Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hunger Games Photoshoot with Orange Turtle Photography

You've been living under a rock
if you haven't heard of this movie.
I am very fortunate to know some Extremely Talented People. In fact, I even get to call these Extremely Talented People my friends. And when one of these ETPs, my dear friend Cindy of Orange Turtle Photography, announced on Facebook that she wanted to do a Hunger Games-inspired photoshoot and needed a team, I was all ready to jump in as stylist (it is my secret (okay, not so secret anymore; and yes, I just put a parenthetical statement inside another parenthetical statement, but I don't pretend to be an English teacher) dream to be a Cinna-esque, only not for kids about to die, and I would also prefer not to die a horrible tortured death myself, and oh dear I think I just gave away a plot point), especially since I loved the book. Other HG-loving friends quickly joined our prep team as the proverbial Octavia and Venia, and a massively long gmail thread was started. After weeks of shooting ideas back and forth, we finally got together on Saturday for our epic, multi-part shoot.

The prep team's tools!
We started at my dear friend (and bedsheet supplier) Shayna's place at 11 AM for hair and make-up. Shayna took a drastic departure from her usual kind, compassionate, and classically dressed self and became the obliviously callous and flashily dressed Effie Trinket. I promise we didn't choose her just because she's the only person we know in our circle of friends with non-black hair. Our friends Jeanine and Ryan (who are getting married in a month!) played the star-crossed lovers Katniss and Peeta. Ryan was such a trooper, getting mascara done for the first time without even flinching when Alice, our make-up person started waving bristly little sticks near his eyes. Jess did an amazing job transforming Shayna fine, stick-straight hair into pin curls, as well as putting in Katniss' characteristic side braid.

Alice starts turning Jeanine into Katniss. Excuse the bad iPhone pics.
Jess starts working her magic on Shayna's hair.

While everyone was getting transformed, I made my final costume selections. I'd already worked on my version of Katniss' Girl on Fire dress for about twenty intense hours prior to the shoot, so picking out clothes for the Reaping Day and Arena were super fun. Of course, it didn't hurt that all our models brought an excellent selection of clothes for me to choose from!

At 2:30, we packed up all of our outfits, accessories, props, and gear and headed out...into the pouring rain. After weeks of gorgeously non-wintry weather, San Diego decided to grace us with a storm on a day when we couldn't afford curls going flat and make-up smearing. Yay. Thankfully, it only rained on and off once we got going and many locations were inside or under awnings and such. We ended up shooting "District 12" at the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego, "The Capitol" at UCSD's Geisel Library, and "The Arena" in the eucalyptus grove behind RIMAC. When we finally wrapped up around 6:30, everyone was cold and tired, especially since none of the costumes were particularly warm. Jeanine in particular was such a trooper for wearing just two thin layers of chiffon for the Girl on Fire shots! By the end of the day, the conclusion was that models work dang hard for just standing around looking pretty.

Octavia and Effie look on as Katniss and Peeta get their promotional photos done. Does this picture convey how freezing cold and wet and muddy it was in the eucalyptus grove? Because it was.

Cinna & Katniss post-shooting.
I felt so privileged to be able to work with such ETP for a professional shoot like this! I felt like I got all the fun of doing the creative styling, but without the long, cold hours of standing in the cold or the actual work of shooting and editing. Because even making the GoF* dress, while filled with long hours of hemming, was nothing short of thrilling. It was exciting to see something that was only a grand idea in my head get fleshed out fantastically; Jeanine was such a beautiful model for my work. I'm not big on crying, but I got a little teary seeing her twirl in the Geisel lobby. I'll be posting my drawings and design process and more details about the GoF dress tomorrow, just in case you're wondering how to make your own...

Anyway, to see the real, professional pictures of the shoot, head on over to Orange Turtle's blog! Here's a little teaser picture:

Effie and the District 12 tributes! Photo courtesy of Orange Turtle Photography.

*The abbreviation "GoF" will always make me think of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.


  1. Cindy!! You're amazing! You were the creative genius behind the shoot...seriously! Thank you for making this shoot possible by being the stylist and making the GOF dress!! :D Can't wait to collaborate with you more!

  2. Oh, this is just AWESOME... the dress you designed was gorgeous, too!

  3. This is very cool. Great job all. Plus... Do I spy the green Doctor Adorable t-shirt from woot? Love that one, my wife and I both have it. I wrote a long blog post on HG myself, is it the thing to do this week?

  4. YESYESYESYESYES!!! I love it all! You make a most excellent Cinna, I say :)


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