Behind The Scenes of Melissa Rodwell’s Amazing Magazine Shoot

This shoot was special to me for a lot of reasons. First of all, it was my first editorial that I shot right after relocating to my second home, New York City. Secondly, it was a reunion with Donald Lawrence who owns Amazing Magazine along with his wife, creative director Tracy Wingrove. Donald is a stylist and we have done some great shoots together like the Asian Husky story for Kurv Magazine and the painted ladies story for L’Officiel Ukraine. Thirdly, Donald asked if we could use my dog, Mia, as a model. Mia has never done a photo shoot before so it was sweet to have her on set. Lastly, we needed to rent a 16 passenger van and we needed a driver so I asked my boyfriend if he could be our designated driver. He agreed so Matt got to come along on a fashion editorial shoot and really get to see how I work!

We chose a location up near Croton on Hudson, in the woods. The title of the editorial is The Outsiders and Donald wanted this couple out in the middle of the country, sort of doing their own thing, lost in wonderland, hitchhiking their way around. Our model couple was Paige Knudtsen from Major Models and Orion Klein from Red Model Management. I didn’t use any external lighting, instead I decided to use natural light and would have someone hold a reflector for some of the shots that were in the shadier areas.

It was about a one hour trip outside of NYC. We picked up the van the night before and then headed to the West Village to pick up the crew and models. There were 11 people and the dog and about 14 garment bags crammed in the back of the van. We got about 4 looks shot, took a break for lunch, found a new location and then shot the rest. The first shot was of a red bridge that was really beautiful. As soon as we were ready to shoot, two guys in a red ferrari decided to take a joy ride and then parked right in the middle of the bridge to take some selfies. It was super annoying and even after we asked them politely to leave, they took their sweet time. Shooting on location “guerilla style” has it’s complications sometimes. But they finally left and we were able to shoot on that bridge for about 45 minutes without interruption. The rest of the day went without any complications which is fairly uncommon with so many people on set and so many wardrobe changes. It does help to work with super professional people who do this often so they can trouble shoot without throwing hissy fits. In the end it truly is about team work and team spirit. A special thanks to Nathan Rosenkranz who did the hair and Bryan Zaragoza who did the make up. Both were great to work with and super easy going.

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Most of the shoot was shot with my Nikon D800 and my 85mm lens. I took out my 24 mm lens for a few of the wide shots. Mia wasn’t that used to being “directed” but she did her best. She gets away with most things because of that face of hers. We had a call time of 6 AM and we were done shooting at 6 PM. We returned the crew to the West Village, returned the van to the East Village and went for some food. We were exhausted but it was that good kind of exhaustion.

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Donald sent me a color mood board for the processing. He wanted the images with a cool, dark and moody tone. I processed the images and sent the tiffs to my retoucher. The best part of this story is that Amazing Magazine has always been an online publication but Donald and Tracy were able to go to print with this issue so my story came out in print. I know it’s “old school” thinking of me, but I still enjoy seeing my work in print. I’m happy for them, they’ve worked so hard on their magazine and they are finally seeing some nice rewards.

Melissa Rodwell