Location scouting for a fashion photoshoot

Image by Brydie Mack for Spell Designs

Image by Brydie Mack for Spell Designs

I was recently employed as a location scout / tour guide for the Byron Bay fashion label Spell and the Gypsy Collective when they came to Kununurra to shoot their 2018/19 summer campaign called ‘Wild Thing’.

It’s no surprise that they chose the East Kimberley for their outback location. There are so many wild and iconic places to photograph that are very close to comfortable accommodations. Plus, the huge variety of places to swim made the long, hot days of shooting much more comfortable.

Nope, this isn’t an advertorial for the brand, I’d just like to share a few shots from ‘behind the scenes’ and also to show you some of the iconic locations that I took them to. Of course, I’m just mentioning the more well-known locations from the shoot :)

Location # 1: Kangaroo Haven

Image by Lisa Smith

Image by Lisa Smith

Kangaroo Haven is a wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Kununurra, run by the lovely local lady Mandy and her team of volunteers. For over 15 years they have been taking care of 30 to 50 joeys at a time, feeding them and caring for them until they’re old enough to be released into the wild. To date they have successfully released over 650 joeys back into the wild. You can visit Kangaroo Haven for the price of a small donation - check out their website here.

Images by Brydie Mack

Images by Brydie Mack

Location # 2: Emma Gorge

Images by Brydie Mack

Images by Brydie Mack

Emma Gorge was a challenging location as I had seriously underestimated the amount of clothing and styling equipment that the team would be carrying. Emma is usually about a 50 minute walk in, but with all of the gear (plus some photo stops along the way) it took us about an hour and a half. It was worth the effort … the photos turned out amazing and it was the first time that Emma Gorge had ever been used in a fashion photoshoot.

Images by Lisa Smith

Images by Lisa Smith

Location # 3: Mirima National Park

Image by Brydie Mack

Image by Brydie Mack

The ladies wanted to photograph in front of some unique rock formations, but with over 20 looks to photograph in three days there wasn’t enough time to get to the spot that I really wanted to take them (Purnululu / Bungle Bungles). Thankfully, Kununurra has an amazing national park just a stone’s throw from town. Mirima National Park, also known as the ‘mini Bungles’ has walkways that lead to breathtaking views over huge, striped rocks and rugged Aussie bushland. It was extremely hot and, being on a tight schedule we had to shoot in the heat of the day. But the team (especially the model, who was sweating up a storm) handled it really well and the photos turned out really well!

Images by Brydie Mack

Images by Brydie Mack

Location # 4: Turquoise Pool

Image by Jamie Green

Image by Jamie Green

One of the unexpected surprises on the walk in to Emma Gorge (and a place that many people walk straight past without swimming, strangely) is Turquoise Pool. The name says it all. If you catch it at the right time of day - when the sun is shining overhead - you’ll discover one of the most gorgeous natural swimming pools in the Kimberley at its turquoisey best. This location got the thumbs up from everyone (including the fashion label’s owner, Isabella, who joined the other ladies in jumping in for a swim).

Image by Brydie Mack

Image by Brydie Mack

Image by Brydie Mack

Image by Brydie Mack

Location # 5: Cockburn Range

Image by Brydie Mack

Image by Brydie Mack

The Cockburn Range (pron. Co'Burn) is an incredible backdrop for any photo and it’s really easy to access, being about 45 minutes drive from Kununurra. I aimed to have the team there just in time for the mountain range to light up orange at sunset. As it turned out, the photographer (Brydie Mack) preferred it with daytime sunlight rather than the orange glow. She got to work as soon as we arrived, capturing these stunning photos of the model, Megan, twirling about in a white dress that wouldn’t last long in this kind of scenery (red pindan soil is impossible to remove from clothing!) When it came time to light the kerosene lamp, we discovered that nobody had brought kerosene. Haha. Oh well, the photos still turned out well.

Image by Brydie Mack

Image by Brydie Mack

After 3 days of shooting (plus a few days of location scouting before that) we celebrated the ‘wrap’ (end of shoot) here at the base of the Cockburn Ranges. The team declared that it was once of the best photoshoots that the company had ever done (thanks, ladies!) Indeed, we had great weather, amazing locations and a team of people that worked really well together and had a truckload of fun. To check out more photos, click on these links:

‘Wild Thing’ images by photographer Brydie Mack

‘Wild Thing’ behind the scenes

‘Just another day in W.A’ with Lisa Danielle

And, here’s a little video from the photoshoot, with a voiceover from Isabella (the owner of Spell Designs):

the team

Half of the team. Me - second from the right

Half of the team. Me - second from the right

Shot on location in and around Kununurra and El Questro, Western Australia
Photography, creative direction Brydie Mack | Muse Megan Blake Irwin
Creative and Styling Isabella Pennefather
Hair and makeup Ashlea Penfold
Styling Assistant Lily Reed Jones
Production Mel Carrero with Kimberley Spirit (location scout / guide Melissa Connell)
Production assistants Lisa Smith and Jamie Green
Film by Dom Sullivan Original track written for Spell by Kasey Chambers

Melissa Connell