In life I count my blessings every day and delight in the people who come across my path and teach me some of the most important life lessons!  Today as I sit here composing this latest post I am surrounded by some of those amazing people who allow me into their creative orbit.  It has been the STYLEAID 2014 photo shoot day!

Every year for STYLEAID there is a series of photographs created that work alongside the theme that are then used across all platforms that we use to promote the event – the website, the Facebook page, twitter, instagram, the invitations and tickets for the event and finally throughout the STYLEAID magazine.  This is a process that begins just after the previous years event concludes and stylist supremo Aly May begins to build in her mind the theme for the coming event.  That is not to say that the first sharing of the vision is how it will finally play out but it sews the seeds for what is to come.

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Previous themes have included Connect, Opulent, Noir, Passion and Tribe.  Each one, of course, has a very distinct back story attached to it that then influences the evolution of how the photographs evolve and finally get shot.  This year is no different and includes a full team of stylists, hair dressers and make up artists to do the preparation before the site is prepped and the photographer steps in to translate the vision.  The marriage of the initial theme, story and concept is a collaborative approach and to get the photographs to be a true representation of the vision the photographer and stylist work closely together to bring it all to life!

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This year Richard Jefferson is once again taking the reigns as the photographer attached to the shoot for this element of the event.  His ability to interpret the theme and story that Aly has put together is truly impressive as the two of them just seem to be on the same wavelength.

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The day itself is really the culmination of a much longer process and as I said before all begins with the idea of the theme and builds on from there.  This year to add a further complexity to the shoot Aly has written a complete story to go with the theme and a range of wonderful story boards that set out a creative vision that will once again give STYLEAID a unique edge.  I know that when I speak about fashion photo shoots that people focus on how glamorous is must all be but  there are weeks of coordinating hair and make up teams, working on what each of these elements will look like and prepping for the day.  Then there is sourcing the fashion that is going to be used for the shoot, contacting designers to use their garments, sourcing shoes, accessories and props for the shoot.  And of course working with a shoot for a charity event means that there is no budget and you rely on the dedication and hard work of a team of professionals who all volunteer their time to be involved.  With Aly coordinating all the creative aspects of the shoot with the assistance of the wonderful Teagan Sewell and assistants to help with the steaming, shoe taping, fittings and doing justice to the looks being presented.

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Once many of these elements are in place then it is time to look for the models who will best represent the looks that will best suit the theme, the story and the vision.  We are very fortunate to have the top model agencies in Perth on board as strong supporters of the event and that some of their amazing talent want to be involved in the shoot and in the event itself later in the year.

And so we get to the day itself.  This is a full day process to get the shots completed and began this year with the team arriving at the WA AIDS Council just after 8 am to start prepping for the arrival of the models at 9.30am.  A room is chosen for hair and one for make up and then clothes are set out and accessories looked at to decide what goes with what and then when the models arrive a fitting is done to make sure the looks will work and so that the hair and make up teams get to see what they are working with and that their creative ideas for the looks to be created will work and to make any adjustments necessary.

The models then go into hair and makeup for 4 hours to be ready for the shoot.  These teams are led by long time supporters of STYLEAID Carol Mackie and Hendra from M.A.C and Sue Morgan from Be Ba Beau leading the make up and hair  to create the looks.  This was a complex shoot this year with some very distinctive looks and much creative work to get everything just right and it takes the teams time to complete them.  This is Perth and this is summer and this shoot is happening outside so contingencies are put in place to deal with heat – an open sided marquee to sit in between takes, fans to keep cool, eskys filled with water, ice and water to be used to keep feet cool in between takes.

Then we head on site and get ready for the group shots, the individual shots and lots of hanging around in between shots as set up happens and outfits are changed.  It is great fun to be outside doing a shoot and not being in a studio this year and to see the creativity floating around both in set up, preparation and then at the shoot was just incredible.  But of course with being outside comes with a whole heap of its own challenges from attacking ants to passing speedboats drenching Euan as he attempted to get water from the Swan River – I am sure you are now wondering what it was we were shooting and our location but I cannot reveal any of that until we release the shots, the theme and other information for the event in the coming weeks.  It was a fun-filled 11 hour day that ended with some amazing shots and will give full vision to the original theme and story that Aly had all those months ago.

This is of course just one element of a complete picture that culminates with the event itself but is none the less one of the most important as it leads to the last look for the ballroom at the event, the multi media presented on the night and all other aspects of STYLEAID.  Working alongside all of this amazing talent is a privilege and an honour and in about 4 weeks time you will be able to see the fruits of this hard work when the images for STYLEAID 2014 are released!