Behind the Camera with Oli


A day in the life of an Oli shoot – Spring Concept Fashion SS17.

For the brand formerly known as Oli, now FLAGS UK’s own brand fast fashion (try saying that in a hurry!) for Freemans and Grattan, I’m Wendy and work with the Oli team and want to take you behind the scenes to a day in the life of a shoot, to see our day in numbers…

Among other print projects, my job involves managing the own brand UK fashion from beginning to end for FLAGS – from scheduling the meetings, planning the shoot and backgrounds, sourcing and organising props and crew (photographer, assistants, model, hair and makeup, buying team), working with Oli Buyer Bev O’Connell to best show her garments, art directing the shoot and working with the Creative team (James, Lian and Richard) to see the pages through build, to repro and print.

As the Kaleidoscope teams cross Pennine borders to a studio not too far away, we stay a little closer to home, in…wait for it….Leeds. We’ve worked with a studio there for a few years and seasons now, and have shot back of book furniture and homes and currently, UK fashion and covers there. I try to come up with a different story for each project to reflect the season, garments and brands so we’ve continued the chalky pastels theme begun for SS17 in these pages too…

Every shoot plan begins with one meeting, one google doc (handy garment tracking for all parties involved!), a couple of conference calls and an agreed plan for what we’re shooting, when and what it might look like.

8.45am: On a rainy day in January, the shoot begins. Coffee requests placed.

9.00am:  Model into hair and makeup and garments into running order to shoot, with a matching layout which I check off and track as we go – most casual styling/hair and makeup first, getting more ‘glam’ through the day – 3 looks in all

9.15am: First set in place – 2 packs of peach paper (thanks Amazon!) and 8ft board that can be shifted in and out for hero shots. One pot of paint used and a blue colourama on hand for use later in the day

9.30am: Lighting tests done – 1 photographer, 1 digi assistant, 1 camera, 2 lenses (plus a set full of lights)

9.45am: Garments already prepped, but some garments arrive direct from a supplier so our 2 guests and 1 steamer put to work, ensuring the garments are perfectly pressed and ready to wear

10.10am: Model onto set in the first outfit. Art direction begins – providing options and variety to ensure the spreads are interesting and garments shown to best effect

The components of our finely tuned engine consist of: 

  • Almost 50 garments from jeans and tops to dresses to shoot today – including some NTW/Online exclusive items to make the most of our time
  • 1 wind machine for that ‘spring breeze’ effect and to show the movement of maxi dresses etc
  • The crew – 9 of us including guests from the Swimwear365 team (Emily) and Kasia from the webteam to see what we do and how
  • 14 pairs of shoes and 12 bags – for frequent outfit changes and perfect accessorising, with Amy and Emily on hand and styling (and helping to keep the rails and changing rooms tidy!)
  • 1 pack of pegs kept handy  for styling without marking the garments!
  • 3 suitcases – we don’t travel light!
  • 1 very precious hard drive – to safely transport our lovely images back to the office and into the hands of the very busy Creative team
  • 7 bags of makeup and one suitcase put to good use today…
  • … and not forgetting Kasia – our behind the scenes photographer for the day!

11.50am: Sets changed and ready for the afternoon’s plans – all blue then a NTW white set

1:00pm:   We break for lunch. The first 3 spreads have been shot and we’re on schedule

3:00pm  We counted 16 empty coffee cups – a shoot is thirsty work!

4.15pm:  Print shoot done – we have a great variety of images and ready for our last set change

4.30pm:  Now for the NTW/Online exclusives – a white wall and floor and fewer poses. On a standard NTW day we’ll shoot up to 60 garments with 6 – 10 pose ‘captures’, a back shot and a detail or two if needed

5.15pm: We’re done for the day. Garments safely packed and makeup stowed away.

5.30pm: Lots of image captures done and it’s time to go home. One more season, one more great shoot and a dream team to work with. Thanks guys!

Image credits to: Roo at Powerhouse Leeds, Emily Oldfield (Intern Swimwear365) and Kasia Smith (media services)

Written by Wendy Walsh

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