Ivana Cermakova

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) My first post in a while-much too long-but I thought it definitely worth sharing these images. The images here are from a shoot in October 2014, with Ivana Cermakova, a Czech model who was only in London for a few days. This was pretty much an 'introductory' shoot-a chance to meet Ivana, and see what images we could achieve on a first shoot without much preparation or planning. Well, at least on my part-Ivana arrived very well prepared for the shoot... It was a short shoot-just two hours-and on very short notice, hence little prep time. Whilst shorter than I’d usually wish for, I took the opportunity to collaborate with a view to arranging a second shoot with much better planning, and a much clearer idea of what specific kind of images we'd want.

I went into this shoot with a few ideas as to what images I wanted, but still with enough time to allow an opportunity to see what worked on the day. As it was, we got a ton of images that I’m very happy with, and a great hit rate in terms of quality images. Narrowing it down to the ones I wished to master has taken me quite some time.

ps-there’s a great blog by another photographer, Dan Hostettler, on shooting with Ivana, and you can find that one
here.

Lucy in Spring

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) With the promise of Spring, and outdoor shoots tantalisingly close, I took a chance recently and invited Lucy Fur down to London to collaborate on my first outdoor shoot of the year. I’ve had fantastic success in the past shooting at a location in North London, first with Kayleigh Lush, and then with Sophia St Villier and Miu last year, and planned to use that again. That it's within walking distance of my house also contributes somewhat to the charm of the place as well…

We had the shoot planned for May 3rd, and in the run up to the shoot, had been anxiously watching the weather. As the day drew closer, it looked like we were going to get the sunshine we needed, but probably not the temperatures. My plan was to start the shoot at around 7.30 am, when chance encounters with dog walkers, etc… to interrupt the shoot are minimised, and the light is best. Unfortunately, the temperatures didn’t look like they were going to be anything like bearable so early in the morning, so we had a leisurely breakfast with my wife, and postponed the start to 10.00 am.

We headed out, and sure enough it was about bearable by the time we reached our location. All of the images here were shot with natural light. All were shot with the sun behind Lucy to get the wonderful rich colours from the trees, with a gold reflector used to bounce light back towards Lucy. I was shooting at around 1.6f , to get the wonderful bokeh (the out of focus bits) in the background. We shot for a couple of hours, by which time the sun was getting to be very warm, and a little too bright to shoot in, but still, it was a very productive couple of hours.

As ever, shooting with Lucy was an enormously enjoyable occasion, and I’d recommend Lucy as a model to any photographer.

Kendra

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) I've been fortunate to shoot with Kendra on a couple of other occasions to date, and I've always been very happy with the results of our shoots. I recently found myself with some studio time booked, but no model sorted, and decided to give Kendra a shout, to see if she'd be free. Fortunately, it coincided with the company year end, and Kendra was looking to use up holidays, so was happy to collaborate.  We arrived at the studio with a few ideas in mind, and a good few reference shots to take inspiration from as well.

We shot in a couple of the more 'none-standard' places in the studio, like the seating area for those not usually involved in the shoot. And, one of the more unusual things we did this time though, was actually step out of the studio, and spend fifteen minutes or so shooting in the industrial estate where the studio is based. We wanted to catch the last light of the day, and whilst we got a number of good shots, we also got a good number of curious glances-a tattooed model in bikini and denim shorts is not the usual kind of work person usually found there.

We shot a number of things-not least, I wanted to experiment with a couple of retro styled setups. Not exactly unusual for me, but even so, it's always worth trying new things now and then. We also shot against the plain white backgrounds of the studio, and got some great bikini images there in particular. Indeed, Kendra posted a couple of these images in their raw form, and has piqued the interest of Inked magazine, and she's been invited to meet with them as a consequence.

And, as usual with Kendra, for all the ideas and images we came away with, we also came away with ideas for another two or three shoots. We hope to put at least one of these into action soon, with an outdoor shoot over at Kew Gardens. Again, this is a shoot I'm already looking forward to.

