Well, 2013 certainly started with a bang! To kick off the new year, my first editorial shoot, ‘The Secret Of Perfect Naked Confidence’ for Cosmopolitan Magazine was released in the February issue of the magazine, featuring the stunning talents of international burlesque performers Tabitha Taboo, Ivy Paige, Kiki Kaboom and Shirley Windmill! Here’s a little more about what went on that day…
Arriving at 9am at the Rivoli, it was an early start for the whole team as we had no less than four burlesque performers to get into hair and make up before setting them loose in wardrobe. Cosmopolitan were providing their own hair, make up and styling team in the form of Roisin Donaghy, Victoria Barnes and Jared Green, but as resident HMUA Miss Honey Bare knows my shooting style inside out she changed roles for 24 hours to lend a hand as my photographer’s assistant and second pair of eyes for the day. After a girly sleepover at mine the night before (involving vegan food and several hours of Xbox games) we travelled the two stops on the overground together with all of my shooting gear. Shooting on location – especially when you haven’t been able to scope out the venue in advance – often involves a lack of power supplies in the places you’d like them. Knowing that the Rivoli is quite an old building, I decided not to take any chances and contacted the wonderful team at The Flash Centre, who kindly provided us with a full Elinchrom Ranger Quadra ‘Super’ Kit for the shoot, complete with two portable power packs, three batteries, two flash heads and a set of adapters to use the full size Elinchrom light modifiers. The great thing about the Quadra kit was its portability. The Quadra heads and battery pack fitted into a case the size of a gentleman’s briefcase. That, plus two stands and three modifiers packed up easily into a large suitcase at a very manageable weight for a small female photographer with minimal upper body strength, leaving one hand free for a second suitcase containing all my camera gear and the laptop.
Shooting in the Rivoli was a fantastic experience as the venue has the most stunning decor. The main ballroom is a vision of red and gold, with velvet all over the walls adorned with gold detailing and complimented by dark wood furniture. Gigantic chandeliers hung from every inch of the main ballroom’s ceiling too, making the ceiling as much of a feature as the walls! Balancing my studio lights with the atmospheric lighting of the venue itself, my kit included an Elinchrom 100cm Deep Octa to enhance highlights on the girls, whilst an Elinchrom 100cm x 100cm Rotalux Softbox softened some of the shadows. Having worked with all of the girls previously, the shoot felt incredibly relaxed and all four performers’ personalities really shone in front of the camera. Wearing their own costumes mixed in with selected pieces from the stylist’s own collection (and some wonderful fans kindly provided for the day by Folly Mixture Bettsie Bon Bon) we utilised every section of the room including the entrance, staircase, side booths, velvet curtain doorways and the stage, which – at the time – was dressed with purple and gold fabric. We’d also found a stunning vintage chaise longue hidden away at the back of the gold ballroom, which came in handy for a set of group images half way through the day.
Once the shoot had finished, we all celebrated with a glass of bubbly wine – the perfect end to any showgirl outing. The Cosmo team were an absolutely sensational bunch of people to work with and helped make the shoot run without a single hitch. My thanks to everyone who was involved in the planning stages as well as the actual shoot. I’ve also attached a couple of photos of ‘The Secret Of Perfect Naked Confidence’ editorial below