Location: Manor House, Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, UK
Cosyfeet products: Autumn/Winter 2019 collection
Weather: Bright with a scattering of grey clouds and the odd rain shower
Photoshoot team 1: Models wearing Cosyfeet collection with Catalogue Creative Manager, Juliette
Photoshoot team 2: Lifestyle product photography with Catalogue Project Manager, Daisy
Documented by: Digital Marketing Assistant, Elsie
Driving up the long, twirling driveway, passing fields of happy sheep and orchards, it’s clear that there will be something majestic at the top of this road. The view from the top of the hill where the manor house stands is breathtaking, and the gardens go on for miles. In the distance, we spot most of Cheltenham, including the steam railway station and the famous racecourse. It is idyllic and quintessentially British.
It may be mid-June but there is definitely an autumnal, wintery feel as the sky is quite grey and there is a brisk chill in the air; British weather at its finest.
Walking into the Cotswolds house, the festive season has begun as a gold confetti glitter bomb has just been set off in the living room. Underneath the glittery gold sparkles, our lovely models Jackie and Greg are dressed in smart party-wear with sparkly, shiny, extra wide fit shoes. Laughing and cheering with champagne glasses in hand, this really is the recipe for a perfect Christmas shot.
Moments later and after a quick-change, Jackie and Greg are cosying up on the lower steps of a grand staircase wearing fun Christmas jumpers. Champagne flutes have been swapped for warm mugs of hot chocolate and tea. Our team of photographers and stylists are fluttering around them, conversing about the lighting, props and how the wide fit slippers look on the models' feet.
Curling up one arm of the grand staircase, is a collection of winter shrubbery including hawthorn berries, holly and festive greenery which adds beautifully to the Christmas scene and is occasionally adjusted by one of the stylists. While Juliette converses with the photography and stylist ladies about products, Greg and Jackie’s minds turn to how they spend Christmas with their families. It’s heart-warming hearing them chit chat about their seasonal traditions. A cheer is heard when shot 90 has been achieved.
From organising outfits in the make-shift wardrobe room, collecting props from the games room and admiring potential shoot corners of the walled garden with its many beautiful flowers to displaying products in the big, light conservatory and lighting a fire in one of the many cosy living rooms to prepare for a wintery product photo, there seems to be someone hard at work in every corner of this huge house.
It’s not just all work and no play here. Tea breaks are suggested to keep everyone’s energy up and creative juices flowing. There is a delicious spread laid out in the kitchen, with healthy snacks and the not so healthy (we’re talking about the sugary jam doughnuts - great for a quick energy kick).
There’s time to communicate with everyone and have a friendly chat. Our male model Greg is very friendly, chatty and smiley with a lot of energy. He’s on the ball about what is happening next with a warm smile and charming personality - he’s a delight to have on the photoshoot. He is particularly a fan of dancing to the Christmas music that is playing from a corner of the kitchen, and sometimes it's hard to make him stop!
Jackie is our second wonderful model. She’s very well-presented with a lovely smile and a friendly aura. She mentions a few times how she loves the family vibe of the Cosyfeet photoshoots, where everyone gets on well and it’s a pleasure to be there. She says that it hardly feels like work. As a professional who has been modelling since her mid-20s, you can tell she knows what she’s doing and loves her job.
It’s nice to be able to share a cup of tea and a chat with Jackie and Greg before they switch back into the spotlight. Despite their posed smiles and laughs, they both look effortless. They bounce off each other and work so well together, you can tell they have a bond from the many years of Cosyfeet photoshoots.
There is a square-up shot of the Moose boot being organised by Daisy on an outside patio. The shoes stand centre stage surrounded by photography equipment and people admiring the shot.
This scene is where the best quote of the day is heard...
‘Did we tell you we’ve been straightening shoe laces with hair straighteners? It works a treat!’
