As a photographer, sometimes all of your best laid plans fall apart and you’re forced to think outside of the box. In those instances, be open to new opportunities because you never know what better thing will come along. Case in point: last October, I started planning a photoshoot to capture the essence of the free spirited, bohemian/gypsy lifestyle. I was inspired by images I had seen of beautiful lace dresses, feathers, headbands, tattoos, and ornate jewelry. Many hours were put into compiling mood boards and culling through the internets for inspirational images to communicate to other creatives.
This shoot was originally inspired when a friend showed me the Tibetan yurt that she lives in. I really wanted to shoot in the yurt, and it all fell into place when I got in contact with Jasmine Hamed, a San Francisco based wardrobe stylist. Jasmine brings her years of experience as a fashion editor and stylist. As a bonus, Jasmine basically lives the lifestyle I wanted to capture. Jasmine is part of a burning man tribe called Deep Tea Haus, who specializes in creating bohemian/gypsy gatherings focused around groovy tunes and Chinese tea ceremony.
Everything seemed to be coming together and I was psyched to start shooting. Unfortunately, after countless back and forth emails, the location fell through. Or so I thought!
After all the photoshoot planning around the yurt, I had to step back and think outside the box to consider other locations. It occurred to me that one of my recent clients–Hicham Tazi, owner of Tazi Design in San Francisco–owned a business that imported beautiful handmade lighting fixtures, furniture, and decor from Morocco. I had worked with Hicham to shoot some of his products. We have a great relationship, so I reached out to him about my search for a good photoshoot location. Hicham was more than willing to help and even graciously offered his home.
Location, Location, Location
Hicham Tazi lives in a bright and airy Eichler home in Marin County, CA. Joseph Eichler was known for his mid-century modern ranch-style homes. Hicham’s Eichler home has a lot of light and is draped with all of the elements I was searching for. And luckily Jasmine was really into the idea of Moroccan-modern mixed with bohemian vibes.
One of the best features of Hicham Tazi’s home is the large bank of south-facing windows. These windows let in a lot of light; however, the backyard had a black fence, a lot of palm trees and lush greenery that were a little distracting, and didn’t quite fit in with our theme. In order to make a cleaner and dreamier background, I draped a large 12′ x 12′ 1/4 stop poly-silk outside on the lip of the roof. I then fired a strobe into the silk, effectively making a huge, beautiful light source. I also used barn doors to prevent the light from spilling all over the place.
Considering the last minute location change, I think the shots turned out fantastic! It’s ironic that I had to embrace that free spirited state of mind to overcome the initial setback. Photoshoots almost never go off without a hitch. But when I’m forced to rethink the original plan, I’m often surprised at the results.
I hope you enjoyed reading my approach to this shoot!
Paul C. Buff Alienbee B1600 Flash Unit x2
Paul C. Buff White Lightning X3200 Flash Unit x2
Triggered with PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver
Matthews 12×12′ White Artificial Silk
Photography: Thomas Kuoh Photography
Behind the Scenes Film:
Produced by Solstream Studios
Directed, Filmed, and Edited by RJ Sánchez
Location, Furniture and Props:
Tazi Designs, Hicham Tazi
Wardrobe, prop stylist:
Hair and Makeup:
Kris Jung – @krisjungbeauty