photography during a pandemic


August 09, 2020

Happy August! As we near the end of summer, we are reflecting on what the last few months at Quince have been like as we adjust to a “new normal.” As Art Director, my job has largely been unaffected by working from home. Besides my home closets now being full of yarn, the transition was smooth for me to bring the studio to my living room. However, COVID-19 has changed the way we approach on-location photoshoots, and I wanted to share a glimpse into how we’ve changed our approach.

A Quince photoshoot is always fun – from the styling all the way to the snacks. We love to work with real people and professional models alike, and a big collection for us requires quite a bit of pre-production work. We plan moodboards, source props and styling, schedule model try-ons and secure locations. But the best part is the actual shoot day. As a photographer, I try to have the “if we don’t get it, we still have time” attitude (even if we don’t!) because a shoot with uplifting and supportive energy is what makes the best images. We plan enough time for the model to take breaks, drink water, and eat snacks (preferably some sort of chocolate,) and we give ourselves time to get creative.

Even if you’ve never been to a professional photoshoot, you may still have some idea of how things are done. A shoot assistant is usually present to make sure any snags, loose fibers or pins are hidden to the camera. They also help style the model and carry our props and styling bags from one place to another. The very nature of a photoshoot is the opposite of “social distancing”. It is more often “social closeness” – a supportive and collaborative environment with the model, the photographer, and the shoot assistant. We knew that working with models at the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak would put us all at risk, and we decided that changing our approach this year was the safest decision to make.

“Shawls” is an annual Spring collection for Quince and is usually in the works from concept to design at least a year in advance. By the time it gets on my list, all of the knitted pieces are usually on my desk waiting to be photographed. By March of this year, we were just learning about COVID-19 and how to practice safe distancing. Because our Shawls shoot was right around the corner, we made the decision that this year, our collection would not be modeled. However, I knew that we could work around this, and I’d just need some extra help.

Lucky for me – and for Quince – my fiance, Jared is also a photographer. We have, of course, been staying home together since the COVID-19 guidelines were set in the state of Maine, so in the planning phase of this on-location modeled shoot for Quince, he offered to photograph our entire Shawls collection while I modeled each piece. During the shoot, on a chilly March day on a small beach at Atlantic ocean, I thought, “now this might be something Quince followers would like to see – that we are emulating a warm Spring day with modeled shawls on our in-house photographer in the cold” and so this is that story. 

Abby and Jared; Abby styling Hester, our dress form, over a video call

If you’ve seen our Shawls 2020 collection or some of the recent non-collection patterns we’ve released at Quince, you may recognize me. I’m Abby – and I’m usually behind the scenes. I had a lot of fun coming up with a creative solution to shoot these pieces, and I want to thank my fiance Jared for capturing the collection in the Quince way. I also want to thank the rest of the Quince team for all of the creative support they have in making the Shawls collection happen. 

If you purchased a pattern from this collection, I’d love to know your favorites! And if you’re interested in hearing or seeing more behind-the-scenes at Quince, let us know in the comments and we can make that happen!


Warmly, 

Abby Johnson-Ruscansky

Art Director at Quince

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