Kyoto

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) I get to travel with my day job a fair bit, and I’ve been fortunate to visit some very special places. This past week, though, the trip I took to Kyoto in Japan is probably the most memorable trip I’ve had to date. To be honest, it’s impossible (at least, for me...) to begin to put across in words just how wonderful and special Kyoto is. The old capital of Japan, it has managed to preserve ancient roots, and a real sense of history is everywhere. Probably the closest comparison I could find in Europe would be Rome, where-as with Kyoto-it seems that every street is steeped in thousands of years of history.

For me, I found a real sense of quiet dignity and serenity in Kyoto. In the temples and shrines I managed to visit, the achievements of many hands, hundreds of years ago, is just breathtaking, truly staggering. I’d urge anyone with an opportunity to visit Kyoto to do so in a heartbeat. I hope to return very soon.

Li Zheng in Santa Monica II

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Santa Monica November 2013
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I photographed Li earlier this year, when I was in Los Angeles on a trip. We got some good results, but considering it was June, the weather didn’t play very nice that day. It was warm enough, but we didn’t really get any of the sunshine that you’d usually associate with a California beach shoot. Nevertheless, Li was a wonderful model, and great company. So, when I was fortunate enough to be in Santa Monica once again, this time in November, I dropped Li a mail to see if she’d be free to shoot again. Whilst it’s usually much cooler, and the sun set much earlier in the day in November, it looked like it was going to be at least warm enough, and we’d get the sunset that I wanted. Fortunately for me, Li was free to shoot, and so we arranged to shoot again on Santa Monica beach, this time hopefully with a half decent sunset showing up to keep us company.

As you’ll see from the images, we did indeed get the sunset I was hoping for, and also got some fantastic images as a consequence. Of course, having collaborated with Li earlier in the Summer, I knew I was getting a fantastic model, and some guaranteed great images for certain, but the sunset was pretty much the icing on the cake. We also had the advantage of a much quieter beach, which meant we didn’t have to wait too much for the people also taking advantage of the sunset to walk the beach to get out out the shot. I’ll admit, I still ended up photoshopping a couple out, though...


As ever, it’s surprising just how quickly the sun sets and the light changes when you’re on the clock, and so we had to keep readjusting the lighting, to get the best combination of ensuring that Li was well lit, but that we still captured the essence of the sunset. I also made a point of bringing a ‘head torch’ think-one of those lights you can put on your head like a sweatband-which meant that even though the sun had set, and there was no real natural light to work with, I was still able to get a good focus, and we could carry on shooting. Pretty much all of the darker shots were captured in this way.

Whilst traditional bikini/beach photography isn’t something that I ever imagined that I’d enjoy shooting. Being a typical brit, the idea of shooting with an audience of gawkers isn’t something I’ll ever enjoy. And I’m sure that if I ever showed up on a UK beach with a model like Tricia, Leila or Li, I’m sure I’d have a significant audience pretty quickly. Fortunately, it’s very clear that a bikini shoot on the beach is not an uncommon thing in Santa Monica-it’s just about a mile or so from where Baywatch was shot, for a start-and so the Californians tend to take it all in their stride, and pretty much leave us to shoot in peace.

Strobist bit: For these shoots, particularly when you’re absolutely against the clock, I rely on keeping things very simple, with just one artificial light. I was mostly using a single off-camera flash ‘as it comes’ (I know, apparently not the done thing, but I’m more than happy with the results, to be honest), set high, with a 1/250 exposure, to keep the drama of the sunset, but to prevent it from overexposing the shot completely. For the shots after dark, I was still using a single off camera flash, and later, an orbis ring flash. This is most obvious on the shots from the lifeguard hut, but was also used for those images we shot up from the beach, overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway.

