Let’s face it, capturing photographs that represent a historical era is a challenge. Not only would you need to stay true to the styling, makeup & hair, but also to the aesthetics, props, colours, tones & overall photographic mood.
With our talented Fashion Stylist handling the wardrobe styling, and our Makeup Artist’s team handling the makeup & hair, it was my task to focus on the other remaining elements, mainly location, scenarios & lighting.
This shoot revolves around the 1960s. An outdoor natural space would have been my safest bet, yet I had to keep in mind that we were shooting two different looks comprising their own makeup, hair styling & outfit … access to electricity, a comfy makeup table & chair as well as changing room needed to be made available.
Another option for location would have been an indoor space with a retro look, void of any modern touches. Luckily, our Makeup Artist’s beauty salon is conveniently located at an international hotel, and even more convenient is the fact the hotel halls & business centre display muted neutral tones & timeless furniture; a combination ideal for us.
By opting to shoot at the hotel, we avoided many obstacles; the need for transport, time wasted on transport, daytime shooting constraint & arranging for makeup / hair / changing space in public.
With location confirmed, now I focus on lighting the scene & creating scenarios.
For scenarios, I took inspiration from various elements; the fact that the 1960s represented an empowerment for women in the US & Europe, the props provided by our Fashion Stylist (a vintage desk fan & suitcase), and the hotel setting.
I pictured a ‘business woman enjoying her stay at a hotel before checking out & leaving to the airport’ & went along framing my photographs accordingly.
As for lighting, soft diffused natural light was generally the go to setup in the 1960s, so I opted for a 150cm Octabox mounted on my studio strobe for key light. A secondary strobe was bounced off the ceiling to add some fill. As for close up beauty shots, a white reflector was added below the model’s chin for extra fill light.
Once the shoot was wrapped up, one final creative process had to be completed; the retouching & post processing of the images. As it stood, the images still looked modern (due to the combination of camera & lenses used). In order to give the images a vintage look, my retouch direction was similar to what you’d expect on a VSCO or Instagram retro filter; sepia tones, softer images, yellow tints, low contrast, greyish blacks, & low saturated colours with an emphasis on skin to make the subject stand out.
Modeling: Mervat Hakroush
Makeup: Sonia Ashhab
Hair Styling: Sonia Glo Salon
Fashion Styling & Props: Diana Munayer
Location: Millennium Hotel, Ramallah