The Kewl Shop Exclusive: Behind Our Photo Shoots
Posted on July 28 2015
At The Kewl Shop we don't focus just on images that display the details of our dresses but rather choose to present the ethos of our brand and what we are all about - confidence, tasteful sex appeal and high fashion. We create beautiful images of our dresses that trigger your sex appeal and bring out the bold diva in you. Our efforts give you confidence to pull off celebrity inspired looks without batting an eye and we couldn't be prouder.
You've told us that we give you "lovely lines", a "perfect fit", and the ability to be "classy not assy".
I may choose the dresses and apparel you see in the shop but it truly takes the entire Kewl team to get it to you. We love what we do here and find it both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Today I share what it takes to present a dress to you in the shop after I've deemed it worthy.
The Photo Shoot Prep Work
In preparation for our photo shoots I start to spend time with our dress manufacturers and designers going over what is trending in the market and then focus on styles within that range. For example, our midi bandage dresses we featured a few months back were just beginning to gain steam and become a trend. We choose the white midi dress (a sexy white dress) for the shoot and it performed as expected. It outsold all other dresses as predicted for several months.
I've found that a bit of prep work goes a long way. Prep work ensures I keep a firm finger on the pulse of the fashion world and it's runway clothing and select dresses that are always fresh and spicy.
Behind the Actual Photo Shoot
For a typical photo shoot we choose approximately 30 dresses of various styles for our catalogue images. We pull up to five of those for our lifestyle and branded shoots. Once the dresses are selected I begin conversations with our resident photographers about locations and other particulars. In these conversations I make necessary dress selection tweaks. In most cases though we find a location that fits our dress and brand.
Then I am talking to our make-up artists. We use a few different artist because each tends to have quite different styles. We discuss how many looks we want during the shoot, natural or bold looks, hairstyles, accessories, and shoes. These things are so important because they provide textured and polish to the final images.
We do not do a photo shoot everyday but rather once every four to six weeks. The shoots are a full two day affair. Yep, that's 48 hours.
The easiest part of the shoots are the product catalogue images. These are the images you see against white backgrounds. We typically give you a variety of views: front, back, sides, and with shoes (because it matters). Once we create the white background product catalogue images we check them to ensure we have enough angles and reshoot the dresses if we missed something.
The second day is reserved for a series of Kewl lifestyle images that truly convey what we're about - confidence, tasteful sex appeal, and high fashion. Recently these have all been taken in Bangkok where our models are on tour from the United States and Brazil (we caught up with them there).
Breanna, Jessica, and Claudia are our most used and well loved models. Jessica is Brazilian, Claudia is Costa Rican, and Breanna is Australian and Filipino.
When our brand models are not available we use others and that presents another day of work. Our model casting sessions are typically one full day. We look at about 20 models. For us it's tough as our sexy dresses need models that have curves and most models are very slender today. We take images of each model with their comp sheets (an at a glance document that tells us their dress size, height, etc.) in view.
We do a quick fitting of the dresses chosen for the shoot with the models (normally I do that fitting myself) as that usually determines what model we use for the photo shoot.
As we're doing this fitting, usually at the office, we start to take some behind the scenes images for social media and marketing. These images prove just as valuable as the photo shoot itself because they give a natural light and look that is very relatable. Often we load some of these up as user photo’s in the store to provide this alternative view.
Live Photo Shoot Secrets
On the day of the photo shoot the team is up way too early. We arrive at the studio around 6am preparing and getting everything into running order. We spend most of the morning working on lighting. It is so easy to be fooled by the wrong lighting and we work hard to ensure what you see on the site is what you get when it arrives to your home.
Around 9am the models arrive and head straight into makeup. I take this time to relax, grab a bite to eat, and double check to ensure everything is set so that the shoot goes off without a hitch. (Crazy fact: we've had models in makeup for over three hours for some of the looks we create).
Once makeup is done each dress is in front of the camera for up to 8 mins then a quick change, and then repeat and repeat. We do the standard angles: front, left side, back, right side, front again, and then something feminine and enduring such as the "leg pop" or "sexy hair touch". As every model strikes these poses (trying desperately to look different in each dress) I watch the monitor to ensure we have all the shots necessary.
After the Photo Shoot
By the end of the day we have up to 50 shots per dress. Then we go to work choosing the best five or six images for shop. This selection process is what makes us different. It's long and tedious work but worth it. It allows us to present the dresses at their best for you to consider as you browse. It takes up to three days to complete. Then we hand the images to our design team.
They apply a light retouch to select images and aim to keep the images as natural as possible. Usually our retouch involves removing bra straps and adding natural tans. We do not readily work to reshape or hide natural folds and wrinkles of the dresses to ensure you get a full and realistic view of each dress in the images. This approach is loved by some and hated by others. Select customers comment on it and call it unprofessional yet most are pleased that we are showing our dresses as they are. We prefer it that way.
As the photo shoot images are being loaded and polished up I begin talking to our marketing team about dress names and descriptions. Soon all the images, descriptions and names are melded into the final product on the website. This process takes more than a week to get 30 dresses written up and loaded to the standard we live by.
A Day Of Lifestyle Images
During this time we also tend to do our lifestyle photo shoots as this day is more straightforward and relaxed. We tend to pick up to five or six dresses from the studio shoot.
Lifestyle and branded shoots are dependent on the model and how brave she is. At one shoot we had Claudia in and out of the pool; it was freezing but she was perfection as she always is and a true professional.
My Modelling Days
I'm sure you've noticed that I've tried my hand at some of the modelling too. I’m not a professional model and have never had any formal training other than observing our professional models at work.
At first I wanted to do it out of curiosity and never actually imagined we would use any of the images - but we did use them. Now I'm doing about every third shoot myself. (I'm no good at the lifestyle pieces because this really does require someone trained but working the studio is something I do and love).
All in all our investment in images has differentiated The Kewl Shop from our competition. You tell us that our dresses are "better than the pictures" and the "best quality ever" and that assures us that our photo shoot efforts are worth it. Each of our dresses deserve nothing better than a photo shoot that let's them shine and display their high quality, detail, and beauty. These photo shoots give us the ability to share each dress as it is on real women. Our quality dresses shine through these images and our style has now become a trademark unique to The Kewl Shop.
With each shoot we get better and better and hope you like them all. Tell me what you think in a comment below.
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