Story Time: Behind the Scenes of Great Gatsby Photo Shoot Tuesday 13 November, 2012
What now seems like ages ago, I hopped a flight to Los Angeles to execute Nailpro‘s Fall 2012 nail polish beauty editorial, “Tinted Love.” I always enjoy conceptualizing a shoot and then bringing it to fruition, even though I turn into a rabid stress ball during the two weeks leading up to the shoot. I […]
What now seems like ages ago, I hopped a flight to Los Angeles to execute Nailpro‘s Fall 2012 nail polish beauty editorial, “Tinted Love.” I always enjoy conceptualizing a shoot and then bringing it to fruition, even though I turn into a rabid stress ball during the two weeks leading up to the shoot. I wanted to share the behind the scenes of the shoot with you here. Without further ado…
I always set up my rainbow of nail polishes prior to the shoot. For one thing, it allows me to trend-spot the colors of the season (there were a ton of pumpkin hues—more than the norm—and a heavy dose of metallics and greys) with ease. I always feel bad that the cleaning lady at our office has to vacuum around this mess.
We pulled a gorgeous array of art deco-esque dresses. Some of them weighed an ungodly amount.
I love laying out the accessories for a shoot, but I don’t have an assistant, so the inevitable clean-up always gives me nerves. I often start packing up halfway through the shoot, when I’m pretty certain of what will and won’t be considered for the last two shots.
I mixed both vintage and new pieces, mostly of the pearl or diamanté variety. That Tom Binns ginormous bracelet on the right-hand side was a favorite. Sometimes you fall for pieces and you are determined to get them shot. This was one of them.
These headbands! Absolutely gorgeous…but, our model, Britni Stanwood, wore one across her forehead for the second shot, and then had an imprint in her skin for the remainder of the day. She didn’t complain, though, considering the headband must have been on the tighter side. Not once.
Don’t you just want to dip your makeup brush in all of these vibrant colors?
We conducted our photo shoot at a house, and we thought it would be nice to set up outside. And it was nice…at the start of the day. But as the temperature rose, we all were sweating our pants off. This is makeup artist Johny Saade working on Britni for the first look—pre-major-sweating mode.
The quiet before the storm…of shooting. I think we all wanted to jump in the pool behind her.
An assembly of metallic nail polishes, with bronzes being the front runners. I always bring several large color groups with me to shoots. You never know what is going to read well on the page, so you always need options. Tons and tons of options.
Manicurist Lisa Jachno, who works with a gazillion high-profile ladies, most notably doing Lady Gaga‘s nails for her recent Vogue September 2012 cover, shows me what some of the polish looks like on her nails, while Nailpro executive editor Stephanie Yaggy-Lavery looks on. We’re always making decisions. It looks like this was a fun one.
My favorite dress and me—another item I was determined to have shot. Sometimes you have to campaign to make it happen. In this one’s case, it was unanimous that it was awesome. But, there’s always that moment of panic it won’t look great on the model—that the fit will be frumpy or too small; that the dress will make the model look like a bag lady. The less pinning you have to do (and you always have to pin; it’s just a reality), the better.
First shot: Pinning from me and last-minute hair joojing from hairstylist Cristophe Saluzzo.
I always think back to the olden days, when you couldn’t see what the photographer was shooting as it was being snapped. We used to get contact sheets a week after the shoot, and sit with magnifying loops and a red wax pencil, and mark what we love. In some ways, those days were better; the shoot went faster in some respects. But in other ways, sometimes you were left scratching your head when the contact sheets came back to you. Sometimes that still happens. There’s something about being on set that gets your adrenaline pumping, and you think everything looks marvelous. Then you see the shots later, and you wonder…(just being honest here).
What would a Great Gatsby-themed shoot be without a Gatsby? (P.S. This dress weighed a ton.)
The ombré burgundy lip! You know I wanted that one. And that dress pin Cristophe is affixing to Britni’s hair I found in Portbello Road Market in London, one of the greatest places to find vintage jewelry. Glad I finally got to use it.
This shot collection was easily my favorite—mainly because three of the things I pulled for made it into the image: the dress, the bracelet and the ombré lip. Love!
The last shot of the day is when the crew loses it. Some go a little nuts; some get increasingly grumpy (me). Britni, luckily, fell into the fun-loving nuts category. Here, she poses gamely for me. P.S. How amazing is that Sue Wong dress? She does the coolest modern takes on art deco fabulousness.
I always love the shot within a shot!
Two days later, and I’m looking at the contact sheets. Not with a loop, mind you, because later we’ll look at our chosen shots side by side on a huge computer screen, zooming in and out for clarity. Shot selections are picked; we sit down and argue them out. Then I set to work weaving a story, thumbing through The Great Gatsby for reference points that I can somehow link to nail polish. The rest is published history!
What is your favorite look from this shoot?