I have the hardest time vocalizing my vision, so here's what I emailed Justine, the videographer, when she asked for the background story:
"Here's what I've come up with for a mini background story- They're 3 girls in a indie/rock/alt/pop type band, so they'll kind of have they're own personalities in their style (aka not uniform wardrobe/hair/makeup/etc.) This is a shoot for their album cover & accompanying promo pics, and they're just hanging out & having fun. So I guess the video would have the vibe of a promo/teaser. It would be directly about the clothes & their wearability & that vintage is cool (my shop focuses on wearable vintage), but the story would (to the viewer) not have such a direct "fashion commercial" vibe. Does this even make sense?"
That's also where the title of the video & look book came from. "Riot Girls" is the name of their (make-believe) band.
We knew we only had 2 hours to shoot the look book & video, so we'd have to find a variety of set options close together. My friend, Carter, and I spent hours walking around back alleys all over the city. I wanted to showcase what York City has to offer, so we went on a hunt to find some cool outdoor spaces. We finally settled on Royal Square as the final location because almost every building on that block is a different color!
After spending hours/days/weeks on Youtube & Pandora trying to find the perfect upbeat girl rock/indie/electro/pop song to accompany the video, I finally found "Birth in Reverse" by St. Vincent. It really matched the vibe I wanted for the video & I was so excited when I heard it. Along the way I found some other great indie rocker girls that are totally worth mentioning: Halsey, Melanie Martinez, Mariana & the Diamonds & Zara Larsson. All of which are currently on my playlist.
The first thing I did for this shoot is started searching Pinterest for mood board images. That, and watch a ton of music videos on YouTube. I created a Pinterest board for all the images & videos I planned to use for inspiration, so the when I contacted the photographer & videographer about my vision, I had something more concrete to show them. Pinterest really helped with narrowing my concept. I looked up a ton of band pics, vintage & modern (see: Nirvana & Haim), & chose my favorites for the shoot inspiration. I also used pinterest to find make up & hair looks. The benefit of knowing all the girls was that I knew what looked good on them & I knew their make up and hair skills. (They each did their own looks!) For Gabi's look, I chose a softer pink palette because I knew she could rock it. Plus it's would look super cool in contrast to her buzzed hair. For Seren's look, I chose to go a little more classic rock, deep hues for her eyes & a dark berry lip. For Ariel's look, I went totally bold. The day I told her she was going to be covered in glitter for the shoot she was already wearing glitter eye shadow! Once I felt like I had enough images to get the visual concept across to everyone, I added a little rock-n-roll hand for good measure & sent it out to the group!
About the Crew
For the models, I wanted to choose a group of girls that already knew each other so that the "band" chemistry would be real. Luckily I have some beautiful friends! I know Ariel, Gabi & Seren from working/living downtown & you may have spotted them in a few other photo shoots downtown.
Justine Hulsey was the videographer who shot & edited the amazing video! I've never worked with video, but she was so easy to work with & really helped with all the preparation work (which is my weakness).
Allison Witherow was the wonderful photographer who pulled the whole look book together. She was one of the first people I approached to work on this project & I'm so happy I reached out to her! Isn't every photo beautiful?
The photoshoot itself was breeze, literally. It was so windy! Luckily that works well for product shots because it adds volume to skirts & dimensions to hair. We got everything done in under 2 hours including outfit changes, last minute styling, switching from photo to video, & moving locations several times. I'd say that's a win! We had so much footage & photos to work with, it was hard to narrow it down to the final cuts for the video & images for the look book.
Would I do anything differently? Try not to forget the speaker next time! Since I had previously chosen the song that would accompany the video, we wanted to be playing the song during the shoot to set the right tone. But since I forgot the bluetooth speaker, Justine had to play the song over & over again from her phone the whole time. Sorry about your data, Justine! I hope you have unlimited.