I’ve enjoyed the two opportunities that I’ve had to collaborate with Li, and we’ve already got a couple of ideas for our next, slightly more ambitious shoot at some point in 2014. I’m already looking forward to that, of course.
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Quick note on this image: I’ve just processed this one image into mono so far from this shoot, and I’ve included it here rather than in the main gallery, as I think it sits better on it’s own, in a manner. I may well process more into mono-certainly, I’m delighted with this one…

Kendra

Kendra 2013

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) A quick blog about a recent shoot with Kendra Lee, a model I first shot some three or four years ago. We've not managed to shoot since, but thought she'd be great for a recent shoot I had planned. A small retro hotel type set had been built at a studio near where I live, and I wanted to take advantage of shooting there, before the set got taken down. Kendra would be ideal for what I had in mind, and thankfully, she was free to join the shoot.

The images on the set were all shot with ambient/available light, which was a mix of standard lightbulbs, and the modelling lights from the studio flash heads. I wanted a down-at-heel motel feel, and I'm pretty happy with the images we got.

This one was also shot with my Fuji X-100, rather than my usual D300s. The more I use the x-100, the more i'm enjoying it. I reckon this may well be the camera that I just carry with me most of the time from now on.

Lucy Fur and Rayna Terror

Lucy and Rayna


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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) If you’ve followed this blog with any regularity, you’ll doubtless know that I’ve photographed Lucy Fur a number of times. Between us, we’ve collaborated on a number of memorable shoots, and got some great images. Separately, and at Lucy’s suggestion, I’d been speaking to Rayna Terror for a good while trying to arrange a shoot.

Lucy is good friends with Rayna, and so after a few emails we decided that a collaborative shoot including the three of us would be great fun, and hopefully give us some great images.

For me, the opportunity to shoot with two such accomplished models was a very special opportunity, and I decided to go for a very special location. Consequently I booked one of the more interesting rooms at a very unusual and unique hotel in London, full of character and style, with some very distinctive rooms. Each of the rooms is more like a movie set than a hotel room, with distinctive styling, and wonderful ‘props’ (or, furniture as it’s usually know). The room we chose for the shoot-as happens quite a lot- was actually a lot smaller than we anticipated, and certainly smaller than it looked on the web site. Damned photographers and their wide angle lenses.

No matter, though, we all agreed the location was going to lend itself to some pretty impressive shots. Once we figured out where to hide all the suitcases and slightly less ‘photogenic’ bits of stuff in the room  (telephone under the bed, television in the bath. Really....) we realised we had a pretty interesting room.

It has to be said, though, that it was one of the hottest days of the year, and that’s in a year of some very hot days already. We opened the window as far as we could, and we had the tiny desk fan cranked up to eleven (I’m surprised it didn’t explode by the end of the shoot-we didn’t switch it off for a moment) and worked with the room door open to allow a little more space and cool air through-much to the surprise and interest of a couple of the other guests. We also used the landing as an impromptu wardrobe, and it was soon filled with suitcases, lingerie and bits of camera equipment.

Whilst the space was pretty small, the room was packed with some great nooks and crannies in which to shoot. Of course, the bed dominated the room, unfortunately, but a fabulous window, some very atmospheric decorating, and various other bits and bobs proved to provide a surprising amount of variety for such a small room. It was also going to be a problem setting up any elaborate lighting-I realised pretty quickly that softboxes were going to be unusable, so I was back to small strobe attachments, and natural light. Fortunately, particularly with the natural light, we managed to get some fabulous shots. The sunlight was pretty harsh, so getting a decent contrast without blowing the highlights was hard, but-for the most part-I think we got the balance about right.

We shot throughout the day, and concluded with a celebratory dinner compliments of Lucy and Rayna. I’ll repeat that, just so that other models can take note: ‘compliments of Lucy and Rayna’.

As for Lucy and Rayna, what can I say? It was a real privilege, and great fun, to collaborate with them on this shoot. They are of course both fantastic and super professional models, and the day actually flew by. I’m delighted with the variety of images I got, and look forward to the next opportunity to collaborate with both Lucy and Rayna. Hopefully on a cooler day and slightly bigger space next time though…

Li Zheng in Santa Monica

Li Zheng
Santa Monica 2013

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) I’m fortunate in that I get to travel to some very cool places with my day job. This occasionally offers me the opportunity to shoot in different locations, and do something a little different from my usual shoots. Whether it’s street photography in Tokyo,  or a beach shoot in Santa Monica,  it’s always great to have the opportunity to break out.

