I thought I would let you in on a couple of backstage secrets of how I shot this recent Harper’s Bazaar story with the beautiful Heidi Middleton and her fabulous babes.
I didn’t have the luxury of scouting this beautiful property prior before packing my bags so I jumped online to see if I could find any images to see the setting of the place. For me this is vital as it will assist me in knowing which lens to pack.
From the images I found on the net I thought the property was in a big field but when I arrived I was surprised (and delighted to see) it was actually in a village. This made capturing a big home like this from the front challenging because I was very close to the building.
Some of you may recall from my ‘How to shoot a chateau’ post that the bigger the building the trickier it is to keep lines straight if you can’t get far enough away from it.
Heidi was a dream! I think I have probably mentioned before how much I love Heidi. What a dream she was to shoot, her calmness, kindness, creativity and beauty. She was great and knew her property backwards and loved some particular parts like the beautiful ivy wall and we all dreamed of her being photographed on it on a ladder.
Red Dress Series
- To shoot this photo I was on a super long ladder leaning up against the neighbors’ house in front! So the building wasn’t totally distorted I needed to be as high as I could or at least as close as possible to the middle of the building height. Shooting from a ladder is not my favourite place (yikes, did I tell you about my fear of heights) and Heidi was sitting on the balcony of the building.
- I used a 70-200m L-series Canon lens and my arms were literally in a spasm by the time we had completed the shot. I had to balance myself the best I could so as not to have camera shake from the heavy lens.
- We started out with Heidi sitting on the balcony and doing some more detailed shots and this lens meant that I could capture as much of the building in the image as possible including the turret, come closer in for a portrait and a vertical shot of her being playful.
- I couldn’t have done these pictures without a team. We had a super photographer with me and another assistant with Heidi and we took breaks as much as possible.
- When I look at the shots now I think we must have gone mad! But they were shot in a very short time. I wouldn’t recommend that any of you do this. DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO!
Flowery Skirt and Top Series
- To shoot this photo we required two ladders! So the building wasn’t totally distorted I needed to be as high as I could or at least as close as possible to the middle of the building height. That meant both of us were on super long ladders. My assistant held my ladder as I had an extremely heavy lens and feared tipping.
- To have the variety of images you see of the ivy wall it took a while for me to get my ladder in the right position and then we were fighting against the light that was about to come over the turret (who wouldn’t want a building with a turret?) and straight into my lens.
- I used a 70-200m L-series Canon lens and my arms like in the pic above. I had to balance myself the best I could so as not to have camera shake from the heavy lens.
- This lens gave me the flexibility to come in for a close-up and still get as much of the building as I could without getting off my ladder. We lost a lot of time moving the ladder even an increment.
- To get that skirt moving and add a little magic took a lot of yelling across the front yard as we were both so far away from each other. Her moving the skirt added a new level to the photo.
The last shot of Heidi and her girls were shot in a field of flowers (and required no ladders, yay) we spotted on our way to her place in the morning. This pic was taken just after the sun slid over the hill and I exposed for her skin which gave the little backlight in her hair but left the rest of the foreground in even light.
I hope you enjoyed these little insights into this shoot, it really was one of those special photography days you hold tight to your heart.
Related Post: Carla Coulson In Harper’s Bazaar