A blog about styling, patterning and making stays and corsets for modern, historical and fantasy looks.

Reflections on our first photoshoot

Our first photo shoot with multiple models happened yesterday and It was a pretty solid success. The things that went wrong were mostly things we could fix or workaround. You will be seeing images from that shoot here on the blog as well as on our Pinterest and Instagram accounts for some time to come.

Some random thoughts…

I want to write all this down in the hope that it will help others and I can refer back to it for next time.

Setting up the space

Having an indoor space is key. We were able to turn my garage into a working studio. I had thought to do some outdoor shooting but the weather was not cooperating! For a chunk of the time we were shooting, it was bucketing rain. At least here in Connecticut, the weather can do almost anything and from time to time will. We set up a backdrop in the garage and our photographer put up various lights.

We also had a table for props and such. I also had an extension cord or two around just in case (they were not used) a step ladder would have been useful at one point (we lived without one). We also found a stand fan helpful for at least one shot.

Get creative people as models and let them have fun.

In my case, the models were all women who I knew from the local steampunk & fandom community and who were not professional models. However, all of them brought various things with them that would work well for some very amazing looks with the corsets I had made.

It helped that I had sent them pictures of the outfits in advance so they could apply their own creative talents to the problem. I threw out some broad guidelines such as “I want this kind of looks” and let the models and photographer figure it out.

One of the models, Carley, is an amazing cosplayer and I was able to send her a picture of the corset in advance and just told her “go crazy” she did. I have no idea how many looks she did, but the ones I saw were amazing. Besides the corset she was wearing everything else was out of her stash of costumes. and props. And it was a time I was able to be in other parts of the shoot dealing with other issues.

Be willing to roll with any issues

No matter how well you plan, Stuff will go wrong! Assume that an outfit will need to be repaired or substituted at the last minute. Be willing to roll with it. Have a sewing machine, needle & thread, an iron, safety pins, and a broach (which can cover something) handy. I also was able to cover a few flaws by quickly ironing on a flower applique at some point.

Several of our models were delayed due to accidents on the local interstate from the rain.

Know your limits

We had 4 models and it might have been a bit too much. In the future, I may limit it to 3 models. Understand that you only have so many hours of people's time, so much battery in various devices, and so much space on the SD card.

Have a green room

I set up the room next to my garage as a changing room with a station for our hair/makeup person. It had some seating including an armchair that I am pretty sure no one actually used. We had a few robes and a clean towel handy. The towel went unused, but with the rain, it seemed prudent to have it.

We also set the rule that when people were changing if the door to the room was closed it was to be considered a female-only space. Some of the models seemed to care more about this than others.

Other things to have in the green room

Respect people's body space & autonomy

Different people have different levels of modesty and personal space. When you are having models in a shoot who are not professional models, but are your friends who are there doing you a favor it is important to keep this in mind. Furthermore, as a man designing corsets for women and putting them on women it is even more important.

At various points, I was adjusting the necklines of corsets, pining jewelry on corsets, etc. I did my best to say what I was planning to do each time and say “Is this OK”? In almost every case the response was “Yes, go ahead” but the act of asking and the willingness to change if needed is important.

In addition, when designing corsets for various people I made a point of asking them “Are you OK with this” in advance. “Would you want to wear a plunge-front corset that shows a lot of cleavage?” Of the people I asked several said yes, and several said no.

Keep people's measurements private. Most people don't want their measurements spread around the internet!


Book the Photographer first!

The first thing to organize is the photographer. Without them, nothing happens.

Get a hair and makeup person in advance

Our hair & makeup person was found the night before as the friend of one of our models. In the future, I would want to book them in advance. Possibly I would book them right after the photographer when setting up the shoot.

Also, it might be good to have the hair and makeup person and first model show up 30 minutes before the photographer, to not keep people waiting.

Have someone around to help out

Have a facilitator, someone to help people get dressed, and make sure that people are hydrated. We found that having someone to help lace up corsets, ensure that there was enough lacing handy, etc was a massive help.


Have some signs around to inform people of things
* Green Room
* WIFI Password

Order Pizza

Put money in the budget to feed the staff and crew. In addition, we had water, coffee, tea, and some bagels and such for folks to eat if they wanted. Asking in advance for any dietary restrictions is also a good idea.

Have seating

Setting out some folding chairs for people to sit on (models and their partners).

Plan to crash after

After the shoot don't plan anything else. I found that after everyone left all I wanted was to curl up with a bagel and a book.