"Raven" fashion shoot from A to Z

"Raven" fashion shoot from A to Z
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Here is my first article on a fashion shoot from A to Z, on this series of articles I will explain how I proceed from the search for the theme, the place, my selection of material, clothing to editing .

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- Find his team
- Make a moodboard
- Choose your equipment
- Make up, hairs and style
- Spot the places
- In action
- Editing

Find his team

To make fashionable photos, we need a team. It is possible to meet artists via social medias (Instagram, Facebook, Model Mayhem) by offering them photo shoot sessions. You can also join a young team in a webzine with a story you have imagined or a theme imposed, it’s a great way to find motivated people and exhibit photos.

We will need most of the time a makeup artist / stylist. Everyone has a very important role, and we must make sure that the basic theme is respected and understood by everyone.

For the shoot "The raven", I had a small budget, the stylist, Masan, is a friend of mine, who knows designer and he could ask them clothes for free. Without stylist it's a little complicated, but I could have gone to a shop to ask for outfits in exchange for exhibiting the photos on social medias with a link to their store.

For makeup and hairstyle, I paid someone named Wata, for a hundred dollars who has very good skills, it's very important to have a good makeup and a beautiful hairstyle, without that it would have been impossible to respect my theme.

The model is a girl named Nina that I had the opportunity to take a picture a few weeks ago, she is in an agency which is, for me, a criterion of quality in terms of pose and beauty. It’s quite possible to ask an agency if a young model is available free for editorial type photos.

Make a moodboard (make up, hairs and style)

The moodboard is an obligatory way, so that the whole team can understand what we have in mind, it’s about one or more pages with photos of example of pose, makeup, hairstyle and style.

The model is usually aware of the moodboard on the day of the shoot, so we must take advantage of it during the briefing, explain what role the model will have to play, and at the same time the other artists will be able to fully imagine what it will must do in terms of style, makeup and hairstyle.

The moodboard I did was quite simple, I (very badly) drew what I had in mind, with poses found on the internet and the photos I took during my scouting. It looks like this:

Then in the group I created on a social media, I sent photos of references, which do not necessarily have to be respected to the letter, because I don’t like to break the vibe of creation of my mates ! Besides the day of the shoot, the hairdresser offered me something that I had not imagined.

Here are the reference images:

Choose your equipment

The photography stuff must be chosen carefully, it is not useful to take everything we have but rather focus on what really needs.

For this shoot I took : 

- Fujifilm XT-1
- 48mm lens
- 1 portable torch with tripod
- 1 octobox
- The sun

The Fujifilm XT-1 is a very light camera with good quality, it’s very easy to move with and have a direct rendering of the photo from the digital viewfinder. With its 35mm (which becomes 48mm with the APS-C sensor) it forces me to move forward, backward, to avoid zooming, or zoom out.

The sun was my main source because available almost everywhere that day, I had to find the right angles, good poses to have the most impacting pictures possible with a natural light.

I used the octobox to have a good shutter speed in the shadows areas, and give me a soft light. I used it exclusively for that, it is always better to favor the sun as the main source, and play with shadows and contrasts.

The strobe must come to add something that you really miss, which mean in a dark place, or come to emphasize the silhouette.

Spot the places

I love to walk around to spot places, and imagine photo shoots. One night I spent about 5 hours on the streets of Tokyo, in the Shinjuku district, when I found a place with very little passage, small streets, electric cables and greenery.
Hearing crows I quickly imagined a model dressed in black in dynamic poses in this magical place.

So I started to write the moodboard, looking for images that suits to what I had in mind. The photographer Txema Yeste is a source of inspiration in the poses, the dynamism and the enhancement of the woman, I looked at these last works and I was inspired by it.

On the day shoot, we rented a co-working space to prepare the model. While the makeup artist / hairdresser took care of the model, with Masan, the stylist we went back to the places I spotted before, and we found a rather unusual place, a kind of small dump in the middle of the city.

Once returned to the co-working space, I showed the pictures of places and poses
to Nina, explaining exactly what I expect from her. This is essential to save time during the shoot.

At least we had as a place:

- A temple
- Discharge
- A small winding street
- A parking

In action

Octobox climb, model prepared, go!

For settings, I invite you to watch this article, but on this shoot I was always at minimum ISO, with a speed of 1/180, in order to be able to close the diaphragm to the maximum (f / 11-f / 16) When I wanted to have a shallow depth of field, I increased to the maximum speed to compensate.

We went directly to the Temple, which was a beautiful place full of greenery, I imagined for this photo a spiral composition, I asked the model to back her shoulder and bend her arm to make a kind of wing. The light is natural, she turned her face towards me to have beautiful shadows, and have a dynamism on the composition.


Then we went to the dump, and the light came from above, so Nina had to lift her face and turn her body to create pretty shadows. We still improvised the poses, because the space was so messy, so let her go a little. She leaned on a chair and I asked her to act as if she was taking off!

On this one I raised my camera to take the picture while diving, which gives the impression that it is lying on the ground. Her pose makes me think of a kind of witch. The sun always coming from the top, the bending will come to light half of his face and plunged the other side in the dark. Here the strobe was of useless utility.

Speaking of a witch, I looked around, and saw an old building, so while Nina was going up the stairs, I sneaked her picture, as if we were in The Blair Witch Project movie.

Once arrived at the top, she was incredible, with the contrast between her and the sky, she managed to offer me THE picture I was waiting for this session.


Then we went to an old Japanese street, I asked Nina to jump as if she wanted to attack her prey, this is one of the only times I needed my octobox, because we were in the shade and that was absolutely necessary to freeze the movement, and her face should be enlightened.

Beside that, Masan, the stylist saw a plant, and he told me that there was surely a dog or cat buried there. And as in Japan the raven can represent death, Nina took a rather peaceful and touching pose.

I absolutely wanted a moving picture, or one does not understand much, but offers a beautiful contrast between model, clothing and environment. I lowered my shutter speed, and while Nina was spinning in all directions, I shot in a burst while turning my camera also in all directions.

On the last place, the car park, I saw 2 interesting elements, a blue fillets, which serve to prevent the crows from eating in the garbage, so it was mandatory to use it in one or two compositions!


On the first she bent over the side, then I used the flash with octobox, in order to properly light his face and have the color of the fillet.

The second is in natural light, depending on the angle of her face, Nina had her face in the shadows, so I asked her to turn in several directions until she caught a ray of sunshine.
This image is interesting, because as you have seen, the blue fillet gives the impression of being a dress, then the shape of the black held, is quite strange, with straight lines.

Finally the last one, I saw old barbed wire, which allowed to have a picture that looks like an image for a film.


Once back home, I unloaded my memory card, and then reviewed the photos on Lightroom. Starting from the first, I scroll through the photos and put 1 star on those that seem good to me, then I selected the photos with a 1 star, but this time by providing a correction of color, light, clarity, sharpness and I put 2 stars to the one that stand out.

I always have a pre-setting, which looks like the next picture, it fits my way of taking pictures, my settings and to my camera. In order to save time I recommend you to have a pre-setting that allows you to have an idea of ​​the final rendering. There is just a need to correct the white balance.

From there, I put 3 stars if the photos that are really worth it :
The pose is good
The exposure and the light are perfect
The forms created dynamism in the composition

Then you have to choose one or two photos by locations, in order to have the best of the best!

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