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Behind the Scenes with of a Vintage Fashion Photo Shoot

By Darek Szwedo on September 8th 2014

During the summer, I had a chance to work with Jos Swinnerton who is a UK based fashion designer. The idea was simple, to shoot his brand new fashion collection  with a theme ‘Bright Young Things,’ based on a novel called Vile Bodies:

”The theme we were told to explore was Bright Young Things, which was a film based on the novel ‘Vile Bodies’. This was a story based on the 1920s and 30s that explored Bohemian and eccentric influences. The inspirations I took from this subject was the 1920s silhouettes with accents of Bohemian detailing. A result of this combination created a ‘Doctor Who’ styled collection, specifically the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. As a collection, I explored the colour palette of strong earthy colours that are identified as ‘vintage’, but to further develop this to fit the eccentric theme, I pursued a tonal palette for most of the outfits and then explored the flamboyance of the theme.”

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(MacBook Pro tethered to Nikon D800 with 24-70mm 2.8 + LaCie Backup)

On the day of the shoot, we had a small team consisting of:

Jos Swinnerton, the designer; Myself (Dariusz Szwedo): the Photographer; Jack Merriman, the model; as well as Steven Galloway who was our videographer and Lizzy Mazza, our MUA. Everyone did their best and in the end we ended up with a great editorial shoot. Below you can see few examples of the shoot.

The Location

After a meeting with Jos, where I was able to see some of the pieces in person, I was confident that it would be a great turnout. The only question left was, “where would we be shooting it?” Choosing the right location is crucial for shoot like this, but it turned out that Jos already had a place in mind, his grandmother’s house. At first, I wasn’t totally convinced, mainly because of the way it sounded when he said it to me… but after we have arrived, I knew why he chose that place. Not only the house, but also the garden was just beautiful, every single detail had a story to it!

[REWIND: MEN’S FASHION EDITORIAL WITH A SIDE OF JAMES BOND]

The Travelling Gentleman
The Travelling Gentleman

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The Props

Right after I walked into the house, I noticed several items that we could possibly use to our advantage e.g. the sliver lamp that you can see in the photo above. It had a very artistic yet delicate look to it, as well as the colour of it went very well with one of the pieces made by Jos.  In a way, all of the elements were putting themselves together as we were shooting!

As a photographer, you won’t always have all of the things you’d like to, but using your environment to your advantage can pay off. All you have to do is just pay attention to details, think outside the box.  Don’t forget that you can bring things with you too. For example, we brought some old books, vintage suitcases and even some scarves.  After looking around, we decided where we would be shooting, moving things around so that we could actually fit our equipment in the tight space. It turned out that we didn’t bring any light stands with us…I know, its embarrassing. We have all this Profoto equipment with us and no light stands. We had no choice but to get someone to hold the light, which in fact, I think it worked out a lot better anyway since there really was no space for us to place a Light stand.

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The Outdoor Portion

The last part of the shoot was outdoors and we just decided to shoot with natural light, no Profotos involved or even simple reflectors. The clouds were diffusing enough so we got quite lucky. After about 20 minutes, it started to rain, but that didn’t put us off ( I mean it’s the UK, what do you expect?). The rainy weather just meant that the makeup/hairstylist had to run out and do small corrections every few shots, but other than that the shoot turned out pretty well. Jos was a winner of a YDA and I’ve ended up with some great portfolio pieces and some amazing behind the scenes footage from Steven Galloway.

A Change in the Fashion Industry

This experience was different for me, because the experience of photographing a male fashion shoot is quite different from shooting females, which is what I am used to doing in my personal and commercial work. What I have noticed though is that over the past few years, male models are starting to distinguish themselves a lot more. There is still a huge influx from the female models, but men are starting to be recognized as creative icons as well. Recently, I came a cross an article which said:

”It’s the only industry in the world in which men are paid much less than women. Now the pressure is growing for catwalk boys to be as skinny and perfect as the girls. Is it worth it?” By Katie Glass The Sunday times Magazine

So, I believe it will be interesting to see the change of the fashion industry happening right in front of us.

Here are some more of the final images:

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For the full coverage of the shoot, more images and more info, click here.

CREDITS: All photographs are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

 

About

My name is Darek Szwedo. I’m 21, I was born and raised in Poland. At the age of 13, I moved out to the United Kingdom and 2 years later, I discovered photography. At the age of 17, I started getting into the advertising side of it and a year after that, I was totally consumed by it. I studied photography in college and am currently studying BA Commercial Photography at University of Derby. Apart from photography, I do plenty of retouching: advertising, composites, fashion as well as beauty – not just for my self but also for other brands/companies as well as teaching classes/courses. Several of my pieces of work have already been published e.g. Advanced Photoshop or Fashionista Magazine. See my work on: my website and blog.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Gene Gregory

    nice concept! hahaha got an idea for my next fashion shoot. thanks for the share

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  2. Dre Rolle

    Love the behind the scenes stuff. My girlfriend is a fashion blogger so I can try some of these setup with her. Merci beaucoup.

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  3. Rui Pinto

    Great work! Wish I had 21 and all this expertise ;)

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