Earlier this year, Edmonton-based photographer Renee Robyn was asked to do an interview with FashionOneTV over in Montreal. The catch, was that they wanted to capture her in action shooting something epic, fantastical and unique. Those three words, being quite categorical of what I do normally, she hit me up and asked if I would be interested in producing the shoot for her.

The catch? I only had 3 days to put something together.

The requirements for producing her shoot was that she would require:

  • A studio + lighting equipment
  • Models
  • Hair/Makeup
  • Clothing
  • Props
  • An epic element

Simple, when you have a hollywood budget… but a lot harder when shoots are self-financed.-So with limited time and resources on the table, what were the steps?

Step 1: Prioritize

On the top list of priorities to discover were the Studio and the Epic element. Why?

The studio would pose limitations based on how large of a space we would be able to secure, what resources would be available at the studio and finally what conditions we would have to be working in.

The epic element being the defining “storytelling” element of the shoot was going to the determining factor on what we were going to need in terms of clothing, models, hair/makeup and props. Without the “epic element” being defined, we had no direction.

Step 2: Problem Solving

Before elaborating on specifics, I think that the most important thing whenever you approach a person for a collaboration is to focus on what they have to gain out of the exchange. Nobody cares about how much you need them, but they care about what they’re going to gain so being able to present things in a “win-win” manner is critical.

With that in mind, finding a person with a studio ready to loan it out to a fellow out of town creative is generally not the most complicated of tasks. Offering people the opportunity to meet and interact with a colleague that has a radically different style is quite often adequate compensation. With that in mind, I browsed through my contacts in Montreal that I knew could potentially be interested in watching Renee at work. I reached out with 3 days to spare to fellow Montreal Based Photographer Richard Blouin. Five minutes later, we had a fully equipped studio booked and at our disposal. One down.

From there, the slightly less obvious “epic element”. I had a quick sit down with Renee to try and get an idea of what she liked and she mentioned that she really liked the armors that I had played with in some of my previous medieval themed shoots. Racking my brain on who could possibly be interested in some last minute promo imagery, I thought of the awesome folks over at Fantasy Armor. I shared Renee’s work with them and set up a meeting with them first thing next morning.

We dropped in on Fantasy Armor the next day with no expectations thinking that we would be able to pawn off a few pieces from their collection and adapt it in a high fashion-esque way. After a productive one hour meeting though, the team there decided that they would somehow find the time to design a custom leather armour from scratch to suit whatever fantasies Renee had in mind. Before the end of the evening, they sent us the following sketch to validate.

Fantasy armor sketches

The next day, Renee now had a clear idea of the type of models she was gonna need – so she turned to her own network on facebook and collected professional drag queen Antonio Bavaro while I took care of recommending the exotic Lotte Goedhart. With less than 24 hours remaining before shoot day, we decided that makeup and hair were not necessary as the combined talents of Renee, Lotte and Antonio were going to be sufficient.

After that, all that remained was to hold our breaths… and hope that everything would be ready for the next day.


  • When faced with impossible deadlines, break down the elements, prioritize them and tackle them individually.
  • When looking to collaborate with others, always remember to offer something – an experience, visibility, imagery they can use, etc…
  • Don’t give up. Anything’s possible.

Want me to produce a shoot for you ? Drop me a line and lets talk business 🙂

I know that a bunch of you out there love seeing before and after’s so I asked if Renee would be so kind to provide some for us. Check them out below (in awesome animated GIF format)

Like her work? Be sure to follow Renee Robyn on facebook  and if you liked the armors, give them some love too over on their fan page!




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