Just recovered from our shoot down on the South Devon Coast for a lovely guitar company and its UK distributor.
We met up late in the afternoon on Wednesday, all four of us meeting at our place for the loading up of gear and the formal introductions. Benno from the guitar distributor (aka ‘The Client’), Artemis (aka ‘The Model’), Alma (AKA ‘The Assistant’) and my good self of course. After exchanging pleasantries we loaded up all our gear including surf board, wet suit and various technical equipment for every eventuality.
We headed off down the M4 and realised the surf board on the roof wasn’t secure enough. We stopped and restrained it further. We set off again, and realised the the new restrainers were making an awful racket in the wind and that we would all have brain ache by the team we reached the M5. We stopped again.
Once on the M5 we stopped off for a cuppa and to borrow another, larger board from a friendly publisher who happened to know what he was doing. He pointed out the error of our board restraint techniques, and off we set again with a VERY secure load! We arrived at our destination, a small south Devon coastal Inn, checked in and headed straight down to the location for a reconnaissance mission to the beach. It looked very promising and after consulting our charts and maps and working out the sun rise and set locations we decided to head back for a well earned bite to eat and a drink.
We spent a very relaxed evening eating too much gorgeous steak and drinking west country cider and bursting our seams with way too much hilarity and mirth! We braved a quick nightcap before we staggered upstairs aware we had set ourselves a stiff target of being awake at sunrise of 5.15am and making it to our location by 6am as the sun rose above the hills.
Well, full credit to us, we made it on time, nobody complained (well Alma had a headache but she didn’t moan too much!) and we set off driving the full 500 yards to the beach car park. Only, it wasn’t open at that time of the morning! So, we travelled 150 yards and then carried all of our gear the rest of the way to our first location.
Now, the shoot was to be trying to capture the essence of beach life. Surf, sea sand and……guitars! Our intention and aim was to make images that would translate into beautifully crafted adverts in specialist magazines highlighting the high-end acoustic guitar range’s coolth and beauty as part of this hip and trendy scene. The processing would reflect this also. We had thought of some fun straplines for the ads like “Seagulls (the guitar brand name), they don’t only nick yer chips!” but settled on something much wiser!
With that aim we headed for the sand dunes and gorgeous wooden fence and awaited the rise of the red hued sun. We were not to be disappointed. We had a few ideas and we sprang into action. We shot using a variety of props and scenarios both into the sun and using it’s early morning wonderful colour on the dewy grasses and sand. We shot mostly wide open at f2.8 or wider with 70-200mm or 85mm lenses. We used a bit of fill flash from a softened strobe and when the sun got stronger we used a reflector to help fill the shadows. After several changes of clothes and shots our poor little Artemis was looking decidedly blue so we headed back to the sanctuary of our Hotel for a much needed cup of Earl Grey and a fry up!
Suitably refreshed we headed upstairs to attempt to grab some indoor shots that somehow captured the atmosphere of our ‘theme’. After a bit of discussion and trial and error we decided that although we would be able to grab some nice images (see below) we would not be able to further the advertising ideas we had for the brand.
We headed to a slightly different location back on the coast and discovered that the good weather had brought out a lot more people which would make shooting just a little more challenging now it was later morning.
We managed to continue shooting different ideas, some that worked, others that didn’t, with changes of clothes, backgrounds and styles. Again, we shot mostly with 70-200mm at f2.8 to minimise depth of field and ‘throw out’ the gorgeous background into an even more delicious looking backdrop. We dispensed with fill flash but could have done with some at times when the light from the sun became too harsh. The reflector does a good job but contrast is too much when the big orb in the sky is at its stunning best!
Happy, knowing we had some great shots in the bag we headed off to Kingsbridge town for a very late lunch before starting our long and tiring journey back to Wiltshire. ‘The Model’ and ‘The Assistant’ still had a way to go from here so probably weren’t home much before their eyes were ready to be rested for a longer time than the night before. We were all content however that we had achieved our goals and most importantly, “The Client” seemed to be very happy with our results even before we have got on to the serious processing. The shoot was a brilliant example that maintaining humour throughout makes for better images and a much better atmosphere in which to create and receive new ideas and thoughts. We shall publish the ads as they are to appear in the mags when we have them signed off.