We asked regular Arcangel contributor Evelina Kremsdorf to tell us about her latest photoshoot, a beautiful and varied sequence in winter mist and snow…
What was the inspiration for this photoshoot?
I am a big fan of winter. The shoot was inspired by a recent snowfall; it’s not a frequent event around where I live, so I always try to use any opportunity I can to have a shoot with snow in it!
However, when we arrived at the location the snow was half melted. The ground did not look good to me with patches of snow and puddles so I had to think of other ideas on the spot.
Does the local scenery often provide you with inspiration?
My themes depend on locations. Once the location is decided on, I proceed to choosing the theme for the shoot and picking outfits together with the model and anyone else I’m shooting with.
I do study trends that are provided by Arcangel but I rely on my own style and vision. I wish I had time to sit and go through trends and study what sells!
You combine your photography with a full-time job in New York City; what sort of challenges does that create?
I always tell people location is my biggest issue. I don’t like crowded places and I like a clean background. Living in NYC it’s almost asking for the impossible!
But I do find places like this with a little help from my friends, and many people can’t believe they were shot in NYC.
So who are your models?
All my models are people I know: friends, co-workers. They all know what I do outside office hours and happily agree for a shoot if I ask.
I feel like having a relationship with a model prior to a shoot will play a big role in how comfortable the model will be at a shoot and how comfortable I will be giving directions. It’s rare that I would shoot someone I barely know; it only happens on my trips when I come across someone and it turns into an unexpected shoot.
What about costumes? How much direction do you give them?
Outfits are very important in completing the mood and the theme of a shoot. Luckily we can usually come up with a final look from what the model has in her wardrobe.
I am very picky when it comes to what they wear as I like solid, not-too-bright colors. One of my models is also great at sewing and sometimes creates outfits just for a shoot.
What’s your must-have gear for a shoot like this one?
My must-have for any model shoot is my 2 lenses I use for portraits. Once I have at least one of them, I can start shooting even if nothing specific is planned.
I use Canon 24-70 f/2.8L and Canon 85mm f/1.2L. I feel like the right lens can make a huge difference to the way images are actually captured as opposed to the ideas I started with in my head.
Do you have an assistant or a volunteer to help out on the day?
I do not work with assistants. However, I do prefer to have shoots with another photographer because I feel like we have more ideas between two people and the shoots are more fun.
Luckily I have a lot of friends who are photographers and when we collaborate, it works out for everyone: the model gets twice as many images, we come up with more ideas and we all have more fun.
None of my shoots are serious. They’re all about fun! And even when another photographer shoots the same subject as me, I know we have different editing techniques so images will never look the same.
How much preparation do you carry out ahead of a shoot?
I try to plan every shoot and do my homework to prepare and have ideas. However, everything is always open for other ideas, improvisation and sometimes going in a completely different direction.
And how much time goes into post-production afterwards?
Depending on the image and what I want my final result to look like, I can spend anywhere from fifteen minutes to two days. I often start working on an image and change the final look several times while trying different effects.
I’m a big fan of attempting to make an image my own, especially when the subject has been photographed millions of times. This is where I heavily rely on different effects, filters, textures and overlays. My objects vary from still life to portraits to cityscapes to landscapes. I use different effects until final result is achieved. Sometimes I change the image completely or combine images into a composite.
What software and tools do you use?
Photoshop is the most important tool in my post-production process. I only use Photoshop and have a number of plugins, actions and other tools to help me be creative. I do not design my own actions but I have a large collection of the ones I have purchased!