I’ve also been incredibly fortunate in the models I’ve managed to collaborate with along the way. When I took the (for me) giant leap of booking a model in Santa Monica two years ago,  I was extremely fortunate to select Trisha Lurie as my co-collaboratee (if that’s even a word). We got some fantastic shots, and they still take pride of place in my portfolio. Equally, shooting with my model friend Miu in Tokyo, which I’ve done a couple of times now, was equally productive. This year, I was again in Santa Monica with a weekend to spare, but with the minimal camera gear. I was to be out in LA for twelve days (most of it working stupidly hard, I can assure you) so there wasn’t much extra room in my luggage.  I decided-at the very last minute-to chuck a single strobe, a lighting stand, foldable softbox and my tiny Fuji x-100 (rather than my Nikon D300s and ridiculously heavy lenses) just in case I got my act together enough to post a casting to Model Mayhem.

Well, I did get my act together, and I’m grateful that I did. I posted a casting for a Santa Monica beach shoot, and as is ever the case with castings in LA, I got an amazing, if not overwhelming response.  Tons of responses, and some amazing models.  I eventually-and believe me, it was extremely hard to select-decided to offer the shoot to Li Zheng, who grew up in New York but who was now living over on the west coast.  Li was gracious enough to accept the shoot, so now it was just a case of waiting for Sunday, and hoping for the bbc promised (if it’s on the bbc, it must be true, right?...) good weather for Santa Monica on Sunday.

Sure enough, the good weather arrived, and after the sun had burned off the usual morning gloom, things were looking great. If anything, I was concerned that the sun was going to be a little too strong, but fortunately, that turned out not to be an issue for us.

The beaches were absolutely packed, of course, so I decided that kicking off the shoot underneath Santa Monica Pier was the way to go again. Underneath the Pier, there are a number of what I guess used to be rowing boats, turned vertically, and kind of buried a bit in the sand (look at the pictures-you’ll get what I mean…) which make a wonderful backdrop for images. And, as Li pointed out during this shoot, they also provide excellent protection from the winds which usually rip round the pier. It may be baking stupid hot out in the sunshine, but if you’re a bikini-clad model stuck in the shade underneath the pier, believe me, it’s not so warm. Fortunately, as well as providing great backdrops, the rowboats protect from the worst of it.

What was new this year is that the location appears to have been discovered by wedding/engagement photographers. In the past, I’ve pretty much had the place to myself, but this year, two other photographers showed up, each with a lovestruck couple in tow, to use exactly the same locations. There was practically a queue at one point to shoot against the two boats there. Still we managed just fine, fortunately, and we got all the shots we needed in the boats. One of the other photographers was good enough to show myself and Li the images he was shooting with his couple, and they were fantastic. He’d come up with an amazing way to light this particularly unique location, and it was one of those ‘punch myself in face’ moments for not thinking of the same lighting. He’d got some wonderful images, and I can’t imagine that his couple would be anything other than thrilled with the results. Certainly, remixing the lighting is something that I plan to do the very next time I get to shoot in Santa Monica. It’ll mean packing two strobes, and a few gels, but boy will it be worth it.

Anyway, back to this weekends shoot. Having shot with the strobe, and got some wonderful images, the sun was setting now, and there was an opportunity to get some natural light shots. I should point out that I’m not exactly super-familiar with my x-100 (something which I clearly need to address, given the super quality of the skin tones and just fabness of the images), but I managed to wrangle it into shooting decent images in natural light. Given the extreme lighting, setting the camera to auto didn’t seem to do the trick-the images were blown out at first-but a few test shots following best guesses for aperture/speed and we were all set, and I ended up getting some shots that I’m very happy with.

Next up, we took a short break, and ended our shoot with the sun now set, the sky getting a little overcast, but one more swimsuit which Li wanted to feature, as she’d not shot in that particular one before. For these images, it was back to artificial lighting, and shooting quickly-it’s pretty cold right by the sea once the sun has gone down-but this spurred us on to capture some of the best images, before calling it a day.

