Long post ahead!
How It All Began
A couple of years ago, when The Art of Mezame was still a fledgling little group of photography enthusiasts, we had the opportunity to shoot THE LAST TWO OF US – a zombie-themed pre-wedding photo series for our clients who really were a pair of fans of The Walking Dead series by A.M.C.
It was a unique entry into an otherwise saturated pre-wedding/wedding photography industry. This theme has been done before by other photographers all over the world and some of those works really gave us the inspiration we needed to make things happen.
We chose to make our series a story-driven epic. Complete with groomsmen and bridesmaids who have turned into zombies and a toy rescue helicopter, the photo series saw Hanan and his then-fiancee Maisarah battle their way to the rooftop of an abandoned carpark to have a shot at hopping on a rescue helicopter. Whether they made it or not remains a mystery. Fast forward a few months, and we had Adrian and Adeline who were fascinated by what we have done for Hanan and Maisarah. After a few email exchanges, they thought of doing a themed pre-wedding shoot based on the Matrix trilogy or Jurassic Park but decided on Star Wars eventually. The Force is definitely strong with this couple!
Pre-production began early. After our first meet-up, I began experimenting on toy photography to get an idea of what to shoot, and how to shoot. I had a Power of the Force X-Wing, TIE Advanced and a Big Millennium Falcon. I also shot some other toys but they didn’t make the final cut – TIE Interceptor, TIE Bomber, Republic Gunship, etc. I began researching on the colours used in the Star Wars universe to re-create the feels of the epic films. I began watching the movies again, and rediscovered the joy of those films. I had the Star Wars: The Old Republic trailers on loop over and over again. I began sketching ideas, diagrams, storyboards, etc.
The day finally came when we had to shoot the couple and their Sith groomsmen. The key idea was simple – it was a story of redemption. Now, even though the idea of Jedi being disallowed from marriage and being in love, I need to take a moment to let you guys know that a lot of creative liberty took place here post-Return of the Jedi. After the release of the second The Force Awakens trailer, and looking back at the Expanded Universe, we decided to have a pair of Jedi Knights who were in love. It was a little difficult at first because the talents had to imagine that they were interacting with the ships. The end product had to be visualized in the mind throughout the shoot.
At some point, the couple had to stand next to nothing, imagining that they were under a huge ship. It was great that the couple were cool to work with and the groomsmen were game to try anything.
The results were epic. This was probably one of my most enjoyable shoots ever!
The Story So Far…
In this interpretation of the Star Wars universe, we have the Resistance on the run from the New Order. Imperial Star Destroyers began an assault on the planet of Chang-I, launching TIE Fighters and landing ageing AT-AT walkers. In desperation, the two Jedi Knights made a last stand. Unbeknownst to them, an ancient Sith Lord watches the Jedi Knight Adrian (the groom-to-be) from the shadows, keen on adopting a new apprentice by his side. Adrian was sent on a mission to take a modified Corellian YT-1300 freighter to deliver some droids bearing important secret plans to the Resistance’s command. What happened next after the ship departed was a mystery.
The Sith warriors (groomsmen) landed in a shuttle and began an assault on the ground with the Jedi Knight Adeline being the last line of defense. X-Wings took to the skies and launched dogfights against TIE Fighters.
Suddenly, Adrian arrived in a TIE Advanced and began to duel her.
Unleashing Force lightning and lightsaber moves, Adrian fought hard but was no match for the power of the Light Side of the Force. Injured, Adrian summoned his Sith groomsmen who fought Adeline. Being one with the Force, Adeline took them on but was slowly overpowered. Adrian soon came to his senses, and leapt to his bride-to-be’s rescue.
The two of them took on the Sith warriors and eliminated them, freeing themselves from the oppression of the New Order. Akin to the ancient Jedi method of war, the Battle Meditation, their small victory here influenced the outcome of the war on Chang-I. The New Order was driven off planet and the Resistance managed to mount a successful defense. Adrian and Adeline realized that their love for another was too strong to be divided by any disturbance in the Force. It was also their undying love for one another that managed to overcome the Dark Side of the Force’s influence on Adrian.
Onto the technical bit – this shoot was done with the help of 3 crew members – Raymond Ee, Sean Padman, Siti Zahara and myself. Siti Zahara, who runs Alter Ego by MizDesert, also did the hair and make-up for the talents. The talents got their own costumes and some even crafted their own bits of armor to replicate the ones seen in the Star Wars games. Lightsabers were specially custom-crafted by KIT SABERS, a local sabersmith here in Singapore.
