Inside Our Bangkok Photoshoot by Photographer René Hundertpfund
Last updated on : December 22 2015
Recently I was given the opportunity to do a photoshoot for The Kewl Shop featuring some of the shop’s famous bandage dresses. I live in Austria for most of the year but my work takes me throughout Europe. Although I am fortunate enough to live in a city with grand, detailed structures and breathtaking views I am always looking for shooting locations that are exciting and very different from what I normally have available in Europe. The shoot for The Kewl Shop was set to take place in Bangkok. Ever since my first visit to Bangkok I have been in love with the city and this photoshoot would bring me to the city for the third time since becoming a professional photographer.
Bangkok is such a unique place. In 2014 it was reported that more than 14 million people call its metropolitan region home. It is home to people from around the globe including transplants from Cambodia, Australia, Africa, Japan, Europe, America, and many more. My first impression of the city was that it is very noisy, chaotic, and messy. This quickly changed and I found the Thai people to be naturally warm and very friendly. The food is amazing and the city offers so many mind blowing places to shoot that it’s unlike shooting anywhere else in the world.
The Kewl Shop photoshoot location was at the Eastin Hotel and the plan was to shoot editorial style in the Soi (Thai word for side street). When I plan a shoot I always look for ways to create contrast, depth, and texture - think beauty and the beast. I love putting a gorgeous model and beautiful fashion against gritty and dirty backgrounds. It creates mood and drama in the image and the Soi is the ideal location to achieve this.
When we arrived at the hotel we discovered that the infinity pool area on the 14th floor would be the perfect spot for a photoshoot as well. The pool area featured unique textured furniture, wading pools with tiny sparkling blue tiles, and skyline views. We were able to utilize some of the meeting rooms of the hotel as well which made for perfect, sultry semi-silhouette images. Moving to a handful of locations was not what we initially planned but we saw the opportunity and jumped on it.
We started early in the morning to catch some of the natural soft light. I had to travel light so instead of bringing a lot of strobes and fancy lighting equipment I kept my equipment very basic and we did the whole shoot with natural light and a simple reflector. We had to be very flexible as the light changed continuously throughout the shoot but this enabled us to shoot fast while also getting a lot of variation in the images.
There are always bystanders who are curious and want to watch what is going on at every shoot I do. It was no different in the Soi. With the equation of a stunning model like Lees wearing sexy dresses and accessories, having perfect makeup, spectacular hair, and surrounded by a team of people and a photographer we were bound to grab the attention of everyone. The energy and rush I get doing shoots never fades and the audience is more a motivation rather than a distraction. The Soi was hectic and full of traffic and yet all the images were serene and focused thanks to the team.
Naturally we were very busy during this shoot but in total honestly it was not difficult and very seamless. Like with most things if the vibe is good within the team and you are doing something you love to do then time just flies by; no matter how much energy it takes. Working with The Kewl Shop was very smooth. Sasi was on hand to ensure we kept to the brand’s tone but gave me free reign and room to work - which is always appreciated at shoots. Although we had to pull this shoot together under short notice is was very collaborative and positive and the pictures are proof.
Since I wanted to keep it simple I used 2 prime lenses for the whole day. A wide angle 35mm was used for 80 percent of the shots and a 50mm for close up angles. Everything was shot wide open to get a smooth, cinematic out of focus background. This smoothness plus gorgeous natural lighting is the secret to the ethereal look and feel you see in the whole series. I did many wide angle shots because I didn’t just want to show the dresses but also highlight as much as possible the locations. I wanted to feature Bangkok and so we took shots that could only be taken there such as with the Tuk Tuk (a three wheeled taxi).
Overall I was very happy to collaborate with The Kewl Shop. There was a lot of variation in the dresses which made for an interesting shoot. The black dresses created sultry, sexy, and sensual indoor shots while the white dresses offered more classic and elegant tones perfect for the pool shots. The more colorful dresses provided contrast and texture that I feature in a lot of my work. Looking at all the images it is hard to pick a favorite but I really liked the green ombre dress we shot in the Soi. It is pretty unique and added a lot of interest and depth to the images. Working with Sasi, Lees, and company made for a great shoot. Lees is a professional model that is very experienced while Sasi understands what works and what was needed for this shoot to be a success for the brand as a whole.
Photoshoots can often be overwhelming and chaotic but the one in Bangkok with The Kewl Shop was anything but. We had a great time, were able to shoot in amazing locations, and ended up with stunning images. It was a pleasure and I look forward to working with The Kewl Shop again on bigger projects.