BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial students collaborated with one of the city's best loved charities St Luke's Hospice, to show that high-end fashion doesn’t have to come with a price tag.
Proving that pre-loved clothing can help you dress your best without breaking the bank, the students currently studying the programme aimed at developing the broad range of skills needed in today's fast paced and competitove photographic industry, browsed the rails of one of the charity’s 30 stores to source clothing for a bespoke photoshoot at the idyllic Mount Edgcumbe.
The resulting images were prominently featured in the windows of the city-centre store, highlighting the exceptional work of our students abilities in not only capturing the photos but also sustainably styling and organising the shoot.
We spoke with Catherine Hyde, who took the role of stylist, Mi Kelly who was one of the photographers, and Alice Conway who filled the role of producer, to find out more...
Tell us about the brief that you received and your first thoughts about it…
Catherine: The brief we received from St Luke’s was to create photographs for their new Winter window that embraced the Christmas and New Year party look. They gave us the freedom of choosing our own outfits for the photoshoot, from anything and everything within the store. I was excited to be part of this project as it embraced sustainable fashion and the fact that we had total creative freedom in terms of styling, for me personally I found it really appealing as I have an interest in this area.
Mi: With the theme being Christmas and New Year evening party outfits, they wanted the photos to look sophisticated and elegant, matching the style of the house at Mount Edgcumbe where we were shooting. My initial thoughts were excitement due to the fact we had free range of the clothes, shoes and accessories and we were able to piece together a whole look from scratch!
Talk us through the process of sourcing the clothes and organising the photoshoot…
Mi: We decided that the stylist and photographers would go into the shop to source the outfits, where we tried a few outfit choices on and started to film the video documenting our process. Alice, the producer for the project, stayed behind and booked all the required equipment for the shoot day.
Catherine: The process of sourcing the clothes was fun and surprising. The quality of the clothing within the store was really good and there were lots of other outfit options we could have used for the photoshoot had we wanted more. I took on the role of stylist within the group, and after looking at our location for the shoot I felt that a classy, elegant look to the outfits would suit best. I chose the black dress with the gold detailing as I thought it was elegant with a fun twist by having the open back detailing. Similarly to the blue silk dress, the cross detail on the back of the dress sold it to us immediately.
I prepared the co-ordinating jewellery and accessory combinations to accompany the dresses, and assisted the make up team on site to create the look to fit the aesthetic we were going for. On shoot day I was responsible for assisting the model when changing between outfits, steaming the outfits so that they looked perfect as well as helping with composing the photograph by directing the models posing.
Sounds like you had lots of fun! What was the highlight of the project?
Alice: There wasn't just one section of the week that really stood out for me as it was all interesting and something a little bit different. The location, Mount Edgcumbe House, was lovely and it was great to shoot in such a grand setting. After a week of hard work it is alway fulfilling to see everything you have produced, so when everyone finally got to see the photos printed and the video edited that was probably my highlight.
Catherine: I agree! The highlight of the project was definitely St Luke’s reaction to the body of work that we produced, they felt that the photographs we had taken captured their vision perfectly, so I felt very pleased that I was able to portray charity shop clothing in such a glamorous way.
“It’s great that while the images look so professional, the outfits sourced from our shop are absolute bargains" - St Luke's shop manager Julie Bickford.
And what was the biggest challenge?
Mi: The most challenging aspect of the task was the timing, there were so many of us in a team and so many areas of the location that we wanted to shoot in but so little time to do so, we were shooting right up until the last minute!
Catherine: I also think the biggest challenge was time management on the day. We were just one of several groups of photographers at Mount Edgecombe that day, so it was challenging to refine our lighting and styling in such short bursts. Ideally we had wanted to shoot in more rooms within the house, but we were all very pleased with the locations that we managed to shoot in.
Another minor challenge was keeping the model warm, although in the images you cannot see, Abbie our model was freezing! It was a group effort to keep her from feeling the chill in such a huge house!
What did you learn that you might use for your future projects?
Mi: I have learned for future projects to plan more efficiently, with the specific shots that you aim to take during the day so that there is enough time to get everything done!
Alice: As the producer I planned the whole shoot day out, but I've learned that it is always important to keep some extra time aside for any unforeseen setbacks. For all of us, especially the first year students, I feel working to a client brief has been useful for getting used to working for a client.
Catherine: I learnt that charity shops are a really good place to source outfits for a photoshoot, they have such good variety and you can’t really argue with the affordability of the clothing either. I will definitely look at sourcing further outfits from St Luke’s and continue to develop my styling skills.
Interested in studying photography? Take a look at one of our dedicated photography undergraduate programmes by clicking here. You can see more of Catherine's work by following her on Instagram, @catherinehydephotography.