I’m going to give something new a try here. While doing this fabulous shoot with Lover for her new album my niece happened to be in town and wanted lend a hand and see what the hell I actually do for a living. Part way through the shoot I asked her what she though and she said something along the lines of, ‘I didn’t know ALL this went into getting one shot.’ Sometimes one image can take hours of behind the scenes prep and work to nail the lighting, props and pose. Tiny tweaks here and there make dramatic changes and since my saying has long been, ‘I don’t take pictures, I CREATE images,’ I might as well share a bit about what that means.
Amanda aka Lover and I were having drinks with our mutual friend several months back. We weren’t there to talk about a photoshoot but at some point, we started talking about the new album she was working on. Amanda mentioned she had taken some images for the cover but they just weren’t working the way she wanted. I asked what her to tell me more about her music, since I had never heard her work before. I quickly learned she was a classically trained opera singer who loves her keytar! An image immediately popped into my head and I blurted out, ‘obviously you should be naked on a fur rug with your keytar covering you.’ She exclaimed, ‘OMG, YES,’ and we got a date on the books right then or there.
Of course, when it came time for the shoot, we didn’t immediately jump to dropping her clothes. You have to work up to that, as you can see in the video above. We started with a simple teal backdrop, one of her favorite colors, and worked to create a variety of shots she could use outside of the final album cover. We tested several ideas and, of course my mannequin ended up in there too. What you don’t see from these images or the video is, it isn’t just me and Amanda making this all happen. Three other people were helping that day, adjusting lights, blowing a fan to hit her hair just right and blowing bubbles to create more dimensional images. Thanks Cheryl, Olivia & Justin!
As the shoot progressed on, it became apparent that the background needed something else. We loved the teal but wanted to tie in her other favorite color, pink. This of course is the one gel color I didn’t have for my strobes. I started hunting through the house for something pink I could put over one of my lights. If you know me, you know that I love pink in my photos but no so much in my everyday life. I was struggling until I remember that I had bought some pink tights for my mannequins. Yes, my mannequins have their own wardrobe, don’t judge me. We threw the tights over one of the lights and the scene was instantly transformed. Now that our scene was set, Amanada was warmed up and we had enough varying images for her to use outside of the cover shot, we were ready to shoot the naked keytar scene!
Amanda was a trooper through the slightly uncomfortable squat/balancing act we had to put her through to make the keytar sit just right as we covered everything. We had fans and canned smoked blowing at her as we made minor adjustments to get the right shot. All in all, we were able to accomplish all of this in roughly four hours. By the end, we were exhausted, sweating (our shoot fell on a rare, extremely hot Portland summer day) and accomplished.
So there you have it, a bit into the behind the scenes process. I’m trying to be better about taking more photos of my actually lighting setup for future shoots. Let me know what you think of posts like these or what else you would like to hear more about! And, if you or someone you know wants to do a shoot, please reach out! I would love to meet up and talk ideas. It doesn’t even have to be over a drink but it certainly can be!
And, don’t forget to check out Lover’s new album Vow, if you haven’t clicked through to it yet! You can also see just how she put these images to use on her website!