How My Gothic Chapel Idea Came to Life
I have had this idea swimming around in my head for years, but I could never find the right place to shoot it. First of all, Gothic chapels aren’t exactly on every other street corner in Los Angeles. And flying to Europe with my team was not an option due to budgetary limitations. Ha. That’s a joke……this was just an idea I had that I wanted to shoot so there was no budget, or in other words, I was taking care of the budget out of my own pocket. But as luck would have it, I ran into Naomi Burrows and I told her my idea and she was very excited about collaborating on it with me! So my little Gothic chapel was constructed out of side walls and props in the Out of Frame Studio just behind Calumet on Highland Boulevard, smack in the middle of Hollywood, California!
Working with a set builder is wonderful for many different reasons but one of the things I love most about it is being able to pick and choose which props they pull. Naomi would be out at prop houses and text me photos of beat up wooden church altars and I got to choose which beat up wooden church altar I wanted in MY shoot. Fabulous! I love that kind of control!
Shiffy Kagan lent her genius again with the styling. We had a few short phone calls, a few emails with mood/inspiration ideas bounced back and forth between the two of us and again, she pulled what I wanted and what I asked for as well as contributing her own brilliance with a few pieces and ideas. That is the definition of a good stylist. And I worked with Camille Clark for make up and Robert Mefford for hair. I really love working with Robert but it seems the last six months he’s in been in NY more often than LA. However, since my own move to NY, I hope I get to work with Robert much more! The whole team is with AIM Artists.
But what I found most interesting about this shoot was the last minute change I had to make to the lighting. After spending the better part of the early morning doing lighting tests, I wasn’t 100% happy with the results we were getting. The strobe effect was too bright, too “brashy”, especially for a dim, candle lit, small Gothic Chapel. The lighting had to reflect the period, or stay roughly close to the era. So what did I do? I jacked up my ISO to 1600 and turned off the strobe on the profoto power packs and shot with the modeling lights only. From the first couple of light tests on this set up, I was pleased. A little tweaking here and there ( I had to move my key light a little closer in to the models to get more light on them ) but we had it nailed.
I wanted to shoot a twisted little story and I needed models that could EMOTE! And thankfully, I got it! Enel from Next Models in LA and Masha from Fenton Moon in NY were my girls for this shoot and I took a bit of a gamble because I hadn’t worked with either one of them before. One thing I look for when I’m casting a model who I know needs to emote is I look for it in her book and if she has it, it’s a safer bet than a girl who appears she doesn’t move or emote a lot in her portfolio. I also ask their agents about them as well. And honestly, the best thing you can do when you’re casting for a certain something is to actually meet the model and see for yourself. For this shoot, I was very happy with both Enel and Masha. Both girls played off one another and moved really well. It was a joy to work with both of them.
KURV Australia picked up the story in August and I patiently waited until it hit the newsstands this month so I could share it with you. KURV is awesome! If you ever get the chance, buy a copy. The paper and the content are exquisite. Since they only publish 3 times a year, the magazine is more like a collector’s item. It really is a great magazine and I’m proud to be in it this month.
If I don’t get a chance to say it, Happy Holidays to everyone! And thanks so much for all the Facebook LOVE on my Birthday! That was truly heartwarming to read all the birthday wishes from all over the world. My blog readers rule! I’m really blessed to have such loyal and lovely readers!! God Bless. See you next year! xoxo