When my husband proposed that I’d accompany him on his work trip to Marrakesh I immediately said YES. I rapidly started my work process which I follow religiously every time I have a location photoshoot abroad.
First of all, I envision the photoshoot’s wardrobe. I love to design the different outfits as I get inspired by the culture and imagery of the selected location.
In this case I commissioned some custom-made dresses. I had three styles in mind: white, black and brow. Three outfits that would match the three locations I had in mind: a Riyadh, a palm grove and Majorelle Gardens.
I asked that each of the outfits came with a matching veil, to make sure it was respectful of the Marrocan culture.
In addition to the pregnancy gowns, I went to the Encants Market en Barcelona and bought new fabrics. I was so excited about this location photoshoot!
My experience with my latest location photoshoot in Morrocco
I had 3 models confirmed but on the day of the location photoshoot only one of them showed up. I felt so grateful when she came along. She spoke perfect English and she was absolutely stunning. Lucky me!
She was so accommodating that she made my work easy. I explained to her that I had visited the Riyadh where I wanted to have one of the photography sets and that, unfortunately, I was told that it was forbidden to take pictures of women there.
In fact the riyadh’s staff said that, if I attempted to do the photoshoot there or at any other riyadh, the police would come and I could even get arrested. This came as a shock to me. It was hard for me to comprehend that it was illegal to photograph women in public places in Morroco. I didn’t understand it but I respected it. I am used to travelling around the world so I know how important it is to respect the culture of the country you’re visiting.
Well, luck was in my favour again because after I explained what had happened to my model she suggested that we do the location photoshoot at a friend’s riyadh. We simply had to be discreet and not mention the name of this gorgeous 5-star hotel.
They came to pick us up in a luxury car and, when I entered the location I was so inspired by the sights, the atmosphere…My creative mind started going wild. I took some amazing shots at the riyadh thanks to the model, who was so open to work with me. I would suggest things and she’d say yes. Thus the gorgeous snaps that you can see in the gallery below.
I even got some “behind the scenes” videos thanks to my lovely husband, Jordi, who usually comes with me to my location photoshoots to lend me a helping hand.
The next location in my original plan were Majorelle Gardens. However, just like the first riyadh I visited, I had been there prior to the day of the shoot and realized it was not an option. It was packed with people and taking professional pictures was also strictly forbidden.
Stories of a destination photographer
So we headed straight to the palm grove. Once we got there I realized it wasn’t as I had imagined it. In my mind it was way greener…It was a lush oasis in the middle of the desert.
Reality was something simpler yet useful. We could work with it. But again we had some cultural issues that didn’t go our way…
Sunset was getting closer so we had to rush. I did a set using backlight by the road and then I headed where the camels were. In Spain we have a say: “Better say sorry than ask for permission”. This means that you “just do it” and then deal with the consequences, come what may…
Well the consequences were that the Tourism Police came and told us to leave. For a moment I thought they would take the memory card with them.
“Jordi, take the SD card off the camera and hide it!” – I said to my husband.
“I don’t know how to do that, Lys” – he replied.
We were joking about it but a part of me was worried that I would lose all of the beautiful work I had done so far.
Finally our model, who had clearly instructed us to get in the police car and be quiet. did all the talking. She managed to explain to them that these pictures were not for commercial use. She wanted pictures taken of her. She was born there, paid her taxes there and was allowed to have pictures taken in her home country.
Thanks to our Morrocan “angel” we could go back home with the pictures of our location photoshoot in Marrakesh. Thank you once again, Shanna!