Shooting with Li was a great experience. She’s a very accomplished and capable model, and given the amount of time we shot together, I’ve ended up with an embarrassment of riches, as far as images go. Again, some absolutely fantastic images which doubtless be prominent in my portfolio for a good while to come.


At the time of writing I’ve edited and posted around 10 of the images, and had a fantastic reaction to them, from friends and ‘fans’ both. I’m looking forward to my next trip out to Los Angeles, and the opportunity to shoot with Li again.

And, this wonderful shoot also served as valuable reminder that the dinky little x100 left in my office for months on end is a waste, and I really need to be taking it out more, and learning how to use it properly.

Lucy Fur-Clumsily does it...

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) This shoot was the fourth collaboration between myself and Lucy, and all things considered, it has to be one of the most ill-fated in terms of actually getting going. We’d planned to shoot at Woolhouse Studios in High Barnet, with me travelling from North London, Lucy from out of town. We soon discovered, though, that the weather, and the tubes, trains and buses of London were determined to do their best to stop us shooting. We eventually got to the studio an hour or so late, by way of bus, train, tube and taxi, but not before passing each other on different trains, me heading south, Lucy heading north, and lots of phone calls and texts. The highlight was probably me leaning out of the taxi window yelling “Lucy! Lucy” to the rain sodden Miss Fur dragging her case sullenly along the pavement in High Barnet as we finally managed to be in the same place at the same time.

And, even once we were at Woolhouse, the fun didn’t stop. Two trips to the shops for batteries and supplies were required before we’d even set up the first shot, and throughout the shoot, it’s fair to say that an inordinate amount of clumsiness was on show. I could’ve been stuck in a lift with Sivester Stallone and Jason Statham and told them how crap The Expendables was, and still come away with fewer bruises, I reckon.

Fortunately though, and as ever when I collaborate with Lucy, we’ve come away with some great shots that I’m particularly proud of. Our starting point for this shoot was Hollywood glamour, and Hollywood noir, two themes that I continue to return to. Unfortunately for me, it’s getting to the stage where I want to go the whole hog, and purchase a couple of decent fresnel lamps, Arri’s or Lupo’s, but that’s going to have to wait a while, I suspect... I reckon some dodgy Chinese import fresnels might have to do to start with, until I get the proper hang of it. Anyway, back to the rainy Saturday with Lucy, and our strobist shoot at Woolhouse. We took our inspiration from Hollywood portraits, and movie/publicity stills of the forties. Certainly, we weren’t slavish in copying, but as noted, taken these images as our starting point.

I’ve also been noodling with Aperture adjustments of late, as well, and am pretty happy with the post-production on these images as well. Originally, my intention was to only produce mono images from the shoot, but a good number of the colour finishes I’m very happy with, as well, so I’ve included those here as well. They kind of have a Douglas Sirk feel, in a way, but definitely ‘kind of’. Anyway, hope you like. Lucy and I are both super happy with the results, for sure.

Leila Shennib

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Blimey. This shoot was such a long time ago. Still, better late than never, I guess. The images here are from a shoot I did with US model Leila Shannib, on Santa Monica beach, in Summer 2012. This was quite a last minute thing, and I have to say, considering how actually very cold the day was, we got some pretty reasonable shots. We probably shot for around ninety minutes in total, and Leila was a trooper, considering the not fantastic weather. Certainly, I came away with enough shots to make me happy with the day.

