It’s early on a sunny Sydney morning. Bel and I are excited and nervous, in equal measure, about our first photoshoot. There’s something about this milestone – capturing in photographs our handbags, with their inbuilt rechargeable batteries – that marks a turning point. Suddenly, everything seems more ‘real’ and we recognise that the seed of an idea we’d been tending and watering for so long, has transformed, fully-grown.
It’s starting to get humid when make-up artist Luana Coscia rings the doorbell. Rolling a bulging wheelie bag behind her, Luana lugs her tools of trade into the house and wastes no time setting up in readiness for our model.
Soon, model Jira Seow arrives, relaxed, bare-faced and simply dressed. She’s gorgeous, of course, and utterly unpretentious. Jira comes highly recommended by our photographer, Richard Freeman, a respected, seasoned fashion pro plus good friend of Bel’s.
Richard drops by quickly to say hi to the gang, check out the wardrobe, and chat about our first location before heading off to meet-up with his photography assistants. He’s tall and handsome with an easy-going, upbeat manner that he puts to good use to soothe our ‘first-timer’ nerves.
Bel and I have been on a steep learning curve organising this photoshoot. We know we’ve been fortunate to have Richard’s patient and generous guidance. Neither of us realised just how much work was involved in organising a photoshoot - the planning, attention to detail, and the teamwork.
Location 1 - Darling Point
Our first location, a leafy street in Sydney’s Darling Point lined with beautiful Victorian terrace houses, shades us from the morning sun. Surrounded by equipment and aided by his assistants Nikki (check spelling) and Alex, Richard gets to work with Jira, to photograph our black and red grain leather handbags. We want to show the bags in an editorial setting, demonstrating their style, good-looks and quality. Jira’s hair is given the Beyonce treatment with Luana’s surprise photoshoot tool, a mini leaf-blower! Richard and Jira nail the shots quickly and we’re soon off to our second location, the recently opened Vernon Café in Woollahra.
Location 2 - Vernon Café, Woollahra
Working outside in the full sun we’re all feeling the heat. But thanks to the generosity of the café staff, we’re kept well hydrated (and caffeinated) as the crew capture our sand coloured suede bag. We’re keen to show the bag being used in an everyday setting, demonstrating a phone being charged by the bag as well as showing the bag’s battery being recharged via laptop. Jira is a trooper, managing to look effortlessly fresh (with some regular makeup touch-ups by Luana) while Richard takes some beautiful shots before we break for lunch.
Location 3 - Bel's house
Arriving at Bel’s house ahead of schedule, we welcome a respite from the heat, enjoying an indoor location with air-con. Jira changes into a fresh all-white outfit and we get ready to photograph our tan grain leather bag. For this shot, we want to focus not just on the colour of the bag, but show its quality. Richard, Jira and the crew make short work of it and nail the shot quickly.
Location 4 - Bronte Beach, the Rock Pool
The wind is up at Bronte Beach, our last location for the day, where Jira is perched on a fence by the rock pool. Blasts of wind wreak havoc of her hair and make it tough for assistant Alex to keep a huge shade in place over her. For our last shot, we wanted to create a laidback and casual feel – showing the bag being used on-the-go in a distinctly Australian location. Because of the stunning blue of the sea and sky, we choose to feature our red leather bag – its strong colour popping beautifully against this natural back-drop. We connect a phone to the handbag’s rechargeable battery, and Jira goes to work, looking effortlessly cool and relaxed. Richard’s experience and professionalism is evident as he patiently navigates the whims of mother nature as well as the hordes of beach-goers coming and going on this sticky afternoon. Nikki beckons us over to see some of the shots on the screen. They’re even better than we imagined and create exactly the look and feel we’d wanted.
With the last shots in the bag, it’s time to pack-up and say good-bye. Jira is keen for a post-shoot swim, Luana hurries off to another job, Alex contemplates a swim or surf, and Nikki and Richard pack-up the equipment before heading off to check the day’s work. Bel and I head back to her place, happy that everything went so smoothly and thankful for the great team of people who made our first photoshoot such a success.
Follow photographer Richard Freeman on Instagram @freemanphoto.com or see his website www.richard-freeman.com
Follow model Jira Seow on Instagram @jiramae or contact her agency Chic Management for bookings www.chicmanagement.com.au
Follow Hair & Makeup Artist Luana Coscia on Instagram @luanacoscia or see her website www.luanacoscia.com