photo: Bjørn Christiansen, Eileen K. Røst – Fashion Editorial
Cheating photography! It might be that I shoot my self in the leg this time, but photographing many kinds of pictures involves cheating a bit. This might be one of the more simpler way to cheat making something impossible look very natural. First I am going to tell the story behind this picture, then I’ll continue with the technical stuff.
This is a shot I did for my final exam at Norsk Fotofagskole in the spring of 2011 at Øysand in Melhus. The task was to photograph a fashion editorial that had a travel theme. I am a bit of a film geek so I arranged a series based on the story about Bonnie & Clyde doing bank robberies. Though my series was focused a bit more of the fashion-telling.
First of all I needed to find a good location for the shoot. I needed something flat and anonymous with no clear references. Øysand in Melhus is a spot I’ve been doing a lot of my work lately and it kind of fit my idea, with some basic tweaking quite well. Next up was casting models for this shoot. In my whole series I used Kofi G from Trend Models and Eileen Røst who is mainly a hair dresser.
And finally the requisites for the shoot, a gun and a briefcase full of money. It might be that you’ve heard that you shouldn’t counterfeit money, and it’s true. Don’t do it, unless it is just for photo- or video making or other theatrical relations. First of all, I went online and downloaded high resolution images of 1$ bills, made an A4 template with six or eight copies of the dollar-bill image on and printed just one a bunch of copies, cut them out and made bundles of money.
The Second part I did was getting a briefcase that I cold store the fake money and have the model dragging around in my shots. Clas Ohlson had some cheap, but great looking briefcases that fit great. At last I bought two used airsoft guns off an user at Finn.no. All in all the requisites cost around 350NOK (around ). I also had a friend lend me a Porsche completing the idea of having my models traveling.
The day came for my shoot, the sunny weather with harsh shadows I had hoped for never came. Instead it started raining and the set was quite the opposite of what I had planned. When nothing seems to work out as it should go for your second plan. If you don’t have a second plan, make the best out of the main plan.
The last scene in my series I had planned that my female model was escaping from the police and that the briefcase opened and all the money flew off into the air. Since I couldn’t afford renting extras dressed up as police officers I framed my shot as they were about to come into the picture. In real life we didn’t have much wind to play with, my counterfeit money was soaked because of the rain and the two tests we did before this final shot. It was then my assistant Sascha Njaa came into play suggesting that I should take a bunch of shots of the model dropping the case without the money flying, and afterwards shooting some photos of him throwing the money up in the air doing some cutting and pasting in post production. And that is what we finally did.
Shooting double exposures is one way to merging two photos together, another one is to shoot two different shoots and merging them together in post productions. An important thing you need to remember doing these shots is to not move your camera between the shots. The perspective could change and make the second image look weird when combined to the first one.
A little summary of what you should do if you plan a photo shoot is make a plan, make a mood board, find out what you need, what location, what mood, who should be the model and the extras, bring an assistant, bring food, have a plan B, make the best out of it if everything else fails. Cheat. It is a planned scene, it is not documentary showing the real world. If it adds value to your shot, it is worth it. Keep it real or way out there.