I shot this story in Costa Rica on a ranch for Hello! Fashion Magazine, a monthly fashion magazine based in London. The western theme had been assigned by the editor and I’ll admit - in the beginning I was a little worried about how my feminine approach to fashion photography would compliment this editorial story. The editor wanted to create a cinematic approach; to accomplish this, I decided to shoot many of the shots in landscape format and on my 50mm to give a feel for the environment and atmosphere. Karolina Wallace, our model, was perfectly cast because she embodied the bohemian vibe well, and expressed a wide range of emotion. Her confidence in front of the camera made the story even more inspiring to shoot.
We were tackling the majority of the elements - bright midday sun and wind (two photographer nightmare scenarios) and at the end of the day we all left with sand mustaches and sand and dirt in our hair that stayed with us for days after we left. There was a limited amount of space at the ranch and the majority of the shots we had to shoot later in the day when the sun was in golden hour - which suited the theme of the story. Whilst the sun was at it’s highest, we chose to shoot on the ranch porch and the old car. In the car we were also battling a group of howler monkeys who had taken over the mango trees above us to eat. Now and again a mango would hit the roof of the car and the tin roof beside us and we would all run for cover!
We didn’t shoot with lighting because we wanted to approach it as naturally as possible with the ‘actress’ in her element. Instead, we decided to use reflectors and scrims to bounce or diffuse the light.
What did I learn? I love the quote ‘never get comfortable or comfortability is the enemy of innovation’. Had this been a shoot I had planned or pitched to a magazine - I would never have chosen something so different from what I’m usually inspired by. The shoot found it’s place in my portfolio and is one of my favorite shoots of 2015 so far.
Whenever I’m approached by photographers or other creatives and I’m asked the question ‘how do you get inspired’? I tell them - first look into what you’re personally inspired by. Personal inspiration will ultimately be the defining point in your style. Shoot what you love and the rest will follow. The biggest lesson I was taught this year is to look outside of the obvious and don’t be afraid to let others put inspiration in front of us. You will always learn something.