Andrea - Fashion Shoots


We all have at one time wanted to do a Photoshoot - But does the thought of an expensive and sometimes sterile photographic studio put you off?

Well what about an alternative location - providing interaction with daily life, atmosphere and much more fun!

Finding somewhere to undertake an interesting and fun photoshoot is not difficult - it's all about getting the right elements to come together - just follow this simple guide.

Firstly - there is absolutely no point in proceeding, unless you have a professional Photographer on board (this is the one expense that you cannot afford to leave to an amateur friend). Through such publications as this Tranny Guide or even your local phone directory - you should find no difficulty in obtaining a photographer (I use Don Allen) - agreeing the right price may need some persuasive negotiation though, and also he needs to have the right equipment (which we will come onto later).


There really are only three types of location; these being an Outside (public area), Inside (shop, restaurant etc,) and what I call a "Planned" location (somewhere where it is expected that photos and shoots will be undertaken).

With all locations - what appears most daunting is finding somewhere suitable. Its not that difficult - you just need to step outside the box and view what's around you from a different perspective. Just ask yourself - would this make an interesting background to a photo of me? (Lets face it - it's all about us "girls" wanting to be the star of the shoot).

Start looking at the practicalities first - this for us - where do we get changed, do we use a Make Up / Dressing service (I use Adam & Eve at Bethnal Green), or do we change at home? This starts to formulate - where to start looking for asuitable venue. You then need to go out and about looking and checking out (see below) before you embark on a shoot.

So let's look in detail at the three possibilities -

Outside - This can be the easiest venue to find - but the most difficult to control. Finding a venue is not about just architecture - which is a good starter, but about finding a vision of colour, texture and style that would make an interesting shot. Street furniture, fencing, doorways, corners of buildings start to take on a new significance. Once you have narrowed down to a geographical area that you feel is practicable to access in your "girl" self, take a walk around, a step back, and look for opportunity. Don't dismiss everyday things that you take for granted, as it is these that can often make the best backdrop.

Now there has to be a few words of warning and practicality here - You need to be streetwise, dressed appropriately for the venue, and to remember its still a public place. There will be interruptions of passers by and cars (plus all the obvious comments from White Van Man [love'em] about your mini skirted long legs) that you will need to contend with.

Above all however you should not place yourself in the position that attracts the "authorities" insofar as "causing an obstruction" or, and I know it's unfair - but a danger to "your" safety. (You know what I mean elsewhere in this Tranny Guide - in You and the Law).

Also surprisingly there are many places that you think are "public" which in fact are privately owned or managed. Go and see the people responsible and arrange permission (if possible in writing) first. If possible take with you a photo of your "girl" self, or better still also bring along your photographer, (it shows you mean business). Outdoor markets and precincts are good examples of this type of location, (you may also need to sign a simple indemnity as well).

Architecture is as you would expect a good starting point, and it could equally be a modern style as old. Think about what outfit/look you wish to convey in you photographic image.

There are some disadvantages however in choosing an outside location - weather being the main factor. (I usually try to set up a few dates with my photographer and agree the day before if the shoot is a "goer"). The other limitation is the number of outfits you can use. This can be overcome a little, by changes of accessories and the use of jackets and coats on and off.

Inside - An inside (private) venue - has the advantage of being a more controlled surrounding, with most likely the opportunity to change/vary your outfits. The disadvantage is being able to find a suitable venue, then getting permission.

Finding a suitable venue employs all the same rules as described already for an external location, but of course you have to be able to see what's inside. It's largely a case of just keeping your eyes and ears open for an opportunity. A surprisingly good source of ideas - are many of the fashion shoots you see in mainstream magazines. It gives you the inspiration of where to look for something similar for your shoot.

