Behind The Scenes: Portfolio Shoot

When you’ve got four pairs of muddy boots, three dress bags full of clothes and a pile of earrings that seem to have become one with the necklaces sharing their bag, you know you’ve been on a location shoot.

Yesterday I was part of a team that got together to do a gothic-themed shoot to build up our portfolios. There was me, the stylist for the shoot. Our photographer was Andrew Boschier, our model was the incredibly gorgeous Lora and our makeup artist was Viktoria Kohl.

The whole shoot concept was Andrew’s idea – he had wanted to shoot something Gothic-themed for ages, and so had I, so we teamed up, drafted in our model and makeup artist and the shoot was born.

Choosing the outfits for this was huge fun. I used to be a goth and being able to delve into my old sources for clothing was a nice trip down memory lane, but I did notice that there’s plenty of acceptably goth stuff to be had on the high street these days – all the accessories came from high street shops, which impressed me, because ‘proper’ goth jewellery can be hella-expensive.

We shot first of all in Hambledon Church’s graveyard.


For this, Lora was wearing a brocade jacket from Archangel (picked up for pennies in a charity shop), a black layered skirt from Republic (remember that shop, UK readers?) and shoes from Dorothy Perkins. We went for ‘mourning’ as the theme for the poses. Doesn’t she look fantastic?

There was a really awesome tree in Hambledon Church’s graveyard.


Lora fitted, so we took some pictures of her emerging from the tree all goddess-like. We shot a lot round the graveyard here, but as I was wrangling reflectors and whatnot for Andrew, I didn’t take as many photos as I’d have liked.

After we were done here, we moved on to Waverley Abbey.


Hello equipment piece just chillin’ in the middle of the ruins, as you do. We shot some more of the Victorian-style mourning outfit here, then switched to something more glam.


The look here was a bit more modern and sleek, a mix of Morticia Addams and a female vocalist for a heavy metal band. It looked so good against the ruins of the abbey, and I can’t wait to see the final images.

While we were on break, we found a candle that we decided to make use of – we suspect some rather… interesting… things go on at Waverley Abbey after dark (in Andrew’s words, a goth fashion shoot is the least of their worries) because we not only found the candle, but some human hair that looked like it had been cut recently. This weirded us out a bit, but then people do what they do. As long as nobody was hurt, that’s fine by me.

The candle was used mostly when we switched to a little more colourful outfit – my ‘witchy’ dress (which yes, I wear) and some sock boots that Lora declared to be a little creepy. I’m with her – I’m not a fan of sock boots and find them remarkably odd. Still, we got the look we wanted and placed her in the natural circle on the floor of the ruins to make it look like she was summoning something.


It was hella muddy, as you can see – my aunt and I have spent this morning cleaning mud off the shoes we used on the shoot.

The final outfit was a more modern twist on gothic, and we moved into a tunnel that is in another part of the ruins to shoot this look.


It was cold, it was windy and it was starting to rain. We wrapped this up quickly and retreated to the warmth of the cars. It was a long day, but a lot of fun and from what I’ve seen of the raw images, they look great. I have no doubt that when they’ve been tweaked a little, they’ll look even more amazing.

It’s a rare thing to find a team that you want to work with again and again, but I think I’ve definitely found my ‘tribe’, as it were. I want to keep shooting with these guys. Our visions meshed well, we all got on with each other and most important of all, we had a laugh. I cannot stand shoots where everyone is really, really serious – yes, it’s work, but it’s meant to be fun as well. If you’re not enjoying it, why are you doing it in the first place?

And we did have fun – Lora and Andrew were just chilling out checking light levels here while I munched my way through my lunch.


It was tiring, and we had a very wet drive home. I can’t wait to see the final edited images, which I’ll post when I’ve got them. Portfolio building is fun! I can’t wait to see what The Dream Team comes up with for our next shoot together.


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