There is a gorgeous friendly cat named Twiggy roaming around the house. She is very interested in what everyone is up to. There’s a pile of past Cosyfeet catalogues piled up on a coffee table and Twiggy thoroughly enjoys rubbing her snout on the corner. It’s almost like she’s trying to tell us she is a Cosyfeet fan.
It’s no surprise with her model name that this cat occasionally tries to get in on the action and strolls in front of a model shot to curl around someone’s legs. As cat lovers, everyone is happy for her to do her thing and try their best to coordinate the feline beauty to walk a specific way to try and get some fun shots – this proved a bit difficult, as it is very hard to organise animals!
Someone always has an eye on the weather outside as it’s a temperamental day. If the clouds start to clear a bit, it’s a perfect time to grab the team, models and the equipment and jump outside to grab a shot.
Outside the grand front door, there is a definite chill in the air and with a wreath on the door, the festive winter scene is set. Jackie and Greg have changed into smarter attire and they’re now sitting on the front steps. The team and photography equipment are spread out on the lawn in front of them.
One of our stylists is busily decorating around them, she has the eye for even the smallest thing that may look a little out of place. The photographer is organising the shot, while sheep are bleating loudly behind us. Our behind the scenes photographer has decided to capture a sheep shot to add to our behind the scenes video – he’s running around trying to get the right shot but unfortunately the sheep are running in the opposite direction. It’s amusing to watch.
In the wardrobe, otherwise known as a well-located spare room in the huge grand house, there is a diverse array of pre-planned outfits hanging from rails with notes attached to them that say who they are for, when they should be worn and which Cosyfeet products they could go well with.
Juliette talks me through a prepared mood board made by the team prior to the photoshoot. Sometimes the outfits change on the day if they don’t look right with the chosen backgrounds or if someone has a new idea, but it is very good to be prepared. A lot of care and detail goes into every shot.
It may be mid-afternoon, but Greg is dressed in pyjamas and holding a delicious breakfast bowl. He looks comfortably cosy wearing our Rudolph slippers, still full of energy, dancing in between each shot to the funky music blaring from a nearby speaker.
Twiggy the cat comes back for some attention and the team decide a morning breakfast shot with the cat would be amazing but, as expected, the cat isn’t quite doing as she’s told.
A quick change and our models are propped up on a high wall outside trying to get a specific shot. Greg is cracking jokes to make Jackie smile at ease, which is working beautifully for the shots. Behind them is an idyllic green orchard that really helps to set the autumnal feel.
A few trouser tugs and folds are needed as well as a specific angling of the feet so that the best angle of the wide fitting shoes are shown. Twiggy the cat makes an appearance and the mood is sweetened. It’s almost like she enjoys the camera.
The photography team have a clever photographers laptop bag that has a sun shade for crystal clear viewing and built in Tri-Pod mount. When a photo is taken using the hefty lensed camera, it is automatically sent to the laptop where the team can view the images without getting wet from the uninvited rain showers!
A wheelbarrow is used to carry around useful items such as the shot lists, camera batteries, cushions for outdoor perching, shoe brushes and scissors for snipping loose threads.
Behind the grand manor house is a wonderful walled garden that has four tiers, making its way up a hill. Brimming with gorgeous flowers, you can tell each plant has powered through the wet weather we've been experiencing to wonderfully decorate this garden. Everyone is in awe of this secret space.
It’s an ideal setting for gathering the last few shots of the day while the sky has cleared, especially as the sun seems to be showing its face. Jackie and Greg are dressed in lovely autumnal colours for a shot that appears as if they’re strolling through the garden wearing new shades of the Alison and Angus. In actual fact, they’re just rocking back and forth trying to get the perfect shot which makes an amusing image for all.
It's been a long day but a great insight into an autumn/winter Cosyfeet catalogue photoshoot. There’s just enough time to organise the last shot of the day… the whole team!
Click the play button below to watch our behind the scenes video from our autumn/winter 2019 catalogue photoshoot.
View our fabulous new autumn footwear collection here.