Iceland photography an unforgettable experience

The organisation and management of a photo shoot can be as important as the shoot itself, especially if travelling to work in a foreign country.  Ion from Photoion travelled to Iceland to capture the beauty of its visually stunning, jagged, rocky landscapes and breathtaking skies, rich with colour. The model for this shoot was Anna Margrét Ingólfsdóttir (pictured below) who backed up her natural beauty and strong, striking features with a bravery and determination that not only made the whole shoot possible but also made it a resounding success.

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The first important lesson that we learned from our experience was that if you are planning a fashion shoot in a country that you are not familiar with, you should be sure to buy any props and outfits that you require in the UK, before you go. Upon arrival in Iceland we quickly learned that shopping was going to be difficult, there was very little clothing to choose from, especially in the vintage style that we required for our shoot. Other items were hard to come by too, due to the country’s very strong winds umbrellas are practically obsolete, so purchasing one to use as a prop proved to be incredibly troublesome. It took 8 days of hard searching to piece together the outfits that you see in these images, and while we are very pleased with the end results, time was wasted and a valuable lesson was learned.

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We would also suggest that if you do purchase any items that you intend to send via post to your location, you should do so well in advance. In this particular case Ion purchased and posted a set of coloured smoke grenades 7 days before arrival in Iceland, unfortunately they did not materialise in time.

Researching your location is vitally important. The theme for our shoot was “Blue Ice” and we were aiming to capture a summery vintage look in and around the icy landscapes at the heart of one of the coldest countries in the world. Initially we had planned to use the famous Ice Caves, but upon speaking to locals we discovered that the caves melt at this particular time of year, making the area incredibly dangerous, with access available only through the use of specialist arctic vehicles.

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Leaving behind the idea of the Ice Caves our shoot began at the largely overlooked but incredibly beautiful glacier lagoon Fjallsárlón. Lying only a few kilometres from the more famous Jökulsárlón lagoon, Fjallsárlón is no less impressive and provided a fantastic backdrop for our first set of images.

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Rocky glacier terrain may make for stunning images, but it can be very difficult and at times dangerous to manoeuvre people and equipment into place, especially for a model wearing a dress and heels. Anna once again proved to be a true inspiration, facing the low temperatures admirably and contending with her heels sinking into the black sand, making walking almost impossible. Ion was called upon to use all of his skill and experience to manage and pose Anna, helping her to achieve the summery, sunny poses and expressions that the shoot called for whilst navigating through fog, ice and a very challenging rocky environment.

The shoot was worked in 5 minute stints, allowing Anna time to get warm using jackets and blankets in between sessions.

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For our second location we moved on to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, situated close to the ocean’s edge and considered one of the natural wonders of Iceland, the images describe the beauty of this lagoon better than words ever could. Yet despite it’s obvious beauty, finding the perfect spot for the shoot was not easy, and Ion had to walk to the flat, sandy shore for some time before he found all of the elements that we was looking for. Eventually finding several chunks of ice, perfect for the theme, Ion tested them for safety, finding one to be very unstable but luckily the other was solid and able to securely withstand the weight of our model.

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Though the ice shelf was obviously slippery and incredibly cold, Anna found it more comfortable and easier to navigate in her heels that the black stones of our previous beach location. The challenge for the photographer then became the size of platform, which proved to be too small to be able to adequately experiment with the flash guns and speedlites required for lighting. However, as all good photographers do, Ion improvised impressively and was able to shoot some fantastic images before the sun dropped and the cold became unbearable.

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The Iceland trip and subsequent photo shoot proved to be an unforgettable experience, from which we learned many valuable lessons and came away with some wonderful images. Ion would like to extend a huge thank you to Anna for making the shoot possible with her tenacity and bravery as well, of course, as her beauty and style.

If you would like to learn more about photography, whether you are a beginner or a professional, please click the image below to visit our site and browse our extensive range of London based photography courses.

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Iceland photography an unforgettable experience