We’ve all seen those “Behind The Scenes” videos of what goes on behind the camera at a photo shoot. Hell, I’m going to post one at the bottom of this post!
You’ve seen it, some exotic location, people holding things, having makeup done and generally having a wonderful time. But how much of it is true? What do those videos not show? Is it actual work? Do I actually have cause to sit here, seething with envy at the lives of those smug chumps?

Today, I thought I’d clear the air, give it to you straight and be totally honest about what our job entails and what it’s like to work on a swimwear shoot. At the end of the post I’ll show you our latest behind the scenes video and you’ll be able to take it with a grain of salt, I hope.

I’m usually in two minds about our shoots. On one hand we’re off in some amazing once in a lifetime location, with water so blue it almost is unbelieveable  – you actually cannot believe it. On the other hand, there’s a pressure and stress on the situation, one that, as the owner and director of the shoot, is hard to shake.

A few weeks ago we, the We Are Handsome team all hopped a flight to the amazing Hamilton Island in Queensland to spend 5 days shooting what is our most important campaign ever. It’s important for a lot of reasons, but mostly it represents our new season and aesthetic – we’ve changed everything. That’s another story and for now, we talk shooting.

This shoot consisted of 13 people:

2 Creative Directors/Stylists
1 Photographer
1 Videographer
1 Hair & makeup Artist
2 Models (Russian & ukrainian)
3 Assistants & Runners
2 PR directors
and 1 Blogger

That’s 10 people away for 5 days. That’s a lot people to look after, feed, wake up, apply sunscreen to, make sure they’re in the right place at the right time, are  behaving professionally at all times, work well together, drink enough water, and – and to get this huge job done in the best way possible.

The jobs of mum and dad fall to Tinks and I and, as much a every one are responsible grown adults, it ends up being more like a school camp.

On any given day in this shoot, we had to deal with curveballs, rain, sun burn, bad moods, golf cart accidents, shots not working, freak waves, stubbed toes, late sleepers and the odd temper tantrum. See – just like camp!

After travelling to our location – Hamilton is only a 2 hour flight (The Maldives was 20!) – our days start at about 6am, (mine start at 5 so I can make calls to the USA WAH team, organising the next trip) with a quick breakfast before we set off for the first shot & sunrise. With a breakky that early, by the time that first shot is done at about 8:30, we’re hungry again and so 2nd breakfast (if we can fit it in) is a must to curb any morning grumpiness.

This shoot is a ‘roamer’, ie; we move locations from shot to shot. Which means packing and unpacking gear a dozen times a day, arriving to a new location, setting everything up, finding the shot, prepping the models (THIS! is neverending) and finally shooting it.

On Hamilton, some of our shots required 2 paddle boards, a speedboat and 2 swimmers – Katinka and I treading water for about an hour, moving the girls into position, swimming them back and forth – if they fall in, and the hair and makeup goes – we’ll be set back about 3 hours.

So from location to location we go, sometimes we’re wet, sometimes we’re standing in the blistering sun for hours, sometimes in a thunderstorm, and always, always hoping we get THE SHOT. But, sometimes we’re sitting on a seaplane in the middle of the ocean, turquoise water as far as the eye can see, reef below us and out of nowhere champagne appears. Yes, this happens also.

After about 12 hours – or until the sun has made its slow descent into the purple-orange horizon – we stop. We arrive, exhausted to our rooms, to shower and furiously check the day’s emails, put out fires and cram a whole days worth of normal work into the 35 minutes before we meet for dinner. We eat, review the shots of the day, have a beer and often sit in semi-awkward silence as we’re all too tired to do anything else.

One by one, our staff drop off from dinner, heading to bed or to remind their loved ones they still exist.

Tinks and I, always the last ones to leave, retire to our room to pump out as many emails as we can and plan the next day’s timeline and events before our eyes close involuntarily.

All up, the day’s been about 18 hours of go go go. As always, the shots look amazing and we swear it’s all worth it, but the stress of ‘what if?’ is always hanging over our heads. Once, the what if did come to fruition. A days’ shoot in 2010 ended up being canned and we decided to try again. Ugh.

With the right mix of people, we always have a lot of fun, laughs and memories (just like camp!) and if it all comes together, everyone’s excited by and proud of the results. Like any job, it has it’s ups and downs, it’s really just that when our downs happen we’re on a beach somewhere.

So, about that video… This is what we put together to show the world how perfect our jobs are…convincing, right?