Here is an image from a bridal shoot I did in Stellenbosch, South Africa! Read more about the shoot here + check out more on the photographer + jewellery designer. Are you a budding model? I’ve written about some do’s + dont’s for getting started. I loved this hairstyle so much that I used it in my new headshots!
I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy a lot of modelling in my time. I’ve done work for clothing, lingerie and swimwear brands across South Africa. I’ve done work for hotel groups, television shows, automobiles, photography student projects, editorials and beauty shoots. I’ve been to Top Model UK in London as well as shot for fashion events in New York and Johannesburg. I remember my first “gig” was modelling a Phillip Treacy hat for a fashion event and I was very nervous. But after 3 years in the industry, here are some basic guidelines I can give any aspiring models. There’s no hard and fast rules, but these may help you.
+ Take comfortable clothes
Photoshoots take a long time to set up. Arrive in comfortable stuff that’s easy to slip on and off. You’ll be wearing it while they do your hair and makeup. Soft button-up blouses work, as do easy tracksuit pants and slops. You’ll change into these for lunch break and when you go home. As for what to wear underneath; nude bras and nude g-strings are a safe bet. Make sure you know what you’ll be modelling because if you need a backless bra, you don’t want to forget it!
+ Pack low-calorie snacks
Believe it or not, you get really hungry posing! It’s stressful finding the perfect position for lighting, as well as to show off the garment in the best way. You’ll want to have water and snacks nearby to see you through the day and to keep you in a good mood. You don’t want to be grumpy because you’re hungry, do you? Nice ideas: nuts, fruit, salad, crisps. Bring a kitbag with all your stuff in it.
+ Have a few stock poses you know you look good in
This is work and time is money. You can’t waste everyone’s time figuring out how to stand/sit/lie in order to look your best. All women know their “good side” and what angles work best for them. This is a strength. Play it up. Before you arrive on set for the shoot, practice taking photos at home in different poses figuring out your best side and best poses. Be aware of what shows off your assets and the clothing/jewellery/make-up/product in the best possible way. Use the timer on the camera or ask someone close to take of you. Of course if you have some experience in front of the lens, you’ll have a good idea of how to “pose” already.
+ Bend your body into positions that dont feel natural
Usually the positions that don’t feel natural are the ones that make us look the slimmest! If what you’re doing feels weird on set, it probably looks great on camera!
+ Have your headphones and good music on your cellphone
Setting up takes time. You’ll find yourself ready with clothes and makeup and have to wait. You’ll be waiting for the photographer to sort out his lighting. You’ll be waiting for other people doing the shoot with you to be ready. Either way, you want to keep upbeat and positive. Having good music and headphones with you is a must.
+ Get lots of photos while you work
It’s always handy to ask someone to snap you working. This is good for your morale and great for your marketing down the line.
+ Don’t do anything on social media while you work
Remember, there’s no rush to post anything anywhere there and then. Rather be professional on the day and concentrate on the job at hand. Any “update” can wait until you get home. It can wait until the job is over and you have time to sit and update on your social platforms, as well as interact with your audience.
+ Always credit your photographer, make-up artists and hair stylist
When you post the photos, it’s important to credit the photographer and the make-up/hair stylist. If they have social platforms, link back to them.
+ Make sure you’re within your contract
Legally you may be unable to post the photos or say anything about the job until the campaign/film/photoshoot has been officially “released”. If it’s a big job, you usually sign a contract with the company to keep everything secret until they say you can release stuff to the public. That makes sense. Keep professional and wait until it’s okay to release your stuff. This includes behind-the-scenes photos and photos with fellow artists/performers/models.
The next morning our protagonist wakes up in her hotel room with a red rose and a letter outside her door. It’s from her husband, apologizing for his affair and begging for her forgiveness. He confesses everything, along with the fact that he secretly flew in from his business trip in Vermont just to watch her show. In the letter he tells her how magnificent her performance was and how much he loves her and how sorry he is. He asks, with one single red rose, if she will accept his apology and forgive him. He writes about the dreams and plans for their lives together which they once had. He wants to re-ignite those dreams, as well as the flame between them. Our protagonist reads the letter and is taken back to a time when they were indeed very much in love and shared many dreams. She thinks about their memories and the passionate times they’ve shared together as she decides what she will do.
1. The Rose. Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. The red rose was also adopted as a symbol of the blood of the Christian martyrs. Obviously the rose is the perfect symbol of the love between our protagonist and her husband, as well as the beauty of their relationship. The red is associated with blood which is also poignant as blood is connected to life. It is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients around our body, as well as playing a role in removing waste from our system. In a way, this symbol represents that he wishes to remove the ‘waste’ that has accumulated in their relationship – culminating in the toxic affair. As blood also plays a role in repair in our bodies, so this symbol serves furthermore to represent his wish to take the first steps toward repairing the life they have together that has been wounded. Again, the red of the rose playing a role as a motif throughout our story. See it’s symbolism HERE.
