This shoot was one of the biggest project I’ve worked on. It all started when a US-based advertising agency emailed me asking if they could acquire the license to use one of the images from my Portraits of Strangers project. They wanted to use it as part of an image refresh for their client – a mobile solutions company based in the US. Throughout the negotiation, they also asked me to send more of my photos for consideration, particularly with people of different ethnicities – but I explained that most of my images are of strangers so getting signed releases would be virtually impossible. So I casually suggested that we can do a shoot here in Singapore: cast for talents, scout for locations, do the full production. I figured it was a long shot, but it was worth suggesting. Fortunately, they liked the idea. I submitted my portfolio along with a proposal on timeline and costing for consideration. And after a few weeks of back & forth negotiations, the client finally approved :)

What followed was a crazy busy month of preproduction: casting, negotiations, location scouting & permits, scheduling, paper work, and test shoots. We had to cast for talents of different ethnicities, and scout for locations that have a good variety – not distinctively Singapore, more global. Fortunately, the guys at Mint and Basic agency were very easy to work with and was a huge help with casting. I had some close calls on location permits and unexpected changes in scheduling, but with luck, everything fell into place at the very last minute.

behind-the-scenes photos taken by Reuben Chia

The creative director flew in for a week for the actual shoot. Everything went as scheduled and the models where a blast to work with. However, in 2 occasions, the weather didn’t agree with us. The rain poured like there was no tomorrow, and I didn’t prepare for bad weather contingency. So I figured we’ll just wing it, proceed with the shoot and see what we can come up with. No, I didn’t ask the models to run in the rain (though I wanted to), but we were able to use the mood of the rain and made it work for us. Each of the models were a sport all throughout.

So after 3 weeks of preproduction, 4 days of shoot, working with 9 beautiful models in 7 different locations around Singapore, and taking 3,625 photos, we finally wrapped up. And in the end, the client has selected 21 final images. What started out as an inquiry to use one of my images from a personal project has evolved into a full blown production shoot. It wasn’t easy, far from it really.. but it was fun and all worth it.

Here are some of the images I’ve shot for this project:
Big big thanks to Norene and Kalie for commissioning for the shoot, Kyla Tan for the styling and make up, and Reuben Chia for the assist. Big props to Alex and Jon for the coordination and mutual help in the production. And to the guys at Mint Singapore and Basic Models, you guys rock :)