Concert Photography

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery)Very occasionally-*very* occasionally, I pick up my camera and point it at someone who’s not a model. It’s extremely rare that it’s some*thing*-photographing landscapes, buildings, trees, valleys, misty waterfalls on three second exposures is not for me-but sometimes it’s someone who’s not a model. In the last few years, this has primarily been concerts. The two occasions of late-that is, in the last four years-that I’ve done this have been at the Cambridge Festival, where I’ve fought my way to the front to see these two particular acts, both of whom I’m a big fan-Richard Hawley, first of all, and the Raghu Dixit Project.
I’ve been a fan of Richard Hawley for many years now, having been introduced to his music by a friend. If you don’t know him, you can check him out here. He’s got a very cool rockabilly style, and seems to have come to prominence of late in various ways, not least on the soundtrack to the Banksy documentary, Exit through the Gift Shop. Raghu Dixit I discovered through Later with Jools Holland, where he performed an absolutely beautiful song, and you can see that spellbinding performance here. Since seeing this, I’ve seen the Raghu Dixit Project in concert several times in the UK, and during the Cambridge Folk Festival, was lucky enough to meet him, and the band, and have a good chat with them, both before and after their gig.
Anyway, here’s a selection of images from those two gigs.

Kae Kae Qi

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) I shot with Kae Kae just before Christmas last year, but being more than somewhat busy since the shoot, it's only just now that I've started to work my way through them, and make some headway. In some ways, this isn't surprising-I got so many great images, it's going to take more than a little while to finish editing all my favourites. It took me long enough to determine which images were my favourites, for a start...

I found Kae Kae via a casting I posted on Modelmayhem. As ever with ModelMayhem, the response to my casting was fantastic. I had interest from a lot of very accomplished and excellent models, and it was as difficult to determine who to follow up with. Of course, a model expressing an interest in collaborating is as simple as them typing 'interested' in response to the casting, so I shouldn’t be getting big headed about the response to the casting, of course, but even so, it’s very flattering.

Now, a bit about castings, and how I seem to end up making a casting just days before a shoot goes ahead. I have this habit of booking studio time, and sometimes a make up artist, a month or so in advance, and usually before I've secured my model for the shoot. As the shoot grows closer, it's inevitable that the day job gets heavier and heavier, and all the plans I had to do an early casting, get proper mood boards sorted and so on, go out the window. So, usually, with just a day or two to go, I'm in a mad scramble, making a posting, and rushing to get a shoot in place.Sometimes it doesn't come together, and sometimes it does. This time, it most certainly did.  
Indeed, along with Kae Kae, I've also collaborated with another of the models who responded to the posting, and am planning on working with a third. 

Anyway, back to this shoot. Kae Kae was a new model to me, and had some great, and varied, images on her portfolio. She's recently moved to the UK from Australia, and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to work with her over here. 

As noted, there wasn't much time to plan for the kind of images we wanted to get from the shoot. I threw together a mood board of images inasmuch as I could in the day or two we had, and we went from there. Kae Kae's comms were great before the shoot, and we had a great shoot on the day, and I’d most certainly recommend any photographer to work with her if there’s a chance to do so. More images will follow in the next few weeks.

Ianthe Rose Cochrane-Stack

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) A very short blog this time. I had the opportunity to join a shoot with Ianthe Rose last week. It was a very last minute thing, but I'm not one to pass up the opportunity to shoot a model like Ianthe. Ianthe is a fabulous model, and great in front of the camera.

I came away with a load of great images, and narrowing it down to the fifteen or sixteen or so I wanted to do post production on was difficult. To be honest though, the selection took more time than the post-production. The images needed hardly any real attention, with most of the changes being tweaks to the image composition, rather than any fixes needed. Ianthe is definitely a model I’d really look forward to photographing again.

Darcy Troy

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be asked by a new model if I'll shoot with them. That model might only have one or two shoots, or even one or two images posted. Sometimes, though, I'll see something that makes me think... yes-this could be a productive shoot. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't. This was one of the occasions where it worked out magnificently.

That said, it's fair to say this was The Shoot That Almost Didn’t Happen. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did…

To start with, a text from the studio first thing in the morning to say that we were going to have to cancel the shoot. Something super urgent had come up, and it was going to have to be done that evening, so the studio would be closed. Frantic texts followed, and fortunately, within a couple of hours, we were back in track. The studio had rearranged stuff, drafted in helpers, and the shoot was back on. Hurrah!

And then the make up artist fell down stairs.