The shoot took a whole day and the toy photography took another. Storyboarding was essential in getting the shots I needed. I had to be really specific so I could direct the talents around. Initially, I wanted to include more toys but they just didn’t seem to work so we had them canned. Some of the art was brushed in (hooray for Wacom tablets!) to make the scenery even more Star Wars-y. Since I couldn’t find a Star Wars logo that could be used, I had one made from scratch. Freeware font and additional lines, and exploring kerning spaces in Photoshop made the title page possible.
Post-production was truly where the fun was. Photography purists probably wouldn’t appreciate what we did here because a lot of Photoshop work was put in to make this work. Composites, effects, colour grading were all part of the game. Various difficulties plagued the shoot – logistics (we had to lug around 2 generators to power up our smoke machine and twin Bowen GM500 strobe lights), bad weather (it rained in the morning at one of our locations), insect bites (it got worse when we shot in the night) and winds that did not fit our needs, causing our smoke to drift away. We wanted to include fire in our photography but as far as practical effects go, we ended up with just water and smoke. As a result, we had no choice but to Photoshop in smoke using brushes and fire that we have from our stock libraries (some of them were from practical effects from previous shoots).
All in all, it was a fun shoot and the couple/groomsmen were very happy about how their photos turned out. When the shots got viral and began making their rounds on social media networks, tech blogs and online newspapers, we were overjoyed. It was unexpected! I was interviewed by so many people about this shoot. It was one hell of an experience!
This photo series was covered by the following awesome portals:
- DIYPhotography: EPIC STAR WARS PRE WEDDING SHOOT DONE WITH ACTION FIGURES
- RAWExchange (German): So kann Hochzeitsfotografie aussehen. Mezame im Interview über sein Star-Wars-PreWedding-Projekt
- PetaPixel: An Epic Star Wars-Themed Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot
- io9: Photographer Turns Pre-Wedding Photos Into a Grand Lightsaber Battle
- Metro: This Star Wars-themed wedding shoot might be the most OTT yet
- Mothership.SG: Couple just raised bar for pre-wedding photo shoot with Star Wars theme
- MustShareNews: This Singaporean Couple’s Epic Star Wars Themed Wedding Photoshoot Just Won The Internet
- Stuff: This couple did the most epic Star Wars themed wedding shoot in Singapore
- FashionablyGeek: Elaborate Star Wars-Themed Engagement Shoot Complete With Light-Rapier Battle
- TechEBlog: Geeks Create Epic Star Wars-Themed Wedding Photos, Complete with Handmade Lightsabers
- CameraRumours.Info: An Epic Star Wars-Themed Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot
- Fortress of Solitude: Epic Star Wars-Themed Wedding Photos
- ClickBlog (Italian): Da Star Wars agli scatti epici di matrimonio con Mezame Shashin-ka
- Entretenimiento(Spanish): Fans de ‘Star Wars’ celebran su amor con sesión warsie
- DCFever(Chinese): 星戰下的盟約！最科幻的 Pre-Wedding 相片！
- Feng.Com (Chinese): 城里人太会玩了 这说是婚纱照你能相信？
- USCNer (Chinese): 城里人太会玩了 这说是婚纱照你能相信？
- Arabia Weddings: Wedding Photographer Turns Pre-Wedding Pictures Into a Lightsaber Battle
- Yahoo! Noticias (Spanish/Latin America): Un amor que se viste de Star Wars
- TechXcite(Thai): Photo: ขอรักจงสถิตอยู่กับท่าน…คู่รักถ่ายรูป Pre-Wedding ในธีม Star Wars สุดอลังการ!
- Soccersuck(Thai): คู่รักถ่ายรูป Pre-Wedding ในธีม Star Wars สุดอลังการ!
- Geek Culture: Singapore Photographer Shoots Amazing Star Wars Wedding
Thanks to awesome Mezfan and longtime follower Celeste Ohime-sama for the list! I will update the list as more come in!
In the meanwhile, thank you all for the support. To see more of the images, go to the album on my Facebook page. Hit the Like button and be a friend, not a stranger :P If you would like to write in to me privately, feel free to email me at mezame [at] theartofmezame.com. Have thoughts to share? Feel free to leave a comment! May the Force be with You =)