Behind the scenes with H&M
Backstage, between fittings and sets: What really happens behind the scenes of a photo shoot? We tagged along backstage at H&M’s Membership shoot, where three lucky members got to be featured.
A few months before the shoot, a campaign on hm.com asked H&M members worldwide if they wanted to be part of an upcoming photo shoot, and seconds later, tons of applications came in.
On an early, foggy, and brisk September morning, Ahmad, a 27-year-old all the way from Los Angeles, entered the door of a large warehouse in the suburbs of Stockholm where four sets, hundreds of colourful pieces of clothing, and lots of people we're busy setting up everything for the day.
TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU FOUND OUT THAT YOU WOULD BE FEATURED.
”When I found out I had made the first selection round, I just didn't believe it. They asked me to send in a video and some more photos, but I still didn't believe it. And even when they chose me, it didn't feel real. I always wanted to work with H&M. As a kid, I always shopped at H&M. To do this is just like I am making the younger me happy.”
As Ahmad settled and made his way to his fitting, we took a peek at the set, which consisted of four smaller sets and rooms, part of a Member House concept. A narrow majestic red staircase with velvety red walls and a pink door at the top caught our eye at the centre of the room. On the left side was a bright yellow tiled bathroom with pink details, like one of those you see in luxurious hotels. On the other side was an elevator in orange and gold details with a light blue interior, inspired by art deco and like the ones you’d see in a Wes Anderson movie. The fourth and final setting took our breath away – a dreamy, wavy pink, and beige velvet lounge with elements of a 1960s living room but with clean, soft shapes.
As we stood in awe and admired all the amazing sets and the incredibly talented people who made all of this possible, our next two members had made it to set — Hanna, a 24-year-old from Vingåker in Sweden, and Florian, a 26-year-old from Nantes, in France.
We watched as the stylist went back and forth with outfit and styling choices, how the Art Director and photographer talked about different angles for the models, and how the beautiful pictures came to life on the monitor in front of us.
Being on set means a lot of time waiting in between photos and a lot of goodies to devour in the snack bar. However, the atmosphere is still hectic as many things have to fall into place as there’s a tight schedule to follow, but we managed to squeeze in a few questions for Ahmad on his second day on set.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PART OF THIS EXPERIENCE?
“The best part of this has been meeting the whole team. Everyone has been really friendly and welcoming. It makes this experience better. Once you have a great team, it just flows so much easier.”
As Ahmad went into fitting to try his next look, we managed to grab hold of Florian.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA?
“Being in front of the camera is a bit stressful in the beginning, all the flashes, the light, there are so many people behind the scenes that you didn't imagine being there. You try to interact with the camera, it is a bit intimidating initially, but you go ahead anyway.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY HERE ON SET.
"Today, on set, we have done several shoots in different rooms. For example, there was a red stair that we were on, it was fake snow, and we had to alternate between models. Sometimes I was all alone, and sometimes we were several models, and it was in different décors, the red stairs, a yellow bathroom, and a lounge all in velour, and it is very nice decors, and I love being there."
We popped in at Hair and Makeup and asked Hanna about her day and experience so far.
"My day has been amazing. An early start, but it has been so great, and I got to experience new things that have been so exciting. Being in front of the camera feels exciting, fun, new, and nervous. Working with the photographer is very exciting. You don't have to think about much more than being there in the moment, and they guide you through everything. You feel very safe."
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF A PHOTO SHOOT?
“The most challenging thing about participating in a photo shoot for me, who is doing it for the first time, is that I may not have a lot of knowledge. But there is always someone to ask, and there is always someone to help. It can be difficult to know how to pose, stand, or walk. But there is always someone to help.”
Our members were on set for a few days as they had different photos planned in various settings. Each set had its own images planned to portray all the benefits of the H&M Membership. The outfits, the styling, the setting, and the props were carefully selected for each image and had been planned for months ahead. Shoots like this take a lot of time with planning, prepping, and finding the right people in front and behind the camera. It also requires many other people to handle the day-to-day things on set, including food, travel, accommodation, etc.
Join today and enjoy lots of more great benefits of being a member!