My Photo Session Diary

January 22, 2009




TOTO has been our client for quite some long years and this time we were given the opportunity to design their 2009 calendar. Our project designer, Agra Satria, would like to share his first photo session experiences.

By Agra Satria

There were a lot of things to be done pre the photo session, from the concept design, location survey, choosing the right model and photographer as well as the fashion stylist and make up artist. Moreover, we also need to chose some particular products to be used in the shoots. Aligned with the eco-friendly product that TOTO has recently produced, we agreed on a more natural concept for the photos instead of using much of digital imaging effects. With such concept in mind, we chose Davy Linggar as the photographer. For the icon model, our client chose Dominique since she has a more natural look and more suitable with the target market of our client. Location wise, after doing some surveys, we decided to have the photo session in several locations mostly in Bali and Bandung. We spent five days in Bali and only two days in Bandung since we only had one location to shoot there. Firstly, we did the photo session in Bali than after a few days break, we did the one in Bandung. This time I’d like to share the shoots in Bali since it was the first time I was involved in photo sessions.

Day 1
It was already two o’clock in the afternoon when we arrived in Bali. It was just me and Andrey from our team. later on, we went straight to have a late lunch at Warung Made and meet up with the whole crew. It was really exciting to meet them all. There was Hanny from TOTO, then Dominique’s team, Davy’s team, and also the fashion stylist, Michael Pondaag, and make-up artist, Kiki Franky, teams. After lunch we headed to our first photo shoot location, Bali Botanic Garden. It took us more than three hours to get there. The first thing we did after we arrived was to list all the things we needed for each particular day. Michael also showed all the outfits he had for each location. His outfit picks were quite various from the casual, a little bit ethnic, modern ones, to a more dramatic ones. After the long list was settled, we went straight to bed for the big day the next morning.

Day 2
The next morning we woke up really early at four o’clock to catch the six o’clock sunrise. While Michael and Kiki were working to make Dominique ready for the shoot, the production team were unloading boxes of sanitary wares to the set. Certainly it wasn’t easy to carry them from the truck and setting them up nicely. We picked a few locations at the Botanical Garden that had different ambience, from the greenish forest ferns to the high rubber trees.


Everyone seemed to know what they need to do. At first I was just observing what they’re doing and tried to get the grip of the whole thing before I was able to do my part with the art directing. We needed to improvise a bit with the outfit. Apparently the outfit we picked for the forest fern wasn’t appealing enough, then we had to choose a different one. I was constantly communicating with Davy about the angle, where Dominique should be and the product placements. Once it set, he got in action and took the shoots. The photo session went on until around mid day. After lunch we packed our luggage and headed for our hotel in Tuban. It was already late in the afternoon when we got there. Later on, we emailed some of the photos taken earlier to our client in Jakarta to get some feedback for the next day day shoot.


Trying out the spot, me in the spotlight!

Day 3
We started around four o’clock again the next day. The photo shoot location was at a beach which the locals call as the 1000 stairs beach. It was so amazing, white sandy beach with glowing transparent blue water. But to get to the beach from where we parked our cars, we had to go through a very steep cliff a few hundreds meters down. It felt much more than a thousand stairs. The equipment loading was extremely difficult. What really surprised me was the locals we hired were actually midlife Balinese women! The surprise did not just stop there, what even more incredible was to see how easy for those women to get all the big boxes up on their head while they’re walking up and down through the steep stairs. It was really jaw dropping for me. Since the unloading took quite sometime, we started the photo session a bit late. We only got a few shots we wanted because the sun was already up high. Then we had to wait for a while to catch a more suitable sunlight. We also had a few locations for the shots there. But at one location which was very rocky, we had to change our plan to use several pieces of the sanitary wares. At the end, we only used one product and took the shoots from a close angle to zoom in the product. Another unique moment was when we had our packed lunch inside a cave close to the beach. The photo shoot went on until around five in the afternoon. The going up part was totally painful, everybody was so out of breath and pale when we got up. I barely felt my feet anymore. Thank goodness nobody fainted. It was the hardest day on the photo sessions, but the whole experience was unforgettable. When I think of it, I am still amazed how those Balinese women did it, maybe it was some magic hocus pocus.

Day 4
Our next location was at the Nusa Dua beach. Actually this location wasn’t in our list, it was kinda spontaneous. Since the location was not so difficult in terms of access, besides the sanitary wares, we decided to use the bathtubs as well. Still the loading was extremely heavy. It took eight men to bring it from the truck to the beach. Every time we changed location, they also had to move the bathtubs around. In our last spot, we originally wanted to pick a more rocky spot, but then since it was a bit late in the afternoon, the water already got higher, so we had to pick another spot. Fortunately, there were quite a lot of good spots to pick from. After almost a whole day shooting, we went back to the hotel to check out and headed for another hotel in Kuta.


Rocky rock!

Day 5
For our last day of photo shoot, we picked Cangu Beach behind the Tugu Hotel. The beach was really mesmerizing with its smooth and glittery black sand. But, since the sand was so smooth, the production team was having some difficulties to hold the products still. They moved as the wave rolled, even the big heavy bathtub was also carried away by the wave.


We moved to various locations on the beach before we wrapped up and headed for another location at the karst cliff. It was extremely hot when we got to the cliff. The production team still had to unloading the bathtub from the truck again. I think they’re really some kind of modern day supermen.


When I come to think about the whole photo sessions, it’s not easy at all. To get some really good ones we need to take thousands of photos. We took more than five thousands shots to get only twelve shots we need for the whole year. Not to mention, there are a whole lot of people to get things done, from our own team, the client side, the photographer, the model, the fashion stylist, the make-up artist, the production people, the drivers to the local people hired to help. There were almost 30 people in total. It was one of a kind experience where I could learn a lot from the professionals. Such a real pleasure to be able to work with TOTO, Davy Linggar, Dominique, Michael Pondaag and Kiki Franky. I’m grateful to have such great and memorable experiences.


Au Revoir! See you next time! 😉


5 Responses to “My Photo Session Diary”

  1. Eric Says:

    awesome photos!

  2. Rama Says:

    saya dapat satu kalendernya di rumah dan membyangakan how simple layouts works with great photos…no wonder ternyata ini projectnya Leboye! hehe…awesome Pak! salam…

  3. Emmy Says:

    Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  4. pyor Says:

    Nice diary! Mauuw dooonk kalendernya..hohohoh, telat yah

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