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Home » Shooting Days » 2015 - 2018 » May 2018

The house we rent is 2017 was so beautiful, we used it again in 2018. We went to some interesting places in the surroundings (not the same as the year before).

Wednesday May 9

There are no models present the first day, because our initial plan was to go to Germany for a day of shooting and pick up the models to Belgium. But they were no german models available, so there is no reason to drive to Cologne. Not using the house costs us already 500€.

Thursday May 10

The pictures are shown chronologically. On the first and last day we only took pictures at the house and at the church.

For the third picture we put the model in the shadow and used a reflector to send some extra light to his face. The light is more controlled and diffuse when you use a reflector.

Our aim was to do a fotoshoot in Cologne at the Rhine. This is really a beautiful place with lots of interesting spots and i would like to use this location again. After the shootings, the german models would drive with us to Belgium. But there were no german models, so we cancelled the trip to Cologne. That was also the reason why they were no models present on wednesday: the shootings would begin thursday in Cologne. After all, two models were present at the Shooting Days.

Instead of going to Germany, we did fotoshoots at the house: the swimming pool, the jacuzzi, the two gardens and the main fitness room that was used as photographic studio (models were not particullary interested in training their bodies those days). I did most of the shootings at the backporch of the nearby church: it was much quieter there.

They were some models from the model competition "Best Model for Belgium". Some models from the competition did not arrive, so there is absolutely no difference between models who do fotoshoots for the fun and models who are preparing themselves for a competition and maybe a job in the modelling business.

It's a pity, because a catwalk learning session was planned the following days and some models really needed some training. A catwalk is not the same as walking the dog.

Two german photographers were present too (they will stay at the house for the whole time) and a third did come and drove back home in the evening. Thimister is not far away from the border and in less than 20 minutes you are at the border with Germany or the Netherlands.

When i transform a picture to black and white, i don't use the mechanical tool available in Photoshop.

I first select a color channel (red, green or blue) and use it as monochrome channel. If the result is not good enough, i process each color individually, making it appear darker or brighter.

After this step, i change the picture to duotone: this was originally a printing process that used two colors (black and a second color) to enhance the rendering.

Friday May 11

We go to the sanatorium of Dolhain, and old medical facility that was build just after the second world war for children who had a positive tuberculosis reaction. The facility was closed in the 1980 and left to decay. The last years, it is used for airsoft and you can find small pellets everywhere in the buildings. The smaal circular pellets are dangerous nearby staircases, so watch your steps.

The sanatorium is a great ocation, but the airsoft groups have modified the building in some places. The normal brick walls were replaced by ugly concrete walls, some original windows were replaced by plastic ones and everywhere you can see voting boots used by the players to conceal themselves. This is plainly ugly.

They are still interesting rooms, mostly at the staircases in the middle and on one side of the building. I took the best pictures this day. There was virtually no wind and the weather was really fine. We went to the rooftop of the building to take some pictures. The river Vesdre winds near the sanatorium. It's water is very pure and was used for washing wool and linnen in the nearby villages. Verviers was a very important town because of this business.

Halfway the day, the keepers of the building put old stuff on fire (mostly plastic water bottles used by the airsoft players) and the smoke forced us out of the buildings. We contnued our shootings at the old firefighters car, each year a bit more derelect.

Besides the german photographer, we had two extra dutch photographers who stayed at the hotel in Liège. We really needed those photographers, because it's better to work individually (one model and one photographer).

This system where some of the photographers stay at a nearby hotel for the night is a real good idea, because there is too much people at the house in the evening. Thats also the reason why we do shootings on different locations: the house is really big, but you cant concentrate on your photoshoot when they are continuously people around you.

The main theme for the day was military/security, but we didn't impose the theme to the models. The theme is well suited to the environment ans some photographers did a really good job with this theme. A more basic outfit (blue jeans, green t shirt and sunglasses are also well suited here.

Saturday May 12

Today we'll go to the University of Liège. There are two german photographers, two belgian (dutch) photographers and myself. The two german photographers work together and take nearly the same pictures, so i don't see the need to invite them both for the next event.

There is a different mix of models today and the atmosphere is excellent.

After the shooting we'll go somewhere to eat something. The models have found a macdonalds nearby. However it's located in the centre of the town and there is no parking anywhere. Het is een leuke dag geworden en na de shooting gaan we iets eten in Luik zelf. De modellen hebben een hamburgertent gevonden in het midden van de stad. Het duurt bijna een uur om tot op de plaats te geraken, en natuurlijk is er geen parking in de buurt. There are impressive buildings in the city, but everything is dirty. I do not feel hungry anymore once i see the dirty tables in the macdonalds. Conclusion: don't ever allow models to choose a dining place. And by the way, don't let the models choose locations for a shooting, or let them choose their cloting if you want to avoid a total disaster.

The two belgian photographers are leaving this evening and we go back to the house. One of the german photographers is quite sick and is also leaving. Only two photographers are left for the last day. There is no shooting in the evening (with torches and a smoke machine like last year). We are too much exausted. The house is not used to it's full potential this year.

I have two pictures that i would call "good enough", not only to be used for my portfolio, but also to be used for the promotion of other events.

One of the models is very motivated, easy going and can adapt to different photogrphers and different styles. It was his first shooting and you can see that he learned a lot about posing techniques.

Another model would come with his girlfriend. Normalle i never invite girls, but she was a "professional model" so i tried it. The girl posed mostly with another models and of course there was some trouble in the evening when the models went to town. Thats the reason why i never invite girls. The last day they stayed in their bed till 10 'o clock and didn't participate with our shootings.

Sunday May 13

It starts to rain and it will rain till the afternoon. Our aim was to work with two groups: one staying at the house and doing shootings around the house and one group going to the location, an old railoras station nearby. We had a similar scheme last year and it worked beautifully. This year however it's raining and we have only two photographers. We used the photostudio for the shootings.


When i look at the pictures it seems to me that they are not much good pictures, pictures that are tecnically perfect and can be used to promote our next events. Sometimes, i have more interesting pictures on a normal single day individual fotoshoot. During the shooting days i need to do the shopping, do the cleaning and bring the models to the nearby railroad station. It seems that during the shooting days, the other photographers benefit more from the event than i do.

Of course i try to process the images as soon as possible, but it's not normal that the whole processing is done in less than a week, like a normal individual one day-one model shooting.

You need to invite 30 models to have 10 of them. You begin with sending an invitation to the models one month before the event (less than 5% will respond). Then one week later, you sen again a message, because most models don't respond to the first message (now you will have a 10% response rate). The next week you ask for a confirmation (only 5% will confirm). The week before the event you begin to make the planning (which day(s) the models will come). Again, you will loose 90% of the persons who responded. One day before the event you ask again a confirmation and a timing. How mch models you will loose depends if there is something else to do somewhere (festival). And 50% of the people who confirmed the day defore will effectively make the trip. So be prepared: organising shooting days is a month long full time job.

The event was expensive for only two days of good shootings. The costs are paid by the advertisements on the websites i manage, but the money could have been spent more effectively. It's clear we need to change the formula.

The second international shooting days will happen halfway september in Ordensburg Vogelsang. That's a location that i like very much, i went there the year before (and also the years before). We'll probably go for such a formula in the next year: a hotel or youth hotel (like Vogelsang) instead of a house.



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