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.