behind the scenes: gmm with amber
giveaway is closed: the winner is Sophia Moore!
Brandi and I have been friends for years and years. She’s been my best friend and, kind of unintentionally, we both realized she was good at styling.
So over the couple of years that I offered Give Me Moore workshop, we really fell into a groove that worked for both of us. Brandi’s been amazing! I love working with her and seeing what comes out of her brain. It’s always fantastic!
Once a month, we share one of our Give Me Moore sessions so you can see a little of the behind the scenes. Brandi shares her behind the scenes on the concept and styling. I share my behind the scenes as far as what was going on in my head as I was photographing.
what inspired you for the concept of this shoot?
Well I originally wanted to make an entire dress made of magazine paper, but realized once I got into it that I didn’t start the process soon enough.
I probably started the week before & honestly that could have taken an entire month -depending on how intricate you wanted it to be.
The inspiration came from a photo I had seen online of a dress made out of newspaper so that got me to thinking & I decided to try my hand at magazine paper- it was a naive, but daunting task:)
tip for you: be brave; try something you’ve never done and just trust yourself to do what it takes to figure it out
By this time our GMM sessions had gotten some steam & gotten some attention – so models started submitting their photos and info to me. I just kept them on file & when I was looking for a certain look I would call them.
This is the case with Amber- to my knowledge she hadn’t had any modeling experience prior to this- and I was obsessed with her pixie haircut & frame. So I thought she would be a great fit for this shoot!
tip for you: start keeping a file of models that you could contact
how do you organize getting ready for a session?
I’m not a systematic person. As in a A+B=C, nope that’s not how my brain functions. To me the more elements I have to choose from the better -at least with photo shoots that’s the case:)
So I make sure all the big bases are covered like: the model, the location, the style, & then from there I let the natural creative process flow.
I always, always had a GMM bag handy though aka my “bag of tricks” tools: hammer, nails, duck tape, pliers, safety pins, huge industrial strength clip binders, extension cords, rope, chains, zip ties etc you get the idea… Anything that I may possibly need for day of shoot, I made sure I had.
It was my saving grace & I never went anywhere without it! My GMM Bible I guess you could say:)
tip for you: remind yourself that you don’t HAVE to know everything ahead of time; start taking steps and trust that the next step will show up when you need it
We shot this particular session out at our good friend Heather Sue’s home/farm.
You might remember Heather from a few blog posts back where y’all interviewed her about her epic life- & yes she really is that cool!
But back then we had just met “Sue” through her best friend & photo partner Katie the other “Sue” of the dynamic “Two Suez Photography” team! (They actually live out on a massive amount property where they share a driveway and are neighbors!)
I knew from the first time of visiting out there that we would shoot out there someday because the land is just breathtaking- so much so that Kelly is actually in the process of building right behind them!
Anyway… I digress:) BUT I say all that to say that their farm is magical! So we couldn’t wait to get out there and shoot!
tip for you: don’t be afraid to ask a friend if you can shoot at their home
how did you make the magazine pieces?
I literally took some old magazines and started tearing pages out & just started playing with them- eventually I got the idea of get a cardboard collar – like they give you for your collared shirts if you were to get them dry cleaned- and attached them to that.
I can’t remember if I pinned them or glued them but I remember it being “rigged” for sure!:)
tip for you: don’t worry about something being perfect; trying to figure it out is the first step
where did you find the clothes for this shoot?
The top was actually a vintage bathing suit I had thrifted along one of my thrifting journeys- & the tulle skirt was something I snagged at like Forever 21 or some other lil place in the mall- and the head piece I already had the base, I just added to it.
tip for you: start browsing thrift stores looking for inspiration; if you find something that inspires you keep it in your studio, where you can see it, so that it can inspire you to action
what three tips do you have for creating a similar session?
- Be Fearless! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box -be brave and push yourself to think creatively- if you can dream it- you can achieve it!
- Just Do it! Next, be a creative problem solver-think through what you may possibly need or what may possibly could happen. For instance… It started raining this day and I started freaking out about the paper getting ruined… So I looked around and saw and old shipping container sitting on their land & not being used. I asked heather if we could shoot in there- she actually had a few photo props stored in there so I just set up a little scene inside the shipping container- using what I had! Which is the scene of her laying on the vintage sofa! And I had thrifted pretty much all of the clothes.
- Networking with friends about what cool locations or resources they might have that they could make available to you. That’s pretty much how We pulled off all of these -friends! Life really is all about relationships!
tip for you: choose one of the tips above and make it your mantra today
what was your favorite part about planning/doing this session?
I think seeing the vision I had in my head come to life!
Our imaginations really are something special and unique! Grateful that I get to “work” and do what I’m passionate about- I mean if you don’t love what you do what’s the point?
