A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of styling and directing my first photo-shoot with the help of an incredible team who made my vision come to life. I was a bit hesitant because I’ve only ever been on the other side of the camera, not behind it and figuring out how I wanted my images to look like. I know I had seen several poses and ideas which I was drawing inspiration from but the reality is you can never replicate anyone else, each shoot and model is unique in their own way. Stephen Petite was the photographer for the day and I had a fashion designer come onboard with her designs for the models. I had been planning the photoshoot for a very long time as well as putting it off. So it was incredible to finally get behind that camera and start shooting with the photographer and the help of a few friends.
We started off with some individual shots of the girls wearing different outfits. Individual shots are the more generic styles that almost every basic fashion shoot ought to have. Since we were working with mostly African prints, I wanted the images to look classy and elegant to show that African prints can also be rocked on the red carpet or any black tie event.
The first individual shot was very different to all the other shots because, the model wore a head wrap and went for a full on African inspired look.
The second set of Nyalat wearing this bold print was a gamble because the dress already had a lot going for it in terms of a rich brown color as well as the patterns. Minimizing on accessories when wearing a busy print is always recommended to ensure you still get the full effect of the outfit. But rules can always be bent a little bit, especially for a fashion shoot because you need the outfit to photograph well and not get drowned.
The next outfit was my favorite color. Red is always such as statement color, very bold and bossy. This lace red dress reminded me of a few Rihanna and Beyonce outfits which I have seen them wearing on the red carpet. Red is a color I am yet to see not work for anybody.
Last but not least, we had Raisa in this gorgeous cocktail dress. It is a very simple dress but when you add a few bits and pieces to it such as a waist belt it instantly becomes dressy. Belts are always a good idea for dresses that are flowy from the waist down. Adding a belt can accentuate a woman’s figure and also add a glam factor.
The next set for the shoot consisted of pairing up the models and using props. This is where are the fun comes in and you get to play around with peoples bodies (in a nice way ofcourse). Group shots can be powerful and bring flavor to each model as they all compliment one another. The gorgeous thing about this particular shoot is we had a diverse range of models, each who brought their own flare to the shoot and made it fun. The girls seemed comfortable in their own skin and they took charge of their own creative process after getting over the initial shyness of being infront of the camera.
Steering away from the more traditional prints, I chose to keep it simple with these outfits. Sometimes simplicity is key good because it leave the rest to imagination of what other elements you could add to build up your outfit.
I wanted diversity for the shoot because living in Australia has made me realize I hardly ever see women of color living in Australia, gracing magazine covers, modelling for fashion brands or walking on the runway at fashion shows. Diversity is lacking, and that is something I would love to see change. I know some phenomenal models personally, who have shared their stories with me about how difficult it is to land jobs because of their dark skin color. The people who call the shots in this industry can be hesitant towards the idea of having men and women of color in ads, TV shows, and any other entertainment area you might be able to think of. This is not to say that there are no colored faces being put forward because there are but we still have a long way to go to get to the point where seeing a person of color on a billboard or acting on TV isn’t a rare concept.