Apologies that the final part of this series has taken a while to get published.
Back in December I left you at the Eiffel Tower after shooting some fashion at dusk, well not physically of course. The plan was to head back to the hotel, change outfits, hair and make-up and shoot some classic black and white on the streets of Paris after dark.
As we headed out of the centre of Paris singing along to Tina Turner I missed the correct exit off the Periphique and we found ourselves in the mysterious world of the A86 duplex tunnel. It was totally deserted and with it’s low ceiling it had a real science fiction feeling.
Now granted the area that our hotel was in was a bit out of the centre but after Vicki and I took a stroll by the river to scout some locations a rather anxious looking hotel security guard came running out asking us to come back inside. After a quick explanation of what we were doing he informed us that we were in one of the most high risk areas of Paris and walking around with a model and camera gear etc. after dark was inviting disaster.
He suggested the only safe areas after dark were around the main tourist attractions. We decided to head back towards the Eiffel Tower and see what we could find. Our route took us along the Boulevard de Clichy, home of the Moulin Rouge. The traffic was total grid lock and we sat for the best part of an hour to cover about a mile. As we neared the Moulin Rouge it became increasingly scary with gangs of youths hanging around on each corner just staring at every car. Jen and Donna were hidden behind the black glass in the back but Vicki and I felt very vulnerable up front. Eventually we got to the Moulin Rouge and an excited Jen grabbed a camera phone shot through the car window. I think the black glass must have been the equivalent of a strong ND filter but amazingly her phone captured it.
At this point I took an executive decision and decided to abandon the mission, we returned to the hotel along some very seedy back streets. I was ready for bed as it was way past midnight but the girls were keen to make use of the styling. They suggested doing something in one of the hotel rooms. I have to admit to not being very keen as they were quite small and very basic. However I gave in to the popular opinion and ended up with the four of us crammed into my room.
Jen did a fabulous job of interpreting that motel room mood, Donna’s styling was ace and added to the feel. These were all shot on the D3 at ISO 2500. I used the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 wide open with shutter speeds between 1/45th and 1/250th sec all hand held. The light was just the ambient in the hotel room, no fill.
So, despite the set backs we got some great images and something a little different for Jen.
We had decided to use the Louvre as our location for our Saturday morning shoot but made a quick detour to the business district on our way there. It’s an area I will definitely visit in the future for a photo shoot, there are some amazing buildings including La Defense.
One of the problems with our visit was parking on location but I was delighted to discover there is now an underground car park under the Louvre, ideal for models to change in!
These were shot near to the famous glass pyramid, it looks deserted but we had to wait for a coach load of Italian tourists to pass before we could grab a few shots. Lighting is pretty much ambient with a touch of fill from an on camera flash.
The beautiful gown was another lent to us by Karen Taylor.
Before we did the final outfit change for the weekend I shot a couple of head shots showing the amazing hair and make-up that Donna had created. Surprisingly for September it was blazing hot with a beautiful clear sky and it was mid-day, photographers nightmare! I headed off to find some open shade and found a small area under a tree surrounded by hedges. I balanced the dappled light with just a smidgen (technical term!) of fill flash from an SB900 on camera, and, as they say – Voila!
There is a post I wrote a while back that shows a before and after edit from this set, you can view it HERE
For the final set I wanted to capture something that felt like true Parisian Dior Chic, and what better than a neet little dog’s tooth jacket from, err, Asda! But wait, it gets better, Donna picked this one up in a charity shop!
After two days of rushing about it was time to pack up Edward the tour bus and head back to Calais. Our train was delayed and while we were waiting in the departure area I happened to glance at the table next to me where two of the delegates from a workshop I had run a couple of weeks previous were tucking into a large pizza! Small world as they say, Louise and Nick had been photographing a wedding in France and were on their way back to Buckinghamshire.
We eventually made Lincolnshire in the early hours of Monday morning but for Donna that was not the end of the journey, she had to drive back to Southport via Leyland to drop Jen off! I think she got home at 5.30am.
I have to say a huge thank you to Vicki, Jen and Donna who made a great team. Also to Susan Hayward and Karen Taylor for the loan of the outfits and to my trusty Chrysler Voyager, Edward!
The response to the images has been amazing and as a result I am going to be doing it all again this September. However, this time I will be running it as a workshop, well workshops in fact. Jen, Donna and Vicki will be returning with me and also Angela Hudson. If you fancy a couple of days in Paris shooting fashion with this great team take a look on the training site.
Paris Public Fashion Workshop
Paris Fashion Workshop for Guild of Photographers members only