I would literally die if I were in a profession that I couldn’t be free to be creative- so I realize how blessed and fortunate I am -to get to do what I love most with the people I love most! It’s a beautiful thing:)
tip for you: let yourself dream and then make it happen in some small way; take the first tiny step toward it today
what lighting set up did you use for the photo of her standing in the tall grass?
I used my standard 2 off-camera camera speed lights. The one coming from her right side (my left), notice it is yellow. I was experimenting with little gel inserts over my flash. This one was yellow.
tip for you: do something you’ve never done at your next session; try a gel or a new lens or a new angle or get closer than usual or more far away than usual
We photographed this inside a shipping container. So, like I have talked about before, this gave us subtracted light. All the light was being subtracted on every side, and being forced in only through the opening in the pod. This gives very beautiful light!
tip for you: find a location where you can practice subtractive lighting; search for a cave, a garage, a storage crate, somewhere that makes you do something you’ve never done
what did you say to your Amber to get her to look at the camera with so much feeling?
how did you get her to do such awesome poses and look so relaxed at the same time?
This is such a tricky question! Working with your subject is always a delicate dance.
Obviously, Amber feels comfortable in front of the camera, And she takes instruction well. I also give a lot of instruction and I’m always careful to tell my subjects exactly what I want from them.
Sometimes, you just have the perfect storm when you have a model or a client who is comfortable in front of the camera, takes your instruction well, and magic happens!
tip for you: give careful instructions and ask for specific looks and emotions when you’re coaching a model or subject during a session
did you have all of these shots planned out in your head before you got to the shoot?
No! Never! Brandy had the outfit planned out, as well as the location. From there, pretty much everything we do happens organically once we get going.
tip for you: allow yourself to be spontaneous and not having everything planned out as you shoot, let yourself have fun
did you have a plan for going to these locations?
Yes! Brandi always scouts out the locations before the shoot. I don’t like to have everything mapped out, but it always gives me peace of mind to know Brandi has a place for us to start shooting.
tip for you: start scouting around town, go into businesses or locations and tell them who you are and why you totally love their shop or gardens, become friends with them so that they day you want to collaborate with them, they will know who you are
as you were going through the editing process, how did you know which images to keep?
I edit fast and go with my gut instinct. Even before I begin editing, I know in my mind what we nailed during the shoot.
When in doubt, I will get a second opinion.
tip for you: listen to your gut when editing, don’t overthink it!
What kinds of things do you say to yourself to make sure
you’re getting a great variety of images so that they don’t all look the same? Or don’t end up shooting the same poses just with different backgrounds?
I have a mental checklist that I go through when I am shooting. It’s almost like a math equation… If I have five lenses, which will give me five different perspectives, I know with changing my lenses, changing where I shoot from, and changing poses, this is naturally going to give me a wide variety of photographs.
I always strive for the final product to have a very wide range of perspective and emotion.
tip for you: make your own checklist, write it out and slip it in your camera bag
how do you come up with so many different poses?
I usually start with one pose, and one will lead to another and then another. I try not to get to laser focused in one space and one look… unless I have something very specific I’m trying to capture.
tip for you: create a list of 10 poses that you can fall back on a moment’s notice no matter what location you’re in
what was your favorite thing about this shoot?
Everything! The model was wonderful to work with, and Brandi’s styling was so unique. It made for a very fun shoot!
tip for you: start looking for someone or praying for someone that could be your creative best friend, who loves creating and styling and who would be up for trying new things
best kelly moore bag for a styled session
The Libby is the perfect Kelly Moore Bag to bring to your next styled session. Not only does it hold your camera gear, it has plenty of room for the things that Brandi mentioned like hammer, nails, duck tape, pliers, safety pins, huge industrial strength clip binders, extension cords, rope, chains, and zip ties. Click here for more details about The Libby.
Globe trotting. Creative type. Bon Vivant. Design Enthusiast. Salsa Fanatic. Unicorn Chaser. Somewhere Between Beyoncé & Dolly Parton. Glitter is my favorite color.
hiiiiiiii!!! I’m Brandi, some folks call me B or Gypsy Rose…. I hail from “magic town” ( Ruston, LA) but currently reside in West Monroe, LA- where I have dreams of owning a Tiny House Farmhouse Treehouse:) you can usually find me frequenting one of the area’s many junk stores/thrift stores. In my everyday life I’m a creative director/stylist & Director of Operations at Laminin Jewelry by Missy Robertson. I love to work hard and play harder:) please make a point to stop by so I can hug your (virtual) neck and hear all about your mama and ’em:)
Facebook: Brandi Brownlee Howard
Email: [email protected]
tip for you: go follow Brandi right now and get inspired by the way she lives life!