the makeup would look on them, how the wardrobe would fit on them, how well the models would work together, and finally how long would it take to complete the shoot.
Now having a background in wedding photography really comes in handy here because I need to be able to take uncertain circumstances and be able to perform no matter what. We've all had grooms that hated photos, brides that went crazy on the day of, wedding parties that just want to drink and party (who can blame them), it's nothing new. However, this being our first shoot as Lex and Josh Photography, I was feeling the nerves and feeling them hard. This was our first portfolio shoot and it had to go well. We had to prove that we knew what we were doing when Lex and I dropped out of school and I felt like we needed to prove it to everyone who knew that we were starting this venture. Add all this to the fact that Hycroft manor is a crazy expensive place to rent (although worth every penny) for two young adults starting a company and you could say that there were some things on my mind.
Luckily the models were amazing and super friendly, the wardrobe fit perfectly, and they were super stoked to start the shoot! Cue Hycroft establishing shot...
First things first, get unpacked and set up some drone shots! After a couple shots that I was happy with and a bunch more I wasn't, I decided it was time to bring the drone down just as a nice lady came to ask just what the hell I was doing. Turns out she was just making sure that it was me that booked the venue and I wasn't some random guy taking drone shots of the place...
Magnus (the male model) we found on Instagram @magnus.magneto and he was super excited to work with us on our shoot. Turns out he has acting and dancing experience as well to complement his modelling which turned out amazing since he embodied his role without hesitation. Spoilers: I really look forward to working with him in the future!
Natalie (the female model) met Alexa at BCIT when they both did the Interior Design program there. She was so amazing to work with and had the perfect look for what we were going for with the shoot. Considering this was her first modelling experience in film or photos, she did so great and we couldn't have been happier!
Ok, drone done, time to get to work with the film. We are planning on video to be quite a large part of Lex and Josh Photography since we embrace how powerful video can be when telling a story. Story should be at the forefront of all our photo shoots and we can't think of a better way to introduce the viewer to the story and the tone of the photos.
We started shooting in the gardens behind Hycroft manor, these were the scenes where Magnus is walking into the building. As this was our first shoot, I felt like we were being a little cautious with how many shots we thought we needed and therefore were definitely over shooting. Nevertheless we finished all our shots outside and even got a nice drone top-down shot of Magnus on the Hycroft stairs. We then packed up outside and headed inside to find that we only had 2 hours left...
Now I should explain, booking Hycroft is expensive especially for a company just starting out and we thought 3 hours was enough for our shoot. Also Magnus had to leave at 3pm on the dot because he had to go to work. All that meant that we were on a strict timeline and I could not believe that we just blew through an entire hour... Time to get to work.
The next hour was spent getting the rest of the shots on our story board as fast as we possibly could and believe me, we were rushing. Nothing had to be perfect, we just had to get it done. And sure enough we finished at 2pm with a whole bunch of video clips and exactly zero photos. Not exactly what you would expect for a team getting portfolio for their new photography company...
The finished film!
Panic does not even begin to describe how we were feeling. Things had gone past code red and into uncharted colour territory. Yet, wedding experience took over and I went confidently into overdrive. What's the point in worrying about how much time you have left, just focus on the photography and get some amazing photos. Thankfully Magnus and Natalie were also up to the task and we got to work.
For me, Hycroft is famous for 3 things: The Drawing Room, The Green Room, and the Terrace Staircase. It's also famous for being haunted, which we played with when deciding on our story, but I don't think that's the reason so many people get married here. We started shooting the couch in the Drawing Room infront of the fireplace. The glass doors along the wall provide amazing directional, natural light into the room and it looked perfect for this shot.
Next I brought them over to the glass doors to use more of that gorgeous light coming through. I tried to play with posing them quite separated from one another. This was both to add depth to the image and also keep with the story line (dead bride etc...).
The Green Room is an awesome location for a photo shoot. The ornamental green tiling around the room look gorgeous and the windows allow for beautiful silhouettes or awesome natural lit portraits. Using the Aputure Light Dome Mini with the grid attached, I was able to add a nice rim light to an otherwise great silhouette to create this shot.
The reason why the grid is important is so that the light from the flash doesn't spill out onto the green tiling and ruin that perfect colour. It also avoids those ugly shadows which is a definite plus! After that it was time to use that gorgeous natural light to take some portraits. Some with both of them and some just Magnus. It feels weird focusing on the guy so much instead of the girl because usually it's the bride that we are focusing on!
I saw some direct sun light hitting the wall and thought it would have a nice dramatic effect on Magnus' face. Sure enough, that direct sunlight chiseled out those cheekbones for an awesome portrait. It was interesting to see how small changes to the tilt of his chin resulted in drastic changes to how the light would hit his face. This forced me to slow down and focus on the details, getting just the right amount of light to enter his eyes and make those things pop!
Next location was outside on the Terrace staircase. These steps are awesome and a must for anyone who shoots at Hycroft. For close up shots, the shade provided was gorgeous but the wider shots definitely needed some help from a flash. Luckily the Aputure Light Dome Mini combined with the Godox AD200 provided just the right amount of directional light without looking fake. This is key for wide shots as obvious streaks of light distract from an otherwise lovely natural scene.
After a couple more shots with the two of them, Magnus had to run off to work leaving us time to work with Natalie. I brought her out to the gardens to do some portraits, using the sun as a hair/back light and using the Lastolite Trigrip reflector as a key. This is my first time using this reflector and I have to say I am a fan. Not only was it easy to use and maneuver but provided gorgeous light and full body coverage. I also love how this reflector has a white side and silver side only. No messy zippers and covers to fiddle around with.
And that's a wrap!!
We packed up and headed to Earls for lunch and to say thank you to Natalie and Miya who were helping us for free! I have to say I was exhausted after the shoot, drained, tired, and a bit of a zombie. Super excited for the images and video we produced but those were definitely going to have to wait for another day. I've had longer shoots then these but none that were as stressful since it held so much weight for us. This shoot had to go well not only because of the financial investment, but because we had to prove it to ourselves and to our friends/families that we could do it. It's a huge risk starting a company with your life partner and we certainly heard our share of criticisms.
Knowing in the end that it was all worth it, we both breathed a deep sigh of relief and slumped onto our bed ready for some rest...
...Isla had other plans
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