Behind the Scenes: Photographing Chained

Behind the Scenes No Comments

One of the most important parts of Chained is the fact that every project is demonstrated through full color step by step photographs.  Achieving this lofty goal was not always easy however.  Rebeca and Jenna spent countless hours in Blue Buddha Boutique’s teenie tiny photo room under hot lights, shooting, reshooting and trouble-shooting.  With such close quarters, it’s a good thing Rebeca and Jenna get along swimmingly!

You might be wondering just what is going on in these pictures.  Why is Rebeca on her knees?  Why is Jenna on her tip-toes?  what’s with that towel?  In order to fit in our tiny space and get just the right angles to really see the steps of each weave and how Rebeca was holding her pliers to get the right leverage, we had to be a little…er…flexible.  Literally.  Rebeca spent hours on her knees holding the projects still under super hot lights to get just the right photo each time and Jenna worked quickly to frame each shot, standing above Rebeca to achieve the same viewpoint one might have of their own hands completing each step.  What started out feeling like an intense round of Twister eventually became the norm.

You might think based on our shirts that we shot most of this book in the summer.  The truth is, we shot a good portion of the book in the dead of winter in Chicago – the room just got that hot.  We actually started to refer to the room as “the sun” and Rebeca would ritually groan “Hello, sun” every time Jenna turned on the lights.  We weren’t the only ones feeling the effects of “the sun” however as we noticed that parts of the camera began to melt when under the lights for longer shoots.  Our very fancy solution to this problem was – you guessed it – the blue towel.  Normally reserved for drying tumbled rings, these blue towels are a staple in the Blue Buddha studio and came in quite handy to protect our camera.

You’re probably getting the picture now that we had a little cabin fever when we were in that room which lead to some goofy habits, including referring to our gray card (a tool used for post-production color and exposure correction) as Waldo.  It was necessary for “Waldo” to appear in every photo for post-production purposes and as such, Jenna spent part of her time framing Rebeca’s weaving digits and the other part looking for the gray card.  Looking at our first contact sheets, Rebeca couldn’t help but laugh at the card’s sneaky appearance in every picture reminding her of the old “Where’s Waldo?” books.  Waldo became part of the team and as much as we wanted to destroy him by the end of the process, we just couldn’t.  He now holds a proud position on our photo room door.

On more than one occasion we experienced bizarre and sometimes dangerous light-related episodes.  This included Jenna dropping a hot light on Rebeca’s head (see above photos and use your imagination to understand how that happened!) and even the casing of a light literally shooting off when we turned it on (an incident that, when reported to B&H Photo, garnered a genuine reaction of disbelief.)  One of the sillier incidents involved light bulbs mysteriously morphing and growing little bumps.  We soon realized they too were being affected by the heat and made it a point to up our A/C (yes, even in the Chicago winter!)

In the end, it was 100% worth it.  The photos look stellar and are guaranteed to help you complete every project correctly and with minimal “noggin-scratching”.  I wouldn’t say we’d be ready to do it all again real soon…but who knows.  Like childbirth, we will likely forget the “pain” and be ready for book number two in no time.


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