What really goes on behind the scenes of one of our fashion shoots? Photographer Sue Blackhurst reveals all

The sales team at the magazine initially speak to the suppliers to see who wants to be featured in the fashion edition. The agreed suppliers are then given to me, as the regular photographer for the fashion item, to arrange all aspects of the shoot.

The location for the shoot is usually decided in advance, often down to a venue that is also being featured in the magazine. I then have the responsibility for putting the rest of the shoot together, finding models, hair and make-up and the selection, collection and return of all clothing, jewellery and accessories.

The first job is to contact the model agency. We always use BOSS Model Management in Manchester, as they have always provided the highest quality of professional models for all our shoots. For our hairstyling we use Duncan Fisher Hair Designer and our Make-up Artist is Sonara Parker.

Once the team is sorted, I will then spend the day before the shoot travelling round to all the suppliers to collect the clothing and jewellery. Some of the suppliers will have chosen what they want to be featured, while others prefer me to choose what will be photographed in line with the vision for the styling on the day and based on the brief for the magazine. It usually relates to key times of the year such as spring, autumn and Christmas as this is when the new seasonal trends are launched.

On the morning of the shoot, myself, Duncan and Sonara are the first to arrive with all the clothing, lighting and to set up the hair and make-up areas. Whilst the models are being made up, I will spend the first hour setting up the lighting and looking for the best places to style each shot.

As a photographer, it’s essential that I can capture the clothing for each supplier. They want to see their outfits and jewellery being showcased, so when I take each image, my eyes are constantly skimming over every item to make sure that straps are straight, jewellery clasps are hidden and the fine details are on show. Duncan and Sonara will always be by my side to step in and tidy up the make-up and any lose hairs. It’s a long day and there’s barely time for a quick sandwich and drink at lunchtime before we call it a wrap late afternoon and begin the tidying up, as we will always leave the venue as we found it.

For me, the job is only half complete, the next morning I travel round to every supplier to return all the items, before sending off all the images for the magazine to choose which will be used for the fashion feature and which will be used for the front cover.

While working really hard, we all still manage to have a laugh and the team and myself love it.



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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