Behind the Scenes of a Photo Shoot: Part 1 – The Preparation

Part two of this post can be found here.

Recently, I was one of seven pinup models who took part in an all day photo shoot for promotional material for an independent retro clothing and beauty store, Atomic Beauty, in Rockhampton Queensland.

So I’m bringing to you a two part “behind the scenes” post about the process and outcome, so you can see everything that goes into such an event!

A Month Before

My friend Alex assists Tegan, the owner of the shop and the force behind this photo shoot, to organise what needs doing ahead of time, such as:

  • write up to-do lists and to-bring lists both for Tegan and for the models
  • organise the models, making sure to try to include a range of different body types and looks
  • book the photographer: Vanessa from Eye Spy a Studio
  • scout out possible locations and ensure we have permission to use them, where necessary
  • organise a timeline for the day of the shoot to keep everything on track
  • arrange, with those girls who can bring their own dresses and accessories, which ones they should be bringing for the shoot

A week before the shoot, Tegan confirms with everyone that they are a-ok to be there on the day and that everyone has everything they need for the day, such as changes of shoes, water bottles, sunscreen, and snacks.

The Day Before

The morning before the photo shoot, my fellow model Alex and I wash our hair so that it will be clean and mostly dry by this afternoon, as per the instructions of the owner of Atomic Beauty/director of the photo shoot/make-up and hair artist, Tegan.  Alex spends most of the day at work, while I hang out waiting for her.  I’d woken up with a terribly puffy undereye and eyelid area due to an allergy, and I’m desperately trying to reduce the swelling using antihistamines and eye drops!

atomic beauty parlour

Luckily, by mid afternoon the puffiness is much decreased and I look mostly normal again.  At 4:30, Alex and I head to Atomic Beauty Parlour to get our hair set by Tegan.  Alex is first, having her hair dampened and set with small foam rollers to give a tight, full volume curl.

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While this happens, we chat to Tegan and I try on a couple of lovely dresses from her shop, laybying two of my favourites.  I’m next for hair, with my thicker hair being set in large foam rollers, as my hair usually provides quite enough volume on its own!  We have lots of laughs throughout the hair setting process, with Tegan being her usual hilarious self.

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With hair scarves firmly in place, Alex and I say goodbye to Tegan and pop around the corner to take photos in front of an old Masonic Hall of my Lady Vintage dress for a review.

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That done, we head off to see the new flick Crimson Peak, feeling naughty yet fabulous in our hair rollers and headscarves, before heading home for dinner, showers, and some telly with a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate.  We’re both super excited about tomorrow!


The Morning of the Shoot

It’s an early start for us, so Alex gets us going with a “mugshot” of hot, sweet tea.  By 7:30, we’re out the front of the shop, where we meet one of the other models.


Soon, Tegan lets us into the shop and as the other girls arrive one by one, she gets to work on doing everyone’s makeup.

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Assisting her today is resident hairdresser Tristan, who is tasked with making us all look as glamorous as possible.

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I watch with interest as Tegan applies Alex’s makeup, as I hope to pick up a few tips from seeing what a professional does.

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Soon, it’s my turn for make up.

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I’m really happy with how it turns out – like my usual makeup look, but with the glam turned up a few notches!

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Soon, our photographer Vanessa arrives from Eye Spy a Studio photography.  She begins by getting to know everyone and getting a feel for what each girl is bringing to the shoot.  Tegan has organised it so that we have as wide a range of different body shapes and colourings as possible to represent how pinup fashion is for everyone.  All the girls here today have a different pinup “look” and style, which Vanessa is going to showcase.

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Vanessa starts taking candid photos as we all continue to get ready.  While Alex is getting her hair styled into a voluminous mass of curls, I happen to be sitting in a spare chair at the hair basin, reading a book, with my makeup done and dress on but with my hair still in rollers and headscarf.  Vanessa and Tegan decide that it’s a perfect “every day pinup life” scene to capture.  So, following their directions, I pose my way through a series of photos, looking shocked as I sit and read a Playboy article about Pinup queen Dita von Teese!

Then it’s my turn for hair.  Tristan takes out my rollers and forms my hair into simple, flowing curls with a front swoop that makes use of my natural cowlick.

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Luckily my hair is pretty co-operative, and it is quickly styled to Tristan’s liking.

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Not surprisingly with seven girls to get ready, it’s past lunchtime before we’re all made up and dressed in our first outfits.

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Alex brings in pre-ordered sandwiches and a greek snack platter to keep our tummies from rumbling, and Vanessa begins to use the interior and exterior of the shop as a backdrop for individual photos of some of the girls, including myself.

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The shop’s vintage couch and armchairs are used for some shots, while my photos are themed “a day out shopping” as I’m photographed browsing the racks and holding up dresses to “try on”.

Photo courtesy of Eye Spy a Studio

Photo courtesy of Eye Spy a Studio

Vanessa works with the look of each girl to create a set of shots suitable to that girl’s unique look.

In part two, I’ll cover the afternoon and evening of the photo shoot.



About Vera Gin

A pinup/vintage/retro style fan from sunny Queensland, Australia.
This entry was posted in 1950s, Accessories, Atomic Beauty Parlour, beauty, Fashion, Hair and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Behind the Scenes of a Photo Shoot: Part 1 – The Preparation

  1. Camilla says:

    Wow how fun to model for a rockabilly/pinup boutique…you look so beautiful! xo


  2. Pingback: Behind the Scenes of a Photo Shoot: Part 2 – An Afternoon of Photography | Vera Gin Vintage

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