Getting permission can be a little more tricky than an outside location as it is far more intrusive to the day to day activities of the venue, whether it be a shop, restaurant etc, expect to work around times that's convenient to them. Again think outside the box - you don't have to look in the Tranny Guide for a local friendly venue. There is so much diversity these days particularly in the main cosmopolitan cities that you can look for other venues that have a décor and atmosphere that can make a shoot.When deciding to approach a venue for permission, it's always best to be totally honest and upfront. As with Outside permissions - if possible show some previous photos of your "girl" self and get your photographer along. Clearly one really big incentive, is if you intend to try a get your photos published. Then you can then tap into the idea that their venue will be getting some free publicity. Vanity and Publicity go hand in hand - and gives you the opportunity to explore a photoshoot with a theme linked around the venue and it's owners. (I find one really big lever is to do a little bit of research on the venue first, such that you can then give them a questionnaire to complete about their business or activities). It gives them a sense of involvement.

"Planned" - By this I mean a location where photos are expected to be taken, an event of some form, or even a landmark - where everyone is taking photos (in London you could associate this with the Changing of the Guard, or Trafalgar Square) - also more usefully indoor events such as the Car Show or Erotica exhibition. I have covered a number of Fashion fairs - where we have taken them as an opportunity to combine writing an article with a shoot. In this sort of circumstance you need to arrange prior permission with the organisers (and get a pass for the Fair), but otherwise there aren't many restrictions - although you will be competing with possibly others for the ideal shot, and of course your confidence in these sometimes crowded surroundings.

So what do you - and your photographer need for a shoot?
Wherever you shoot, lighting is the key. Your photographer will be your guide here, as to whether there is enough natural light or flash/portable lighting is required. It's another possible limitation you need to consider. There is also the element of "perception". I recently did a marvellous shoot in a busy London side street, where my photographer used one of those large (and very expensive) full frame cameras. People seemed to take our presence far more seriously and were often more considerate in keeping out of frame. The irony is that - these days you can achieve nearly equal quality photos with professional 35mm equipment. A professional photographer will also make you work for each shot. You're here to make an impression that will be recorded forever as you, and not just an endless series of "holiday snap" poses.

The Results - Photoshoot at Loungelover, London

So using the principles above - I took a walk around the shops and side streets around the Bethnal Green area where my make up is done at Adam & Eve. With winter fast approaching I was looking for a nearby indoor venue. A recent article in a newspaper magazine pointed me towards a lovely French restaurant and after enquiring inside they directed me towards their office located a few yards away. What I found as a result was a startling Cocktail lounge-bar called Loungelover run by the same people. Whereas the restaurant was full of architectural character and décor with faintly lit corners, the Loungelover was an explosion of colour and themes.

Having arranged a meeting with their manager - Don Allen and I visited them with details of our previous shots and the ideas that we were looking for in this shoot. It transpired that they were regularly approached for such shoots (so much so that they are able to charge a considerable fee to TV companies and fashion/style magazines). However as our interest was purely for a hopeful inclusion into this Tranny Guide and we were also using a local dressing agency (Adam & Eve) they kindly agreed to waiver their fees. (I'm afraid girls this was purely a one off - so there is no use approaching them for something similar).

The Loungelover opened in April 2003 and is a series of stunning themed areas throughout combining baroque, rustic, oriental, and 40s, 50s & 60s settings. Its popularity is such it's reputed to be London's worst kept secret! We arranged for our shoot the following week, and with numerous outfits and the girls from Adam and Eve kindly assisting - Don soon had me working hard. With just enough natural light, Don opted not to use Flash Lighting, which could "bleach" away some of the atmosphere of the unusual surroundings.

Unfortunately our stay there was to undertake a shoot to remember, so we never had the opportunity to sample the Longelovers sublimecocktails, Champagne or fine wines (maybe a return visit one evening on a girls night out perhaps!)

Well the results of our shoot at this delightful setting are for you all to see - and hopefully will inspire you to attempt something similar - maybe it will be your pictures in next years Guide!


Acknowledgements: Don Allen Photographic - Tele. 07708 668886 Website:
Adam & Eve Dressing Service - Tele. 020 7729 7447 Website:
Loungelover (Special thanks to Craig) - Tele. 020 7012 1234 Website: