The Hunger Games – {Courtney Clarke Photography}

March 24, 2012

So I may be the only one in the world who hasn’t read The Hunger Games but I do know it is all the rage right now!  And that the movie started this weekend!!  In honor of that, we are featuring the wonderful work of Courtney Clarke of Courtney Clarke Photography!

Courtney used The Hunger Games as her inspiration for this concept shoot and was kind enough to share it with us!  You don’t have to be a fan of The Hunger Games to see how beautiful these photos are!!  I may just run out and see the movie tonight!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing Courtney!!

What was your concept for this photo shoot?
As soon as I started reading the Hunger Games book series I was hooked; I loved seeing such a strong, smart, well-developed female character as the lead and could hardly put the books down. My imagination started running wild with the descriptions of outfits and settings in the books and I really wanted to create a personal project inspired by these ideas. I decided to have a two part shoot – one part bridal inspired and one part very much inspired by Katniss, the Girl on Fire! The fire theme is the one we went with for this shoot.
How did you create the look for this concept shoot?
Going into the shoot, I created an inspiration board (attached as: courtneyclarke_hungergames_inspirationfire.jpg) that included images to generally represent what I was hoping the final look would resemble; bold makeup and strong poses with a fiery red dress and a dramatic feel. Very feminine, but also strong like a warrior! Creating this inspiration board was a huge help when I was connecting with hair and makeup artists and stylists to give them an idea of what I had in mind. However, each person who joined the team for this shoot was chosen for their incredible talents and I let them know right from the beginning that the inspiration board was only a guideline and that I trusted them to have full creative freedom to design and create within their area of expertise! From the start, I had Jill in mind for our “Katniss” so I was so glad when she agreed to join the shoot! Jill was one of the very first high school seniors I photographed a couple of years ago and I love having her in front of my camera!
Was this shoot a project just for you or was this for a client?
This project was for me; I think it’s really important as a photographer to nurture your talents and try new things, and I was really fortunate to have some amazing professionals come alongside me for this project and provide their incredible talents (hair, makeup, styling, creating) to the shoot. It became a wonderful collaboration!
What did you hope to experiment with, work on or practice with this shoot?
I approached this shoot as a chance to practice more fashion style shooting and directing to get some really strong “fierce” looks from our “Katniss”, who did an incredible job. Usually my images are quite a bit brighter and more cheerful, so planning a shoot with a dark, dramatic, moody feel was something new. I was also SO excited to use a smoke machine for the first time and I’m thrilled with the extra drama it provided the images.
What camera, lens or equipment were used for this shoot?
This shoot was photographed with a Nikon D700 camera, a 35mm 1.4 Nikon lens, an 85mm 1.4 Sigma lens, a video light, a Paul C Buff parabolic light modification umbrella, a smoke machine, and some creativity! Oh, and an iPhone playing some Lady Gaga tunes while the shoot took place!
Where did this shoot take place?
These images were actually taken in my backyard in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on a chilly evening back at the beginning of February! Each of the ladies involved in the shoot (especially Jill, who was our “Katniss”) were so incredible braving the cold for the session!
Did you collaborate with others such as a stylist, makeup, etc for this shoot?
Yes! I was so blessed to have some amazing professionals contribute to this shoot; without them, this shoot would not have happened! I owe each of them a huge thank you! For this shoot, the professional makeup artist who created the bold look with gorgeous eyes and shimmery lips is Lindsay Archdekin, the talent behind the incredibly creative take on the braided hair style is professional hair stylist Danielle Bennett, the main stylist who pulled together the styling and accessories is Khloe Campbell, and the absolutely stunning red and black tulle dress was designed and created by Whitney Buczkowksi. Each of these women invested so much time and love into this shoot and I’m so, so grateful to them!
What did you hope to convey about your photography style with this session?
Because this session is so different from my usual style, I approached it as an exciting challenge to try something new! I’m really pleased with the images I created and I think it speaks to the versatility of my photography skills; I like to try new things and I can do it successfully!
What is your favorite thing about these photos?
I love that these images represent a big step for me in my business; working with an amazing team toward a personal goal and achieving it!
What advice would you give other photographers in regards to putting together a concept shoot such as this one?
For photographers hoping to plan a concept shoot, I say go for it! This was the first concept shoot I’d ever organized and while it was a lot of work to pull together, I’m so thankful that I achieved this dream. I’d also say that if you involve other professionals in the shoot, choose to work with people that you love and want to support, and don’t forget to be thankful and give credit where it is due! I LOVED having the opportunity to photograph the talents of so many women professionals in my area; they are all top notch and I couldn’t have chosen a better team for this shoot!
Credit Info:

Courtney Clarke Photography
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Makeup Artist: Lindsay Archdekin (http://about.me/lindsayarchdekin)
Hair Stylist: Danielle Bennett (http://about.me/daniellebennett)
Stylist: Khloe Campbell (http://www.northofwednesday.com/)
Assistant Stylist & Dress Designer: Whitney Buczkowksi
Model: Jill McQuary (http://twitter.com/JillMcQuary)