I recently became aware of Shh by Sadie’s work, as a fellow Wellington designer I noticed she was stocked at many of the same shops that I am. I liked her stuff; it’s stylish, current, fun and playful. But what I noticed most about her work was how professionally it was photographed. She had models wearing it, in a ‘proper’ fashion shoot environment. I realised this was what was missing from my work, it seems like such an obvious step, I mean jewellery is meant to be worn, and when buying it it’s important (if you can’t try it on) to be able to see how it falls, hangs, or its size in relation to a person wearing it. Nothing gives you an idea of scale like seeing it worn; measurements on a page just aren’t the same.
Something about having my own photo shoot seemed too big and scary though. I mean where do you even start? How much would it all cost?! Eeep! The extent of my photography skills (although improved since I started) weren’t going to cut the mustard. So I decided the first step, like with everything else I set out to do, I sent an email. To Sadie (via her facebook page), asking her how she did it. I crossed my fingers that she would, living in my home town, be down to earth and happy to help out a fellow creator, and lucky for me she was! She broke down how easy it was if you were clever about it, looking around for Photographers who were keen to work cheaply or for free in exchange for having work to add to their portfolios… tips that that I hadn’t thought of. I had put photo shoot into the too hard box and as a result hadn’t thought of the solutions, I was too stuck on the problems. Then I did a bit of Pinterest searching for possible feels, compositions, clothing options, and before I knew it I had the majority of what I wanted in front of me. I had ideas for my current origami range, for a range I’m just about to launch –Ex Libris and for one I have made the jewellery for but haven’t launched or photographed yet – Major Tom. Before the overwhelm could get to me I singled out Ex Libris and decided it would be a good one to start with, to launch it right…
The first step for me was going through my Facebook friends to look for the right face for my brand. I also know a couple of quite talented photographers and had one in mind… I asked him, and was over the moon when he said yes. After doing a bit of research and discovering this article, I asked a friend who is quite talented in the art of make-up (both Halloween and beauty, although the former wouldn’t be needed on this occasion) if she would be my make-up artist. A make-up artist, now that is professional. I couldn’t believe it, it was all getting so real. The main hitch to my plan was that my preferred model was travelling around Europe and wouldn’t be home for several weeks… But she was so perfect I asked her anyway, once I got her face into my head she was my brand, I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it.
Gen’s European absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as up until a fortnight before the shoot I only had four items to photograph. Originally the collection was book earrings and book necklaces in two colours (black and brown). They looked great, and I was proud of them, but after all the organising I realised I would be insane to go ahead with a full on photo shoot for only two items, so added cuff links and brooches to the mix and rounded it out by adding colours (five colours for each item in leather and one animal conscious vinyl option). I’m so glad I did and I’m so proud of the results.
Adding cuff links to the equation also added a new element… a male model! Going for the 100% free approach I asked my handsome husband and was very lucky he said yes, as usually he doesn’t like having his photo taken! We also photographed the brooches on both models as they are a unisex item.
In the end my make-up artist friend was unavailable but Gen did a great job of her own make-up and it all worked out on the day. Funny that having the jewellery, model and photographer didn’t make me feel professional enough till a make-up artist was on board.
Looking back over the process the hardest bit was narrowing down the 766 photos to a manageable *ahem* hundred… I’d highly recommend the process and I plan on repeating it with the Imogen Wilson origami range and the upcoming Major Tom collection… I just need to find ‘the face’ of each… Now that I have these delicious photos I’m one step closer to releasing my new range, hopefully this week, watch out world… it’s coming!