Creating a photograph - a team effort


This is one of my favorite images of model Joanne. While it may appear to be very simple, it actually took a total of 5 people to create it. It's a great example of how having a great team can make a big difference in a photo shoot.

Last year, Joanne mentioned to me that she wanted to do a shot with her ao dai, a traditional Vietnamese dress. She referred me to the website of another photographer to show me the style she was interested in. She wanted to have the image to show movement, since the material of the ao dai is so light and airy.

One of the images on the site she referred me to was a shot of the model walking through a field of tall grass. When Joanne was here for a shoot last September, we thought of doing a shot in the sugar cane fields. We ran out of time to do the shoot that time, so we agreed to do it during our next shoot the following year.

I looked all over the island to find a suitable and easily accessible location to do the shoot. when the day of the shoot finally came, I was still not sure where the best location would be.

We setup a base location to do makeup and hair at the college where I work at. To do Joanne's makeup and hair, we hired 2 of the best: Jessica Waite was our makeup artist and Karli Benedict was our hairstylist.

While they were getting Joanne ready, my friend Jennifer of Unique Art Hawaii was scouting possible locations while driving to our location. When she got to our location, she mentioned she had found 2 possible sites.

We packed up everyone and all our gear into 2 cars and headed out to check out the sites. Location #2 that Jennifer found proved to be the perfect setting for the shoot. We setup a laptop to check our images, got out a reflector for Jennifer to bounce some fill light onto Joanne, and we started shooting..

We tried several different variations. In between takes, Karli and Jessica would touch up Joanne's makeup, brush hair out of her face, and offer suggestions on different poses and ideas.

The image above came after about 2 hours of shooting, and was one of the last shots we took. This is where everything came together - model's pose, flawless makeup, beautiful hair, soft lighting from the reflector, and the camera lens. And it showed great motion from the wind.

The entire experience reinforced to me the idea that a successful image comes not just from the photographer, but from the combined efforts of a great team.