Since a very long time I wanted to have a shooting with models dressed as Nuns but never really pushed further to organise it until two months ago. Then, I started to check at several Party Stores where I could buy some habits and was surprised to see the variety of costumes offered; from the classic and traditional Nun to the sexy one and up to the zombie one… For sure, they have availability for all tastes and for all kind of party.
As there will be absolutely no troubles to find all the material needed, I guess it was time to ask few models if they were interested and to explain to them what I have in mind for this shooting session. Opening an open discussion with them and sharing ideas helped a lot moving forward and finally make a decision to schedule this event. It was two months ago.
I got very quickly a lot of interest and very positive answers from several models willing to participate despite the fact it will be a TF Shooting (Everyone working on a free basis in exchange of a copy of the images realised that day). We commonly decided to go for the theme “Religion and Sins” and the selected location will be the small but perfect setting at the ruins of Culross Abbey in Central Scotland.
Anyone knows that willing to create images with a subject like “Religion & Sins” may be very controversial and a little difficult so we needed to be very careful to not hurt anyone feelings. It was my very first time, as well as for everyone else involved, to work on a sensitive subject like that so we decided to do it “soft” and to see how it goes.
There is of course absolutely no intention about mocking or criticising one Religion or another. The only idea was just to have some fun, create Art and experiment what we could do together as a team.
During the two months preceding the scheduled shooting date, I had to deal with a lot of changes on the modelling side. Life obligations making it a little more complicated than expected and some models not being available anymore. But, in another hand, some others asked to join our team so everything was still looking pretty well.
Finally, came the so long awaited scheduled date and it was time to head to the small location village where the shooting was going to be held. At the very last minute, three models changed their mind and declined to shoot with us. One of the three Makeup Artists was also on the missing list on the final day.
It is never fun when things like that happen and it brings some unnecessary stress to deal with but well, nothing we can do about it and by respect and to show how appreciated are everyone making it, willing to work and to share the experience, moving forward is the only option.
We ended up with three models and two make-up artists. Most of them I’ve never worked with nor even met before… Did you say stressing situation?
First contact was awesome with everyone, very friendly and I could also feel a lot of motivation going on from all of them, which was a very great feeling.
The two make-up artists started their art on the first two models and directly to the parking lot before heading at the top of the village on our final location point. You’ll see few pictures of these very first moments. Then we went to the Abbey ruins and started to unpack everything including the small fitting tent allowing models to change outfits in a more comfortable way.
I had several outfits, most of them being traditional Nun habit and one sexy nun outfit. It did not take long before I started shooting with the first model ready and dressed as a Nun.
After less than an hour of shooting, having fun and believe me, laughing a lot more than I ever been used too on other sets, the final surprise came from our two make-up artists who kindly volunteered to also wear a Nun habit and entering the game with other models. So, let it be and let’s have even more fun…
I had my trusted Fuji X-Pro2 with me, the flashgun EF-X500, two zooms (XF 16-50 f/2.8 and XF 50-140 f/2.8) and two small portable LED panels. Usually when shooting portraits, my work horse is always the 50-140mm and this lens is absolutely stunning and fitting perfectly my needs.
However, for this particular session, I doubt I could do most of the work with it as I also wanted to capture more background as I usually do so I finally went to mount the 16-50mm and see how it goes.
The 16-50 f/2.8 is of course another awesome lens and the only little missing thing to make it perfect is the optical stabilisation. Anyway, I ended up shooting the whole session with the same lens mounted on my camera and all was absolutely perfect.
The only thing I really missed was my reflector that unfortunately didn’t make it to the car when I left home the morning and that’s a shame as, for once in Scotland, we had a lovely weather with a powerful sun all the time.
The reflector was really needed and another note to myself to remember to give it a permanent place on the trunk of my car.
The camera was set-up to shoot RAW + Fine JPEG with the Classic Chrome emulsion selected. I just love the rendering of Classic Chrome. ISO was on automatic setting with a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 1600. I was also working on aperture priority most of the time.
We ended the shooting session around 2:30 PM and were working since 9:00 AM
Let me tell you, it was an awesome experience. I was really pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to work with a so polyvalent, friendly and funny but yet very professional team. I’m so happy to have this shooting featured here and not only for myself but also for each and everyone who participated to this one of the kind shooting. They truly deserve it!
I hope you’ll enjoy the images we created that day and thank you very much for your interest in reading this article.
Models: Jane-Marie Cochran, Lynsey Russell and Holly Treco
Make-Up Artists (but also improvised Models): Laura Hamilton and Kim Boyd
Assistant Photographer: Anne E Milne