sitting waiting wealth

Mint Room Challenge

in the White Loft

Our third Mint Room Challenge was a huge success! This time, Maya Sherwood passed the torch of leading the challenge to Drew Obtinalla, our Studio Manager. Maya had pioneered a creative community here at Mint Room and set the standards high for these challenges from the get-go, and Maya and Drew collaborated to put on a great shooting event by inviting five talented photographers and one incredible model to set. This time the format was kept essentially the same, while switching up the challenges! 

We hosted the event in our two newest rooms: White Loft and Nest. Doing this gave the Mint Room Challenge a breath of fresh air. None of the photographers had shot in either of the rooms before and were thus faced with obstacles as the harsh and soft light fluctuated during the day. The selection of furniture and props and a variety of new walls and corners provided creative inspiration to the contestants, all while shooting under a time limit of five minutes per turn.

Each photographer was numbered at random at the start of the event and took turns shooting in “snake” order (1-5 first challenge, 5-1 next challenge, and so-on). Below is a list of the challenges and brief description of what each entailed:

1) Hourglass Challenge: each photographer had to make use of the hourglass. Whether it was held or remotely visible in the frame, it was essential to use this prop somewhere as creatively as possible.

2) Floral Challenge: contestants were encouraged to use the seasonal Spring Set Up, which consisted of a gorgeous white trellis, floral backdrop and floral props.  

3) Director’s Challenge: in this challenge, Contestant 1 directed Contestant 2, 2 directed 3 and so on. In this case, the director instructed the photographer to take the photo, all the while not being able to see the results themselves. The photographer had no choice but to agree to everything the director instructed.

4) Mirror with a Coat Challenge: A mirror was provided, and each photographer had to use reflection in the shot, as well as an additional styling element of a topcoat. 

5) Selfie Challenge: For this, contestants shot each other. This was a unique challenge, as it was the perfect way to get everyone out of their comfort zone while becoming familiar with one another. They were both surprised and excited to shoot each other’s portrait!

About the 5 photographers:

  • Rupert: Commercial and lifestyle photographer who is also into fashion and editorial.
  • Andre: Fashion and portrait photographer who also runs a wedding agency.
  • Steph: Fashion and editorial photographer also experienced in weddings and travel.
  • Kyrsten: Portrait photographer specializing in beauty and fashion.
  • Chelsey: Model, portrait photographer and studio manager.

The reason we chose these photographers was not only because of their common interest in portraiture, but also their unique styles and varying genres. All of them are industry working photographers but none had ever experienced an event like the Mint Room Challenge. The Director’s Challenge was the group favourite, as they were really tested on their artistic direction and trust in one another. By surrendering their ability to even look through the viewfinder, it excited the director and made them curious as to how the results would turn out. 

Maya and Drew had as much fun conducting the Mint Room Challenge as the participants and model. They were also thrilled having Artur and Mazai documenting the day with video. We look forward to putting on more challenges and planning future events. We value and pride ourselves on the sense of community here at Mint Room and will continue to create new ways to foster this type of environment.  If you’d like to participate in our next challenge, we’d love to see your work! Please email [email protected] to inquire further. 

Statement from Thomas Caldwell, Designer Thomas Henry Made:

“When I heard which photographers were participating in the challenge (some of my favourite follows in the city), and once I saw Rachid, I knew we had to do something special. Rachid has an elegant and refined image, so I had a high-low vision for him. I wanted to put him in the most luxurious formalwear – velvet smoking jackets, midnight blue tuxedos and fur collar greatcoats – but at the same time dress it down with polo shirts and a relaxed casual look. Rather than have a fully traditional look, I wanted Rachid’s look along with the décor at Mint Room to make for a perfect canvas for photographers to do their thing.

“When I saw the results of the challenge, it was even better than I expected. There was such a diverse range of styles and angles, but all brought Rachid – and the suits – out in a wonderful way. The use of the mirrors and perspective was incredible. I was blown away by all of the results of the challenge, but I have to say my favourites were set against the flower wall. My kudos to Mint Room for the amazing studio space and my gratitude to the photographers for going above and beyond with their talents.”

– Tom


@andrewobtinalla @mayasherwoodphotography


Chelsey Boll @chelseyshoots

Kyrsten Galang @kyrstengalang

Stephanie Montani @stephmontaniphotography

Rupter Aquino @thetaquinofoto

Andre Widjaja @andrecwidjaja

Model: @l.rachid.vannick

Agency: @peggilepage_models

Designer: @thomashenrymade

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