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Summer may have recently ended and 2015 is still a few months away but I’m pleased to announce that we have already started working on the 2015 Dengrove Studios calendar in conjunction with our Production Stylist Samantha Dugan and you’re coming along for the ride!

As you may recall, last year we tried something new after publishing the calendar and released a series of behind the scenes blog posts. Well it turns out that our fans loved them!

So this year instead of waiting until the calendar is finished, we thought it would be fun to provide you with behind the scenes posts while we’re still in the middle of making it. That way you can follow along with us to see what really goes in to putting one of these calendars together and getting it off the ground.

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Let me start by telling you about some of the awesome things you can expect to see. It all begins with our really creative, fun theme. Gone is the  previous “Wearable Art” series. Why limit ourselves to one genre when there are so many great avenues to explore.

We were looking for something that allows us to combine modern fashion, fun inspiration, and a little bit of pixie dust. We found it in our 2015 calendar theme…#Disneybound!

Calendar Cover

The 2015 Dengrove Studios Calendar

Never heard of it? #Disneybound is the brain child of Leslie Kay, a fashionista from Toronto, Canada with a love of all things Disney. She uses her eye for fashion to create modern everyday outfits inspired by your favorite characters, parks, and attractions.

Those who choose to #Disneybound are almost like members of a secret club in that they can easily spot fellow #Disneybounders and the inspiration for their outfits, but those unaware of the fashion trend will simply see regular everyday clothing. You can learn more about it on Leslie’s tumblr.

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Fashionable clothing or secret character?
Photo courtesy of Disneybound Tumblr

What else can you expect to see in the 2015 calendar? Plenty! If you’ve seen any of our previous calendars you know we always try to top ourselves. While last years calendar saw us leaving the studio for the first time and embracing some great nature shots, for 2015 we’ll be taking it a step further. Partnering with local businesses that have graciously allowed us to use their interiors to bring our calendar to life.

We had a tough time securing locations for last year, dodging bad weather, coordinating schedules, and finding just the right types of flowers and plants. That is nothing compared to what we went through this year!

Locating compatible businesses, securing partnerships and of course scheduling not only a photographer, stylist, and models, but working around the existing schedule of our partner locations as not to impact their day to day business is a logistical nightmare of epic proportions.

Thankfully I took an epic proportions scheduling course in college and we got permission to shoot in some awesome locations.

But we’re done yet with our “what’s new for 2015” list. We saved the biggest announcement for last…this year’s Dengrove Studios 2015 #Disneybound Calendar will also be available as a monthly planner! That’s right…you asked for it and we listened, now you can have your choice of wall calendar or monthly planner that fits right in your hand.

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New for 2015…it comes in a Monthly Planner!

Now I did promise you behind the scenes looks at this year’s calendar, so let’s dive right into it. We shot our first scene for the calendar on July 19th at a cute little Tailor/Dry Cleaner shop in Rye, NY called Pins & Needles. Fitting name isn’t it? Located at … owner Eva was kind enough to let us use her shop for the setting of our first scene. Our model Jenna came in all the way from Chicago to star in the calendar.  Here’s our Production Stylist Sam applying Jenna’s makeup.

Sam applies Jenna's makeup

Sam applies Jenna’s makeup

We arrived on location and began setting up our equipment. Shooting indoors at a business allowed us the opportunity to bring a lot more lighting equipment than for our previous calendar where we had to walk long distances through various landscapes and therefore had to pack light.

Setting up equipment

For you photo buffs in the audience we are using a slightly modified setup this year. We still lit the interior of the scene with a Nikon speedlight on a light stand, however since we are shooting indoors we replaced the white shoot-through umbrella with a 36” Octabox to soften and diffuse the light a bit more.

When planning the shot we envisioned a bit of a somber scene with beautiful late afternoon sunlight streaming through the window. Naturally, mother nature had other plans. Isn’t it amazing how even though we were shooting indoors we still had the bad weather to worry about? As most of our fans know Sam and I don’t have particularly great luck where the weather is concerned, so naturally July 19th ended up being overcast and cloudy.

Difficult conditions to get beautiful afternoon sunlight streaming through a window to say the least. Fear not though as we have quite a bit of experience shooting in less than ideal conditions. Enter the power of photo lighting! Cue the superhero music…

Hmm...I don't think this angle is quite right

Hmm…I don’t think this angle is quite right

In order to create our own afternoon sunlight we used an additional Nikon speedlight placed high up on a light stand bare with no modifiers. It took a bit of trial and error to get the positioning just right but before we knew it there was light streaming through the window perfectly highlighting our model. Except for one thing…the light looked just a bit like high noon.

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Getting there…perhaps a little more to the left?

To give our artificial streaming sunlight a late afternoon feel we added a sheet of 1/2 CTO gel to our speedlight. CTO stands for “color temperature orange”…yeah photographers don’t really care for complex equipment names. In order to balance our indoor light with outside we added a sheet of 1/2 CTO gel to our indoor Octabox light as well. Here you can see the small sheet of gel attached to the front of our Speedlight.

A 1/2 CTO gel on the front of our Speedlight helps to give the illusion that it's a beautiful sunny day

A 1/2 CTO gel on the front of our Speedlight helps to give the illusion that it’s a beautiful sunny day

With the lighting all set, and our model Jenna looking amazing , we were now ready to shoot. We asked Jenna to pretend that she was sewing a dress together, which definitely wasn’t going to be a problem given the extensive collection of thread available at Pins & Needles. I say “pretend” because the dress she’s working on actually belonged to our Production Stylist Sam and one can only imagine how happy she’d be if Jenna actually started sewing her dress.

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We began to shoot and naturally since we were all ready with lights, the camera and our model, customers started walking into the store.

Amazing…during setup there was virtually no foot traffic but the minute we start the actual shoot business suddenly picks up. Although it meant we had to stop shooting from time to time to let a customer pass it wasn’t bad at all and we were able to get on a roll in between customers.

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Let the shooting commence

When shooting an important scene for publication it’s critical to inspect your photos  while you’re still on site with the entire production staff. That way if there’s a problem you can still make adjustments and take some more shots. Once the production wraps and you’re back in the office it’s a LOT harder to fix any mistakes that you didn’t catch on-site.

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Scott inspects the photos

Here we can see the photo looks sharp and crisp and is in proper focus. You can also see just a little bit of that beautiful artificial sunlight we created streaming through the window. Want to see what the whole photo looks like? Well you’ll just have to buy your own calendar to check it out! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which character inspired Jenna’s wardrobe?

I hope you enjoyed this little “look over our shoulder” while we photographed the first scene of this year’s calendar. Be sure to stay tuned for more great behind the scenes reporting as we have 11 more months to get through!

Special thanks to my wife and Art Direction consultant Jena Dengrove for capturing these awesome behind the scenes photos! And of course a very special thank you to Pins & Needles Tailoring and Dry Cleaning and owner Eva for allowing us to disrupt her business for an afternoon while we shot our first scene of the calendar.

Pins & Needles is located at 131 Purchase Street in Rye, NY, 914-481-1046. Specializing in Wedding Alterations and Tailoring be sure to pay them a visit for all your dry cleaning and alteration needs!

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Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several magazines and newspapers. In addition, his work can be seen on tour in various exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios