On location Shoot 1 (Dartmoor by river) Evaluation

For the first project of this year we were asked to follow one of the visual trends. I chose colour surge. For my first shoot, I decided I would experiment on location in Spitchwick, Dartmoor. The plan was that for the first part of the shoot I would use the natural environment around me and put the model in bright clothing to really stand out against the background. The second part of the day the plan was to use smoke bombs and either have the clothes match the smoke or the background.

The people on the shoot where April (who was assisting me) Aimee, who was modelling and me doing the photographing, styling and producing the shoot. However, at the same time Molly was also going to be be doing a shoot using the same model. We decided to do it this way because we both had the idea of using smoke bombs. By doing the shoot like this if either of us had a problem we could assist each other. The day started with April and me getting the train to Newton Abbot, where Molly already had the model in the car and picked us up from the train station. We then proceeded to drive to the location.  I picked out the clothing for the model to wear and began shooting using the environment around me. One place that I thought was a great place to take images was in front of a river, so in the images you could see the water and maybe even the reflection of the model in the water. After some successful shooting I took a break so Molly could take some images. Throughout the day Molly and I swapped every thirty minutes or shot at the same time so we could experiment with our different ideas as we were looking at different trends. After lunch, I then started to use smoke bombs.

Using smoke bombs was a lot harder than I thought it would be because depending on which way the wind was coming from the smoke might be going in the opposite direction of the model. Another thing was that if you wanted the smoke to surround the model you either had to get someone to run around the model, which meant that in some of the pictures you could see that person running around with the smoke. This also meant that the smoke did not always go in the places you wanted it to go which meant you were trying to direct the model, the assistant and trying to take images all within a minute (as that’s how long each smoke bomb lasts). I did think of having the model hold the smoke bomb but that then restricted the model posing’s and positioning’s without seeing the canister of the smoke.

Something I had not foreseen when watching the videos of how to use the smoke bombs was how the model might react to the smoke. My model kept coughing and her eyes kept watering when the smoke went near her face. But in the videos the model was not affected by the smoke. I think this means that the models in the videos had more experience with smoke bombs. I also think if I was to use smoke bombs again I would have more experience with using them which means I can give the model or assistant more direction and so obtain better images.

One big mistake I made on the day was not buying the clothes myself for this shoot. I relied  on the model to bring bright colourful clothing and expected her to know my vision of the shoot. Next time I would definitely give the model more direction on the types of clothing to bring. Another thing that did not go quite to plan was that both Molly and I both purchased smoke bombs for this shoot, but sadly only Molly’s smoke bombs arrived in time which meant we only had 4 bombs to use on the day. This meant that, by the time all of us had become familiar with them, our smoke bombs had run out!

Though plenty of stuff went wrong on the shoot there was plenty of things that went right. Such as the model being very comfortable in front of the camera and did not need much direction in positioning herself and that after each click of the camera she moved. I also loved the location I used for this shoot and I wonder, if I had the right clothing to go with the location, the shoot could have turned out very differently. I am also pleased that I experimented with smoke bombs and when my smoke bombs finally arrive I will know the best way to use them.

Out of all the images below are some images I don’t think have turned out well – whether that’s because the exposure is not right, the clothing does not work with the trend colour surge, the face the model makes when the smoke gets into her face, or the images are blurry. There are always images that go wrong on a shoot and I think you need to learn from experience to finally take the perfect image. If I was to attempt some of these images again I might move the smoke out of the models face a bit and also make sure I have the right clothing for the shoot.

Below are the Images that I really like, though they might not strictly follow the trend or don’t have enough colour in the image, the posing or the surroundings in the image.


This is my favourite image out of the three as I think it’s the closest to being the theme of colour surge. I also love the movement of the model and smoke together, to create and unique and colourful image. What would have made the images even better was if I had the model in orange clothing to match the smoke or in green to match the background.

When editing these images, I wanted to bring out the colour of the clothing or the smoke so when looking at images I would bring up or down the exposure, contrast, vibrance and saturation. I might crop the image down a bit to make sure that the colour is the main focus of the image. I would then use the spot healing tool to get rid of any blemishes or imperfections.

If I was to do this shoot again I would make sure I was more prepared for the location and brought the right clothing to go with the location and/or the smoke. I also wish I planned the shoot for when my smoke bombs had arrived as this would have given me more opportunity for some great shots. I also think I should have asked the model to send pictures of all her colourful clothing and then told her what to bring, because by leaving the model to bring her clothes she is more likely to pick clothes that she likes and she thinks looks good on her.

For my first shoot for this visual trend I am very pleased with how it went well. Though lot’s went wrong I think I have learnt from these experiences and for the next shoot I will know how to plan and execute the shoot better to fit the theme of colour surge.