The Welshot ‘Trash the Dress’ event on Saturday was somewhat different from most Welshot events. Firstly, it was an event where some new techniques were being tried out including paint, smoke and paint powder – and it wasn’t certain how different things would work. Secondly, because we were using paint, smoke and paint powder it was necessary for everyone to take photographs at the same time – which meant that the models couldn’t concentrate on a single person doing the shooting. Thirdly, several Welshot team leaders were taking part and shooting alongside others for the event rather than checking that everyone was using sensible settings and getting the shots that they wanted.
Of course, because it was a Welshot event, everyone was still making sure that everyone else was getting shots.
We started with some shots where Alex and Rachel, our two models, could be shot against more naturalistic backgrounds without worrying as much about marking their dresses. With some assistance from dress ‘swooshers’ Alex’s train caught the air in a startling manner, whilst later Rachel danced, bared footed on one of the grassed dunes.
We had some pictures with the models standing on the nearby bench, and on a stone wall structure in the car park – luckily they were both very good at balancing!
We had to get used to shooting around each other and making sure that we were not moving into other people’s shots when we moved – this meant that it was not as easy to pick the ‘perfect’ spot for each shot – but everyone managed to get shots – and we’ll all have different view points despite all taking photos at the same time, so we should all have different pictures from the day.
We moved to the nearby woodland where we experimented with various different smoke options. We had three different smoke options: a double ended smoke producer that had to be laid on the ground; a single ended smoke producer that could be held (although it got quite hot at the end) and a firework smoke bomb that needed to be lit – each offered different advantages.
Single ended smoke grenade held behind the models and moved (by my son!) as appropriate.
Double ended smoke grenade placed behind Alex (who was standing in a patch of sunlight).
Firework smoke bomb lit and placed behind Alex (who was still standing in the patch of sunlight).
Rachel, who is a dancer, then took one of the single ended smoke grenades and stood on the path and danced with it.
We were all quite surprised that the orange smoke didn’t seem to colour either her skin or her dress! She later moved locations with another smoke grenade, but as we were in a windier location the smoke dispersed much more quickly.
The paint then came out! We discovered that the bottles of paint we had provide a thin stream of paint – the non-glittery ones are better as they are not quite as thick. We also discovered that the glittery paints have a glue-like substance in them which makes it uncomfortable for the models when it dries – so avoid them for this purpose!
Much paint later, both girls had a substantial amount of paint on their dresses (and arms, faces and hair!) but both still managed to remain remarkably happy despite that!
It should be remembered that each bottle of paint weighs quite a lot – and each girl had at least two bottles of paint emptied onto them, so both dresses weighed a lot more by this stage – again worth considering if organising a shoot like this because walking any distance becomes much more tiring.
We tried out the paint powder – but dissipated quickly and with all the other paint already being there, it didn’t make much of an impression. We headed to the beach, stopping briefly to take advantage of a rise in the dunes which gave a good opportunity to see the dresses where now the paint had spread further due to the movement of walking. The colours on Rachels dress looked stunning against the sky, whilst the clouds behind Alex’s looked like her train.
Finally, we reached the beach. Unfortunately, the tide was out so we couldn’t float the trains on the waves or see what the dresses looked like in the surf. However, we were able to take advantage of a number of stretches of water offering great reflection opportunities. We were very lucky that the sun remained out most of the time
Rachel offered to lie down and later even got quite wet on the edge of a pool at which point a family with two small children was dragged along by the girls shouting ‘mermaid!’ Apparently it made their day particularly memorable seeing mermaids on the beach!
We finished on the beach due to the dark storm clouds which were threatening rain – the last thing our two models needed by this stage was to be drenched. It did offer a very striking backdrop for a last couple of shots before we all headed back to the car park. I’m sure that I’m not the only one with a huge number of interesting shots from the day.
Thank you for another memorable day’s shooting Welshot!
Words and Photography by Academy Member Sarah Rushton