Yup, a text in the afternoon from my planned MUA to say that she had fallen downstairs, and was on her way to casualty. By now, I was beginning to think the shoot was jinxed. With a model who'd travelled up from Devon the night before, enduring five hours of trains each way just to attend this shoot, cancelling wasn't really an option. Fortunately, a quick text to the studio, and Adrian had a make up artist sorted within an hour. And, a fabulous make up artist and hair doer upper at that-the wonderful Carla Levy. Hurrah! What else could possibly go wrong?

Okay…. how about, the model arrives, but her friend accompanying her is in excruciating stomach pain, and is in tears. Darcy is also visibly distressed, and surely the only thing to do is to head straight to casualty. No, say's Darcys friend-just carry on, I'll be fine in a short while. Through clenched teeth and sobs. This seemed to be up there with the
Black Knight from The Holy Grail claiming 'tis but a flesh wound', as far as inappropriate self-diagnosis goes, but she's pretty insistent that Darcy gets on with the shoot, and refuses to budge on this, claiming she'll join us in the studio shortly.

So, we head to the studio with a somewhat distracted Darcy, and start to prepare for the shoot. Fortunately, about half an hour later, Darcy's friend came into the studio visibly restored, and seemingly none the worse for her experience. From there onwards, finally, things started to take shape. We had a limited time to work in, so got straight into the shoot. Fortunately, it was a lot less eventful from this point onwards. The aim of the shoot was to give Darcy a range of images across different genres, and considering the hoops we had to jump through to get the shoot up and running, I think we've achieved pretty well with the images here.

Akasha Asylum

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) A nanoblog to get some images from a recent shoot with Akasha Asylum, an alternative model from London, online. This was our second shoot, the first being a fairly casual saturday afternoon in the park shoot, in which we got some good images. We got some great ones in the second shoot though, including a happy accident when I was using the surface blur on Photoshop. i wasn't planning on using it so extensively in the images-I was planning to just blur the floor to ensure the focus was on Akasha, but when I saw the result, I decided to keep most of the surface blur.

Toots and Booty

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) The fabulously named Toots and Booty approached me to do a shoot for their lingerie blog recently. Two friends who found that they have a love for classic lingerie in common, they’ve been blogging about it for quite some time now. This shoot, though, was to put images and faces to the names on the blog. Naturally, the shoot was to be lingerie focussed.

I’ve photographed Booty, or Chloe to give her her proper name, a couple of times before, and got some great images on those shoots. For Toots, though, this would be her first time in front of the camera. I needn’t have worried though-she soon settled into the shoot, and was pretty much a natural.

Rather than a studio setting, I thought that this one would work best in a more natural environment, somewhere that would give more warmth, and a slightly more intimate feeling, that you’d get from a studio setting. This provided me with the perfect opportunity to try Woolhouse Studios in North London. Emma Jane, who runs the studio, is an old friend, so the shoot also provided a chance for a catchup as well.

After some confusion around meeting up (who knew High Barnet Station had two exits. Certainly not the knuckle headed staff on duty that day, it seems...), we eventually got to the studio just a little bit late, and got on with the shoot. The location provided us with a number of good ‘sets’ and and I’m sure I’ll be returning there again soon. Not least, to collect the light stand I left behind, but hey ho…

As for Toots and Booty, well, don’t know about the girls, but I couldn’t have been happier with the shots I got on the day. We photographed a number of different outfits, making full use of the location, and came away with some fabulous images. And, considering it was Toots first time as a model, she did a fantastic job. Indeed, I’m hoping there will be an opportunity to shoot with her again some time very soon.

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey
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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery)
Or, playing about with the shutter, if you like. This blog post is my first in a while, and first of all, my apologies for that. Unfortunately, the day job has been intense of late, and keeping me super busy. I’ve actually been shooting, but just not had the time to keep up with writing about the shoots. Hopefully, I can rectify that in the next few weeks.

