On Location: Shooting Fashion in stately surroundings

Coinciding with our Introduction to Fashion Photography module our students recently enjoyed the experience of carrying out a fashion shoot in a beautiful Tudor mansion and country park. Part of our ‘Fashion and Trends Week’ the activity provides students with the opportunity to work in creative teams, developing their skills and knowledge of professional fashion photography.

We often make full use of our enviable location in the South West and Mount Edgcumbe, a short drive or boat ride from our Plymouth campus, is a particular gem. Built nearly 100 years before the Mayflower set sail in 1620, and surrounded by 865 acres of formal gardens and beautiful landscapes, the grand Tudor mansion provides a fantastic backdrop.

With the evocative atmosphere of Mount Edgcumbe in mind, our students were given the opportunity to work with a number of clients who provided a series of garments to be photographed.

The Dark Angel label has an international reputation for ethically producing high quality, unique clothing, designing costumes for a range of high profile clients which include Disney, Blenheim Palace, and TV and theatre companies worldwide. For our shoot at Mount Edgcumbe, The Dark Angel provided a collection of period & fantasy inspired garments.

Alongside the theatrical garments provided by The Dark Angel, and continuing our theme of promoting sustainable fashion choices, we also collaborated with St Luke’s Hospice charity shop in Plymouth. Charity shops can be a fashion treasure trove and St Luke’s gave our students free access to their city centre store, with a brief to style and shoot a collection of elegant party wear sourced entirely from their store.

In addition to these two fabulous briefs, we also collaborated with our own BA Hons Fashion programme, providing an opportunity for 2 groups to work with clothing collections produced by recent graduates, Amy Bray and Lan Chen. Reconciling or juxtaposing the highly contemporary style of these two collections with the traditional setting of Mount Edgcumbe was one the first challenges for these groups.

As the students soon discovered, shooting fashion on location is a busy enterprise. Working with professional models and enlisting the services of the students on the Hair and Make-Up course at City College, our students had to work in teams to source locations, set up their lighting, and plan and style their shoots. Each of the 6 groups, some assisted by more experienced 2nd year students, worked in a range of locations both inside and outside the house, allocating roles and working collectively to meet the demands of the client briefs.

Despite the various challenges, including needing to take particular care when photographing around priceless furniture and antiques and keeping models warm on a freezing cold day, our students produced an exceptional body of work that showcased their creative and technical skills. Take a look at some of the final imagery produced below.

Thanks to all of the contributors who helped to make the shoot such a huge success.

Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park           http://www.mountedgcumbe.gov.uk/

Dark Angel Designs                                                 https://www.thedarkangel.com/

St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth                                 https://www.stlukes-hospice.org

City College Plymouth                                            https://www.cityplym.ac.uk/courses/hair-and-media-make-up/

Particular thanks to PCA Fashion Graduate Amy Bray, who kindly loaned her collection to us. Amy’s collection debuted at Graduate Fashion Week last year, to find out more about Amy and her work see: