May 23, 2019

Behind the scenes: lights, camera, action at an SALIFE fashion shoot

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create the inspiring looks that grace the fashion pages of SALIFE each month? Take a peek behind the scenes...

In the calm before the storm on the day of a fashion shoot, SALIFE fashion editor Emma Riemersma finds a moment to breathe.

“It’s always exciting when we’re on location because we’re often arriving before the public so you have that moment of tranquillity before the craziness,” Emma says.

Her location for the fashion shoot in the May issue of SALIFE was the Adelaide Botanic Garden, on a crisp, but sunny morning. Before arriving at the garden at 7.30am, hair and make-up began on model, Melita from Adelaide Model management, at 5.30am.

The early start and the chilly morning don’t phase Melita at all. “Melita is an athlete so she’s super tough. She’s a runner and a surf lifesaver, so I don’t think anything could have ruffled her feathers – she’s an absolute professional.”

Photographer Liam West gets Melita’s best side while styling assistant Emily Vawser angles the reflector to perfection.

Long before the action begins, Emma is sourcing clothing and accessories, and planning the beauty. “It starts as an idea. I saw an incredible photo shoot done in Arizona and I’m a mad cactus freak anyway. I thought it would be a perfect contrast to winter clothing.”

Just to be sure, Emma and photographer Liam West visited the garden for a recce to plan each specific location and the outfits that would be shot there. Planning is vital for the day to run smoothly.

Although the result is always glamorous, location shoots often mean quick changes in the back of a van, pulling clothing racks for miles and undertaking countless hair and make-up touch-ups.

In the days leading up to the shoot, Emma was obsessively checking the weather forecast, and the planets aligned. The morning sun on the day of the shoot couldn’t have been better. “It was really important we got incredible morning light to get that feeling of a bright winter’s day. I hate to jinx myself, but I’ve been mostly incredibly lucky with the weather,” Emma says.


SALIFE fashion editor Emma Riemersma adds the finishing touches to Melita’s outfit.

Emma says location shoots always garner an interested audience. “When people were coming to visit the garden, they weren’t expecting the next top model to strut out behind the cactus, that’s for sure!”

The shoot wraps up at 1pm, with all looks shot, and the pack-up begins. Electrical cords, lights, cameras, clothing and shoes all need to be packed away. For Emma, it’s then onto the anticipation of seeing her creation in print. “A huge part of my job is interpreting what’s on trend in my own way. It’s amazing when you put in so much hard work to see it all come together.”


Subscribe Today! Subscribe to South Australia's biggest-selling magazine, showcasing the best of Adelaide and South Australia. $143 per year with free delivery to your door.
Share —