I don’t photograph weddings, but I do shoot a lot of women in wedding gowns. When I had my studio I was lucky enough to be on the same business park as Hazlewood Bridal Boutique our towns’ newest and best bridal boutique. It wasn’t long before I struck up a friendship with the owner, Jill, and we were soon collaborating on photo-shoots together.
We stopped shooting location based shoots when one of her best gowns became rather sodden during a shoot up at a stately home, you can read about that here
Since moving out of my studio I have been asked to shoot much more Bridal stuff, especially out on location and knowing Jill would baulk at the idea of loaning me a £2000 wedding gown for a shoot out on some disused building site of a location I decided to see what Ebay had to offer.
Ebay has a surprising amount of Bridal Wear stockists, mostly in the far east and China, but the good thing is they come with Chinese price tags too! So after stocking up on a number of these throw away bridal gowns I carried on taking booking for bridal shoots on location
The trouble is, there are only so many pictures of pretty girls in wedding gowns you can take, after a time they all blur into the same type and style of image. I did manage to shoot a lightly different shoot with a gown, see my previous post here, but what I really wanted was something that would be so different and so unusual as to be shocking.
So I came up with Corpse Bride, my own version not Tim Burtons – but there was a thought process behind this. I have access to a disused army base, it’s pretty run down, but it does have some pretty good shooting spaces. So my idea has this pretty girl in a wedding dress playing the violin in a derelict army base – but why is she there? She is actually a ghost and she is pining for her husband that was lost at war. He was stationed at the army base but on the eve of their wedding he was killed in action.
The bride, who (when she was alive) was a violinist and she has come back to the now derelict base to wait for her husband to return, but is destined to play the violin forever as a lost soul.
To turn that idea into reality I needed a fantastic model, a violin, and the skills of a SFX Make Up Artist (MUA).
After several months of planning and some set backs along the way, I secured one of my favourite models to work with, Lorena, a Spanish model who had the look, the hair and the confidence to pull this off. Our MUA for the day was Jodi, an excellent SFX MUA from Bristol.
Applying the SFX makeup to Lorena took more than four hours, four hours which she was sat on the second floor of an abandoned building, facing a hole in the wall (for light) and in the bitter cold
As is usually the case with the English weather at this time of year, it started to rain and the skies got duller and greyer as the rain got harder. My carefully laid plans for the shoot were blown away as by the time the makeup had finished it was terribly dark outside and lashing down with rain.
Time to improvise.
We had to curtail the shoot somewhat, it was deathly cold, the wind was blistering through the building and Lorena was covered in goosebumps. But we did one last shot, and with just a little bit of Photoshop magic it turned into this:-
A little postscript to this story – Lorena decided to drive home still wearing the makeup, driving through Bristol city centre her car hit the red (on the petrol tank) and she did not have enough to get home – so she calmly drove to the nearest Shell Garage and filled up – still looking half dead! 🙂
best – Colin