Drama Queen Photo Shoot on the Set of Les Miserables

Les Misérables opens in cinemas tomorrow, and today we have something super-exciting to share with you – a stunning styled bridal shoot which took place at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, where much of the film was shot! This amazing shoot was dreamt up by Caroline Nicholson. After watching the official Les Misérables trailer Caroline thought about what a great place the set would be for a photo shoot – but surely she wouldn’t be allowed to shoot on the film set… would she?

“I have rather fanciful ideas on many days, but it’s not often I get to see them through to fruition. However, on a very cold day at the end of December one of my ideas became a reality and, boy oh boy, was it worth all the hard work.

“As November of 2012 drew to a close and I completed my last wedding of the year, I started to get that creative itch that I so often get. I adore the weddings I’m lucky enough to capture, but I always come away with more ideas, things I’d love to try, that one shot that we just didn’t have time for, that one image that allows me to push the boundaries of my own wedding photography a little further. So I decided I had to do something really creative, just for me, and just for the fun of it.

“The concept came from my work in the film industry, and my love of film in general. For a long time I’ve adored film stills almost as much as the films themselves, and films influence my work quite a lot. I love the atmosphere that stills capture, the unreality of what they show us, the behind the scenes magic they convey. I wanted to incorporate this into a shoot and I was looking for a really unusual venue for several brides who wanted to wear their dresses again, some of whom I’d photographed before on their wedding days. I wanted it to be something really contemporary, and I knew my lovely brides were up for having some fun – bringing out their inner ‘Diva’.

“Hold that Thought.

“I grew up in Rochester in Kent and still live nearby, and through my contacts I established that much of the new Les Misérables and the recent Sherlock Holmes films were shot on location in Chatham, at the Historic Dockyard. It’s an amazing venue and having shot weddings there before I knew it had huge potential for a dramatic shoot – I just didn’t realise quite how much. I’d been looking forward to Les Misérables for some time, and one afternoon after watching the official trailer for the film I started thinking…

“What if I could arrange to do my shoot on the set of the films?! Nah – never going to happen – there’s no way they are going to let you shoot on a film set; not a chance….

“Only they did let me shoot on the set! Waaaaahhhhhh!

“After a couple of weeks of crazy planning, Pinteresting and discussions with Alana, the fabulous Events, Activities and Communications Manager at the Historic Dockyard, we agreed the shoot. She very kindly took me on a tour of the sets and wedding venues, and told me all about all the amazing things that had been captured there. Suddenly the initial inspiration of a Les Misérables inspired shoot started to develop – my mind was going crazy with ideas with each new area Alana showed me, and I could see shots forming in my mind. The venue was a photographer’s dream and there were just so many inspiring locations to shoot. Straight away I knew this had to be big with lots and lots of drama.

“Once I saw how amazing the place was, I gave my incredibly talented friend Cristina Rossi a call, explained my thought processes and discussed some ideas, and we rather excitedly agreed on a collaboration. She jumped into action in a way only Cristina can (I can’t thank her enough for all her hard work), and we started contacting some amazing wedding suppliers and had people getting in touch with us from all over the country to take part. Once our brides were on board we carried on working with June, the wonderful Hospitality Manager at the Dockyard, who couldn’t have been more helpful. Soon the ‘Les Mis’ inspired theme just didn’t cover it; we wanted full on ‘Drama Queen’, encompassing everything dramatic, theatrical and flamboyant. The Drama Queen shoot was born and boy was it fun to do!”

Bride in warehouse

Bride holding up train on wedding dress Bride twirling

Bride twirling with veil flowing

Four brides in line in warehouse

Four brides twirling

Four brides posing in warehouse

Bride with big false eyelashes Bride sitting on chair

Long false eyelashes on bride

Bride with black mask Bride holding black cupcake

Black face mask

Bride with red headpiece Bride holding red brooch bouquet

Red heart brooch bouquet

Bride with red floral headpiece

Bride holding brooch bouquet

Four brides holding brooch bouquets

Bride with hand on hip Bride posing with brooch bouquet

Black and white bridal shoes

Front of black and white bridal shoes

Purple bridal shoes

Union Jack bridal shoes

Brides standing in windows of warehouse

Four brides standing in windows of warehouse

Brides standing by table of wedding cakes

Table of wedding cakes

Cupcakes on sticks

Cupcakes with buttons Drama Queen sign in cupcake

Tiered red and white wedding cake

Bride wearing purple and black headpiece

Four brides standing under arch Brides standing under arch

Brides standing by alley way

Brides posing by walkway

Four brides walking

Four brides with back to camera

Bride with back to camera Bride looking down holding red brooch bouquet

Bride with long false eyelashes smiling

Bride wearing top hat headpiece Bride with back turned Bride lifting train to twirl

Bride leaning back holding brooch bouquet Bride with pink headpiece and brooch bouquet

Wedding cake table

Purple and pink floral wedding cake Tall tiered white wedding cake

Pink and purple cupcakes

Red rose cupcakes

Sponge cakes on sticks

Large iced roses

Four brides with cake table

Bride walking down stairs Bride standing on stairs looking up

Bride with fascinator Bride with fascinator holding bouquet

Bride standing in between curtains Black and white picture of bride smiling

Bride looking down at bouquet Bride looking up at camera

“With huge thanks to all involved – we couldn’t have done it without you.”

The ‘Drama Team’

Our Drama Queens: Dawn Ferguson, Hayley Griffiths, Samantha Stevens, and Sarah Rogers

Photography: Caroline Nicholson Photography and Cristina Rossi Photography

The Venue: Alana Almond and June Collins – The Historic Dockyard Chatham and Commissioners House

Make-up: Elaine Barrow and Shamirah Sairally

Brooch Bouquets and Stationery: Jinder Raja – The Finer Details

Cakes: Elizabeth Solaru – Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium

Flower Garlands: Gwenda Wilkes – The Vintage Floral Design Company

Shoes: Marsha Hall – Marsha Hall Handmade Shoes

Props: Sarah Poole – SP Wedding Events

Jewellery: Claire Ogden – Claire Ogden Designs

Behind the Scenes Videography: Johanna and Apos – Urban Cinematography

Next week we’ll take a look Behind the Scenes of a ‘Drama Queen’ Shoot on the Set of Les Misérables

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