Instead of winging so much of it, I wanted to properly shoot Episode III of this series. Aside from knowing the location and setting, I needed to have a solid idea of the type of outfit the model will be wearing. More importantly, I needed to know exactly how much time I have to get the shots I need. Kissa Sins and I began discussing the concept and possible wardrobe options roughly a week before the shoot. She seemed really cool and I got a good vibe from her. As usual, I told her that the first set will be her in regular clothes and the second set will be in lingerie. She was game, but I wanted to come up with a more thought out concept this time.
The next time we spoke, Kissa sent me some photos of a custom made Harley Quinn outfit she was putting together for Halloween. It made perfect sense since we were shooting 2 days before Halloween, and it was exactly the type of concept I was looking for. She even had a fake spray painted styrofoam bat with barbwire which looked really good. With the Suicide Squad movie coming out next summer, there was a lot of buzz with this character and I was pumped to shoot Kissa Sins’ version of her. I sent the photos to Lino who was doing both the hair and makeup for this shoot. He figured it would take roughly 2 hours to get the hair and makeup done. Kissa had a bunch of media booked during her short NYC trip, but there was a nice 4 hour window we could use. I realized though that hair and makeup alone would take up half the time, which meant I didn’t really have time to do two looks. Once again I had to give up on “properly” executing this series.
THURSDAY 10/29/15 – NEW YORK, NY
It didn’t make sense to shoot Harley Quinn in a nice hotel room, so I was looking for a more grungy location to shoot in. There was a building that was gutted out for construction in Hell’s Kitchen and I was pretty certain I was going to shoot Kissa there. I thought it might be a little cold in there so I checked the weather forecast the night before. It was surprisingly favorable to me; sunny with temperatures in the 70s. She had told me they didn’t let her take the fake bat on the plane so on the day of the shoot, I stopped by Modell’s real fast to pick up a bat. Although it was a real bat it felt too clean and not character specific, so I grabbed some red and white grip tape thinking I can wrap it around and make it look dirty at least.
I decided to swing by the building where I was planning to shoot just to make sure I could get access. I noticed there was actual construction going on which was a bad sign. I asked the guy anyway and of course no dice. I was completely bummed, and I knew I wouldn’t have much options at this point. Worst case, I would just have to shoot in the hotel room. I headed to the hotel but was looking around and hoping to see something I can use. I noticed some bad graffiti on the side of one of the streets near the hotel and I just hoped Kissa wouldn’t mind shooting outside.
I finally arrived at The Out NYC where Kissa was staying. When I got up to her room, the makeup was already one and Lino was working on her hair. She had a private terrace which was a decent size complete with a dog house and some cool wooden fence/divider thing. I’ve heard of pet friendly hotels, but this was pretty sick. There were some good angles there where I can get some buildings in the background. Luckily the hotel ended up providing me with a great setting.
I started setting up my lights while Lino was working on finishing her hair. I also started chatting with Kissa so I can get to know her better before the shoot. This is a step I like to take before shooting since the relationship with the model is so important in getting quality shots. I moved around some of the furniture on the terrace and decided to use my strobes there even though it was sunny out. I had a great setting to shoot in and Lino was doing a great job with hair and makeup. I thought I would have to wing it again, but now I was excited and ready to start shooting.
While Kissa was finishing getting ready, I thought about what lighting patterns to use. I have to admit that this part was not thought out at all. The terrace offered different looks depending on which wall I was facing, so I just looked to use all the sides.
I love the black and red color combination a lot, and Kissa looked great in her Harley Quinn outfit. I can usually tell how the shoot is going to go after spending a few minutes with the model, and I knew I would have a blast with this shoot. I’ve been having great luck lately working with really cool models and Kissa was no different. She is so down to earth and has awesome energy. It’s always funny when the models ask me what they should do. I don’t know if there is a term for it so I usually tell them to just kind of move around like a model. The good ones usually know how to position their bodies and what expressions to make. I like to capture them doing their thing, and just direct them here and there when I see something I like in particular.
We both liked the idea of getting some of the cool dingy buildings in the shot. I just picked up a new lens recently which was for this sort of scenario. It was perfect in a sense that I can get just enough of the city along with Kissa. I wasn’t that excited about my first set of lighting patterns but I really love the shots I got with her against that wooden wall. I used one strobe to create that spotlight-esque look but it almost looks like she is enclosed instead of being outside. When I get the sky in the shot with this lighting it looks surreal or even composited but it’s actually just one frame.
Towards the end she pulled out the mask which is a great look and I thought it added a little flare to the outfit. There was one particular shot I wanted to do which was the only shot that was planned beforehand. I wanted to get a shot where I lay on the floor and look up at Kissa as if she (or Harley Quinn) had just beaten me up. I think it’s an interesting angle and was pretty happy with the results. She is such a sweetheart she even felt bad stepping on my chest with those giant heels.
There are some more shots from this shoot that I couldn’t edit in time, but I will be posting them on the socials in the coming weeks. Thanks to Lino for doing awesome work as always and Kissa, you are so fucking cool! Thanks for such a fun shoot!
Guys and girls, wouldn’t you agree this is the hottest Harley Quinn you have ever seen?