I know a couple people used the last We Shot in a Pool post to do photoshoots of their own — because they tagged me when they posted photos, and I was so excited to see them! 🥺 So I wanted to do another public post about the Blood Pool!
This was the second time we set up the pool, but it was the main shoot we had planned when we originally purchased the pool — the LCL Bath was actually a proof of concept to do this shoot!
Photos by Paul Hillier
We filled up the pool again — I wasn’t there for that, so I truly do mean the royal We here. Honestly, I didn’t do much of the setup on this one at all, although I stuck around to help tear down, because I was last-minute finishing Zag (I had some problems with his build and had to substitute a bunch of things last minute, so I seriously owe my life to everyone who helped out).
This was also within my first two weeks of having Raisin, as it turns out, so obligatory tiny kitten photo:
And also featuring me working on Zag in the only way I managed to: covered in a sweet, tiny kitten. Truly my favourite way to work, as it turns out! I’d recommend it. Not great for productivity, but unparalleled for morale. 😂
I talked about the setup last time, but we upgraded this time, in a couple of pretty major ways, so let’s talk about them!
Pictured: Several members of The Dangerous Ladies as the Dimitriscue Daughters from Resident Evil Village, getting ready to shoot!
The pool itself is filled back to full, so roughly knee-height on most of us when standing. It’s also full of several pounds of oxblood Red Bath Bomb dye, which we spent an upsetting amount of time earlier in the year importing (it was stuck in customs for something like two months, if I remember correctly!). The bones floating are cheap plastic halloween decorations that have been made disgusting courtesy of the Dangerous Ladies.
The pool is all draped in black fabric — if you’ll remember, the pool itself is all blue, and red + blue makes purple, so you want to get rid of the blue colour of the pool before you add dye for your photos! Since all of our photos were dark and creepy, we draped the pool in black to help it all recede into the background, and make it easier to edit out if we needed that. However, we also wanted the blood to be vibrant, so we also have a circle of white on the bottom of the pool to help keep the blood from just going fully black.
From there, improvements!
You’ll notice that the girls in the pool are on stairs — y’all, Jenn and the Ladies at DL made those from scratch specifically to go in the pool. I mentioned wanting stairs for Zag, so he could be using them to climb out of the river Styx, but I never expected that they’d be full-on load-bearing and everything, but they were! They’re made of wood and then covered in some sort of plaster, I believe, for the stone look.
You’ll also notice that around the pool is scaffolding — we had it brought in to make a walkway to get into and out of the pool easily via the stairs, but it also came in handy for hanging lights, curtains, and photographers off of!
Just a larger note about our setup in general: we had two general spaces. There’s the photoshoot area, which is the pool and scaffolding, and all of the area surrounding that, and then there’s a completely separate room for hanging out, getting changed, fixing costumes, etc. We also had people at all times who weren’t actively shooting, to help corral people who weren’t shooting to the right places, make sure things that were being held were being held for Paul, making sure the next people who were due to shoot were actively getting ready to shoot, etc. We had something like 6-8 people/groups in and out of the pool every day, over two days of shooting with the pool, plus setup the night before the first shoot and tear-down the evening after we finished on the second day — this was a huge undertaking. Paul shot a tonne of content, far from just the two looks that I shot.
A lot of the looks had different lighting to an extent — different gels on the lights, the directional lights were changed a few times, but I wanted to discuss the lighting that happened, because you can tell it’s very different from the ambient lighting that was happening!
Let’s take another look at one of the finished shots:
This is all shot with flashes, so the ambient lighting in every moment except the split second when all of the flashes went off looked like this:
Let’s talk about what we can see in this photo: there’s the large white screen in the back that you can see over my shoulder, which is backlit by a flash with a colour gel (in my case red) a good 8 feet or so back from it. There’s a large soft box above me which I believe also has a red gel on it, and another one to the left of it in frame that’s shooting down white light onto the reflector below it. Then above my head here (but to the left-hand side of me when I’m in my usual spot) you can see the strong directional flash with a blue gel on it. There’s also another reflector in front of me, to help mitigate shadows on my face where we don’t want them!
Here, you can get a better look at the little soft box that has the blue gel on it! (And Christine, who’s an angel, helping me to get my skulls placed correctly.)
And Paul’s little shooting shelf! Built into the scaffolding around the pool! Now that’s good planning.
Of course, you really don’t need all of this fancy stuff to still pull off an excellent shoot. We could easily have just made some wooden legs in the back for the stairs, and climbed in and out of the pool over the side, and just posed on the stairs when needed. We could have hung the curtains off the ceiling, or rigged up a photography background stand to hold the, which is much more accessible than scaffolding. All of the lights could have either been on lighting stands, or tied to other backdrop stands/the ceiling beams. There are lots of options!
There’s the comment section down below, if I didn’t answer something that you’re interested in, or you want to tell me about your pool shoot (please, if you do one, tell me!). Or just let me know whatcha thought about Hades, that’s rad too. 😂