A fortnight ago I attended Secret Cinema’s production of Wes Anderson’s The Grand
Budapest Hotel. It was absolutely amazing, and after that I left a message in their guest book that my only wish was
that their photographer had photographed it in a more Wes Anderson’y way. The photos that were already uploaded looked
great, but IMO Wes Anderson is all about the straight horizons, centred subjects either parallel or perpendicular.
Within a few seconds I’d received an email inviting me to come and have a crack as such! I rarely get to shoot for the
fun of it so of course I said yes! I love trying to invoke a bit of fun whimsical Wes-like style in my wedding
photography wherever I can, so this was a nice chance to flex my creative shutter fingers!
Equipment: I used a Nikon d700 and either a 24mm 1.4 or 85 1.8g, mostly
using the 24 for set shots and 85 for candids.
Shooting experience: One thing that I found tricky to achieve was Wes
Anderson’s depth of field. Ideally, everything from the foreground to the background should be in focus. For that
you’d need either substantially more light or I guess I could’ve created it in post afterwards. Secret Cinema love to
make their performances atmospheric so there wasn’t much light to play with.
Editing: Wes’ films tend to have a kind of light yellow haze, matte look
and a mix of either low or high sat in different scenes. The Grand Budapest was a bit different, as there were lots of
pinky tones, more so than his usual yellow. Trying to edit photos to his look was hard to say the least, I ended up
basically going crazy with the white balance sliders! I also cropped my 3:2 shots into 16:9 to create a slightly
The production is still running, so if you like what you see you still have the chance to
go this weekend! I won’t be able to release all of the photos until the production has run its course (I’ll update it
when I get the go-ahead), here’s a sample of what you can expect approved by Secret Cinema: