Elmwood Village Mass Appeal 2011,what can I say that probably hasn't already been said? Buffalo's favorite producer and influencer, Erin Habes, again asked me to bring in some gear for a backstage studio to photograph well over 100 models for this years Elmwood Village Mass Appeal event. Last year I set up the studio in the basement stairwell, which made for the perfect fire hazard that we luckily avoided. This year was a little different as the entire backstage workflow changed so my assistant Drew and I had a very large workspace - Thanks for that perk Erin!
The thing I loved about working the Mass Appeal fashion show is the sense of community dedication that is presented in such a grand scale. I moved to Buffalo in 2007 and immediately understood how proud people are of their city. As I have lived here and been more and more involved that feeling still ignites in my heart and it's really a blessing to be able to participate in events that bring so many talented people and characters together at one time. I've done a little traveling, for both business and pleasure, and even though its been said a thousand times it's really a testament to say that you don't see this time of community anywhere else. The only unfortunate aspect of this large community coming together is that I'm whole heartedly terrible at remembering names, so the three dozen or so "Hey Nate, how ya been" conversations I had were slightly embarassing. I blame it on being dropped on my head as a child. So it goes.
Erin and her incredible team work so hard to make the Mass Appeal to happen and like Erin said at the show, it's grown exponentially every year. Just from seeing the difference from last year, it's incredible to see the transformation the show has taken. The Mass Appeal show really exemplifies how any space, with the dedication, can be turned into a first class venue. I had to text my wife Jen a photo of how the Lafayette Presbyterian Church looked last night because we were married there in August 2010 and it certainly didn't look anything like our wedding day. The Carly & John from Road Less Traveled
really did a fantastic job of transforming a 100+ year old church into a runway fashion show venue. To add to the production of Mass Appeal, Rob Imbs
yet again kicked off the event with a stellar hype video to get everyone into the runway mood. Another piece of local flare that made the event even more entertaining.
From a photography standpoint I was very happy this year on multiple levels. I had a lot more gear this year which is a blessing and a curse. I upgraded my backdrop to a white vinyl as opposed to paper, which seems insignificant but turned out to be a lifesaver on a monetary level. Last year I went through two paper backdrops (one of which was still hidden in a corner that I hid last year). The vinyl worked out great as I was able to clean it throughout the evening, the downside is at a few points during the shoot it got too crazy to spare a moment to clean it which results in longer editing times.
Last year my main priority was to fill the room with light as much as possible. The situation I was in I had 20+ foot ceilings, different color temps everywhere and to be honest I didn't trust my skill level of controlling the light at all times to be able to adapt to problems. I flooded the room three speedlites which mainly resulted in even and slightly flat light for every exposure. This year I rolled the dice and convinced myself to be in control of the situation at all times. I picked up a 50" Westcott Apollo softbox which I used as a side fill, a 28" gridded softbox as a key and a speedlite zoomed into 105mm over the subject on a c-stand as a backlight/hair light. I encountered several pro's and con's to this setup. Not so much cons, but happy accidents. I'm shooting entirely with Canon speedlites - 1 580 and 2 430's and using the Canon 7d's pop up flash as a commander for the speedlites. One thing I know for sure - I need to invest in some radio poppers. The pop-up as a commander is great if you're in a jam as it can get the job done, but it certainly is limited and I discovered that last night. I never encountered a situation where at least two of my speedlites didn't fire, but naturally I would have preferred if my entire setup fired properly . Also side note, I know most of you don't care about any of this because you're mainly here for the photos so if you read this statement hit me up and I'll give you 30% off a future shootshoot. When you contact use promo code "I read it" and I'll take care of you - $1 says less then three people who read that sentence, hahaha. Using the 7d as a commander led to some happy accidents where the hair light and the kicker would fire, or the kicker and key would fire, or all three would fire like I preferred. I didn't freak out because it's photography and its a learning experience and it gave me an opportunity to see what it looks like when different lights in the set up fire at different points. Was it the best time to have this type of experimentation? Probably not but you have to roll with the punches that are thrown at you because if you' show your model that your freaking out then they will freak out and soon you'll have 100+ models freaking out and my high cholesterol can't handle that kind of stress.
Okay so here we are, the models of the Mass Appeal 2011 runway show. I have to thank all of them for running through the gauntlet of a hectic day followed by tremendous reward. All of the models looked fantastic and seemingly had fun. Mass Appeal brings out a lot of different models, which creates such a creative atmosphere and overall fun experience for the audience, themselves and for a photographer. I had professional, casual and first time models come onto my backdrop and all of them looked natural in their apparel and really seemed to embrace the whole concept of the Mass Appeal. Mass Appeal is one of those rare opportunities, as I said earlier, where so many different levels of talent can come together and present a first class event. And since I started out this paragraph with " The models of Mass Appeal" it's probably time for me to actually show some photography from the event right?
Okay - The models of Mass Appeal:
Thanks again to all the models from Mass Appeal. If you were a model, designer, make-up artist, hair designer or proud parent and want to see a more specified album please contact me at info(at)natebenson.com or leave a comment below.
Thanks again everyone, I had a blast!