2. Perfume. While she is relieved, she is unsure what to do. She wonders about whether or not she will forgive him as she gets ready. On her dressing table is everything beautiful, delicate, feminine and luxurious. It represents her inner self and the side of herself she is confident in, unlike their relationship which she is unsure of. We have her seated at her dressing table as she remembers all their loving times together. She sprays on her favourite perfume. It’s the same scent she was wearing when they first met, on a romantic rainy evening years ago, and this moment takes her back to that time. The definition of perfume is “A pleasing, agreeable scent or odor”, made up of the word “fuming” – To fill or permeate with fragrance; impart a pleasant odor to. This is symbolic as these memories are like a pleasing fragrance to a troubled mind. She thinks back to their gentle and sensual first kiss.
3. Music. Finally she makes her decision. She decides to forgive him and give their love another try. Her exuberance in spirit is matched only by her cheeky smile as she realizes that “she’s still got it!“. Her husband has chosen to stay with her over his mistress. There is a sense of triumph mixed with lighthearted relief. Their love is indeed the same beautiful song she’s remembered all along. We have her sitting next to a piano, with her smile at the outcome of her tragedy as the symbolic Crescendo in the musical score that was this story.
Here are some behind-the-scenes pics:
So I’ve just done another shoot with my favourite photographer Sarah Keogh. She is so professional with such a great eye and is very good at what she does!! I had a lot of fun with her on this shoot and also with Nina Thompson at Kinky Curly Straight Hair Design who did my make-up and hair. Together we shot a stunning editorial with a story about a passionate love. Our protagonist is an old hollywood theatre doyenne and as the story begins, she finds herself in a majestic opera house preparing for her performance in a few hours. She is decked in pearls, lace, fur and diamonds. She is surrounded by luxury, but as she walks through the gilded rooms she is torn inside. She knows her husband is having an affair. We have the first shots of her alone around the beautiful, golden theatre. She is angst-ridden and upset. She doubts herself, questions their love, worries about the future of a marriage she thought would never end. She feels betrayed, confused, unsure and lifeless. Yet, she knows she has to put on a mask for the world in a few hours when she performs on stage for hundreds of people. She puts her bravest face on for the world, while beneath she’s far from together. She wants to tell him the truth about her feelings, but decides it might be best not to. We have a rich surrounding of opulence on the surface with deeper layers of a less-than-lavish sadness.
I liked the symbology of the props we used:
1. Pearls. Pearls symbolize Purity, Spiritual Transformation, Charity, Honesty, Wisdom and Integrity, all the best within us. The woman in our story has always been faithful to her husband. She’s honest, pure of heart and values her own integrity as well as the integrity of the relationship. But now that’s all been thrown into question. She needs to believe it hasn’t all been for nothing. Through all the anxiety, she clings on to what she’s always held dear and appeals to her greater wisdom to make sense of it all and guide her to make the best decision for her future.
2. Gold. As well as being associated with power, strength and wealth, Gold is associated with the wisdom of aging and fruition. The fiftieth wedding anniversary is golden. Our precious latter years are sometimes considered “golden years”. The height of a civilization is referred to as a “golden age”. In the same way, our protagonist feels a connection to gold as she she feels she has grown up beyond her years. Her life has catapulted her into the limelight very quickly and she is experiencing her golden years at a young age. Through this she has attained great power, wealth, strength and influence. However, she has had to sacrifice her youth and naivety. She’s learnt hard life lessons that have pushed her spiritually, emotionally and psychologically beyond the age of her peers. As a result she feels alone in the world, with the red velvet settees her only companions.
3. The Mirror. Reflecting surfaces as well as the natural reflective surface of the water plays an important role in the religious concepts of many people. It is believed that somebody who gazes at his own reflection will lose his soul in the process. Therefore Narcissus, who was in love with his own reflection, was doomed. This was because his soul was ‘captured’. In many customs, in order to bar the dead from staying on earth, people veiled the mirrors in the death chamber (especially true in the Victorian era). This was to ensure that the soul of the departed would not get trapped behind the glass and be prevented from passing to ‘the other side. The woman in our story gazes at her reflection and it is symbolic of her feeling scared and trapped in the situation she’s in. She feels she can never escape. At the same time, she wonders if she would in fact want to, as it is a means of validation of her existence. If she escaped, she might fall into nothingness and cease to exist.
4. The Star. For centuries, the symbol of the star has been used to reference divinity, intuition, the feminine, hope and guidance. Stars offer the unique ability to guide us through the night. They can also refer to one’s need to discover their own inner light. Stars exists above us as well as within us. They encourage us to reach beyond our own egos and trust in something much greater than ourselves. The woman in our story has a star around her neck, representing she has found her inner light and values her intuition to guide her in times of darkness. This is one such time, with the problem of an unfaithful spouse, and she puts her trust in her inner spirit to give her hope and guidance.