January 08, 2015

That time I won a photo shoot...

It was a pretty unspectacular day off in October. G20 was around the corner and Brisbane was hot, humid and riddled with art installations while simultaneously getting rid of the homeless through public transport bribery. I mowed my lawn and played ball with my dog and found a replica gun in my front yard.
Yeah, you read that right. I found a replica gun someone had meticulously placed underneath a conglomerate of old palm tree leaves in front of my house.

So...that was weird.

I called the police who took 45 minutes to collect what would later be described to me as a "plastic gun that may have been used in a robbery". In the mean time I guarded the thing, shooed everyone who even dared to look at it and wrote down every single car's number plate that traveled past my house suspiciously slowly. Kommissar Rex would have been proud of my efforts.

Once my innocent garden was cleared of plastic weapons, I re-entered the house to find out that I had won a professional photo shoot including hair and make up!

Let me tell you that in the dramedy that is "Astrid's life", things like these either don't happen or they happen under the strangest of circumstances and all at once. It's never simply "remember that day I found a plastic gun?". It's always a "remember how for approximately seven to eight weeks my life was extremely pleasant and boring and then on the one day I found a replica weapon in front of my house I also won a $ 800 photoshoot"

I entered a facebook competition by super hip Sunshine Coast based photo studio and creative space "Studio Republic". The studio was planning on putting together a calender to showcase their individuality and versatility and wanted to get as many different faces and bods in to fill the pages. There were two reasons I entered. Firstly, they didn't want photos of the entrants. I found that extremely awesome. Secondly, the entry form contained a section in which I could proof some creative writing skills. I like creative writing, so there's that.

My brief for the shoot was pretty straight forward: shoot is in two weeks, develop three different looks, shave your body if you want to and bring your own clothes to the shoot.
"Behind the scenes"

The two weeks leading up to the shoot, I did zero exercise after vowing that I would have thunderous thighs without dents or marks for the shoot (I am all about achievable goals, people). I worked constantly so had about 20 minutes to develop my looks, which in retrospect annoys me because now I am brimming with better ideas.
I still pulled off a fabulous leotard for one of the looks so suck on that. (referring to myself)

Here is an excerpt from my "photoshoot inspo" - titled pinterest board:

is it evident that I got distracted looking for Beyonce in lingerie photos half way through my "inspo" search?
Most of my initial ideas fell through because of delayed shipping (I had ordered a one piece basically identical to that floral one above and it arrived a day after the shoot) or because I simply could not find what I wanted in the short amount of time. I am a perfectionist and as the date crept up further, I knew I couldn't pull something off I absolutely loved. So I decided to take it easy, enjoy the ride and get a bit weird.

I've always wanted to take part in a pin-up shoot so my first look was an easy one to pick. As I mentioned above I originally planned to recreate that dramatic Martini glass photo from Beyonce's "Why don't you love me" video, but my outfit didn't work out so I had to improvise.

This is boring. Anyway.

The day of the shoot, I tried on and split a dress on the ass on set. I still wore it for my second look. To everyone I booty-flashed: You're welcome! It was the week after Kim K's "Break the internet" oily butt photo for Paper magazine, so I decided I would make a version of that photo, only with more clothes, less oil and on a budget with a humorous twist.

This was fun. My favorite part of the photo are my shoes.

Lastly, I chose to go with dark make-up and black lips to accompany my Black Milk bodysuit. I loved so many shots my photographer took of this look, and for some inexplicable reason I chose the one that has me posing identically to the first look.

 Slow clapping for myself right now. Still a pretty awesome photo!

Once I posted behind the scene photos on instagram, I received some questions from my friends and family. 

Did you enjoy being in front of the camera? Hell yes. I love attention. It's the best thing. And I really enjoyed posing once I hit that third look. It's unfortunate it took me pretty much two hours to warm up and give off some facial expressions. But yes, I loved arching my back until I lost balance, I loved giving my photographer looks she didn't suggest and her digging it and shooting away. Most of all I enjoyed the experience. It's a cool day to think back to and a fun story to tell.

Do you love your photos? I didn't have enough time to carve out any of these looks, so I can't say I will get these printed off and will wallpaper my house with them. My face is pretty boring in photos because I don't like showing my teeth, I still feel a tad ridiculous taking selfies and I sure as hell don't have the pseudo-instagram model poses down (YET!). There are a million and one things I don't love about the way I look and my insecurities definitely took the better of me when I chose the final images. Once we finished shooting I had a few minutes to relax before being shown the forty or so images the team picked. Looking at some of the less flattering photos, I went from feeling like I had walked a sassy Zimmermann runway to that time the school doctor pinched my triceps with one of those "body fat" measuring tongs and said "you're still at a healthy weight. For now." It was hard coming down from such a high to the harsh reality that, with all the work I have done over the years, I still can't fully accept the way I look. So while I can't fault the Studio at all because the images are solid in execution and the whole experience was professional and so much fun, I would definitely approach choosing my images differently. I wish I could transfer my memories to your brains so you could see some of the movie star beauty close-ups and fun leotard yoga poses in high heels I did.

Would you do it again if you had to pay for it? Not at the moment. See above re: body issues. Have to work on that some more. Also - I am not a millionaire! If I was a millionaire I would book one every week. (For real)

Do you have tips for my photo shoot?  YES!!!! I'm glad you ask because I am an expert model now! 
Firstly, think about your looks and then go further and think about your poses. If you bring props, practice natural poses beforehand. I brought my Ukulele and ended up holding it so awkwardly we scrapped the idea altogether. Then a week later I played it drunk on the floor and a friend took the cutest photo of me and I went: "Why didn't I think of that at my shoot?" Which brings me to the next piece of advice, be horribly drunk. No, no that's just a joke (maybe). 
If you are providing your own clothing, opt for colorful fabrics and interesting textures. I think my pin-up inspired photo would have benefited from a head-to-toe pineapple-print! Who am I kidding, everyone always benefits from a good head-to-toe pineapple print! Make sure you can move in the clothing you choose so you can go crazy with your posing. If there is no music, play a song in your head to help you losen up. And the hardest but most important thing: relax your face. You know when someone tries to take a photo of you and can't find the right button to click and then your natural and gorgeous smile becomes all weird and forced looking and the corners of your mouth make a flapping motion? Yeah that! Don't do that! 
I know, I know. It's hard not to look like you have a botox-pouch for a face when partaking in something as ridiculously self absorbed as a photoshoot. So here's my secret remedy for that problem: I imagined I was the bitchy and slightly bored female protagonist in an early 2000's music video. It helped me a lot. Thanks J.Lo!

So there's that people! *drops imaginary mic and tap dances out the door*