Before writing about the individual shoots, though, I thought it would be good do to a short post about a shooting style I’ve been experimenting with for quite a while. I first tried this in the mid eighties, before putting my camera down for two decades, and enjoyed shooting in this style all that time ago. I’ve experimented with this style a few times since, with varying degrees of success, but feel like I’m learning something new each time I do so. As an aside, I’ve recently purchased a ringlight which I think will remove a lot of the hit and miss aspect of this kind of shooting for me, so I’m looking forward to playing with that at some point soon. In the meantime though, a little bit about this technique.

First off, though, the confessional bit. I’m not exactly au fait with all the technical aspects of this. I’ve heard it referred to as front synch or rear synch, depending on if you trigger the flash as the shot starts, or as the shot finishes, as dragging the shutter, and various other things as well. Bottom line is, you leave the shutter open for longer than the usual 1/125
th of a second, which will change your shot in a number of ways. Depending on what you want to achieve, though, the results can make for some great, atmospheric, and unusual images.

First of all, there’ll be some blur in the shot. The flash will freeze an image, but by leaving the shutter open, if your subject is moving, you’ll get motion blur in the image. This can add a real sense of drama, and of course of movement, to your image, while the flash frozen image will still give the image a central, coherent point.

Secondly, it will let in more light. Obviously, even if you’re only opening the shutter up for 1/50
th, or 1/20th of a second, there will still be more light. What kind of light will depend on where you are, and needs to be balanced against the image you want. Shooting in the middle of Summer outdoors (well, maybe not in England right now) will result in a bleached out image, for example. Indoors, though, if it’s a studio, you can manage very carefully what ‘kind’ of light gets in after/before the flash, as with the fierce image of Kayt Webster-Brown. If I recall correctly-it was 18 months ago-the flash was gelled with red, and the warmth beyond the red was the result of leaving the shutter open, and letting the ambient light in.
The photographs of Ella-Mae, though, were taken in a nightclub that we’d borrowed for the shoot. We were able to leave the flashing lights around the dancefloor on, and even got to mess around with the glitter ball thing. The photographs of Anita DeBauch were taken in a rather splendid hotel room, where the bedside lamps gave a very warm flight, and added some real warmth to the images. Finally, the images of Miu were taken on the streets of Tokyo, and the mono one-they don’t all have to be colour, for sure-was taken in the back of a cab on our way back to the train station.

And thirdly, you can mess around with moving the camera as well-the motion blur doesn’t have to be just in the subject. One of the pictures of Miu was taken whilst twisting the camera around as the shot was taken. Equally-although this isn’t something I’ve given any time to as yet-you can zoom the lens after the flash has fired, for a different effect again.

I still reckon this is an area that’s absolutely super-ripe for exploration, and I suspect that I’ve only just begun to get a sense of what can be achieved with this kind of photography. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what I’ve got to date in this style.








Kayleigh Lush in Spain Part Four: Mono Mesh

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery)

Despite the shoot being in October last year-six months ago-I'm still mining the treasure trove of great images from my shoot with Kayleigh Lush in Spain. Whilst we were only there a couple of days, pretty much, and we didn't exactly shoot for eighteen hours a day or anything, we did still manage to get a lot of stuff done. I've also managed to get published a couple of times with images from our shoot, which has been great, but as noted, I'm still not finished editing the pictures.

This is a small selection of images from our final afternoon, before heading back to the airport. We took advantage of some great sunshine to grab our last shots in the grounds of the venue. For the images here, we found a nice plain white plaster wall, and set about some shots which I'd already decided were going to be black and white images. As it is, I'm very happy that several of them work as colour images as well, although one of the mono ones is a favourite right now.

As I say, only a small selection of images, but doubtless there'll be more to follow.

Sophia St Villier: De Lempicka

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery)

Sophia St. Villier is a model and burlesque performer that I'd wished to photograph for a very long time. If you've ready many of these blogs, I'm sure you'll find the 'wanted to photograph for a long time' theme prevalent. I guess this isn't so surprising-I'm sure that like me, many other photographers have a list of people they'd wish to collaborate with as long as Claudia Schiffer's legs. And, given that I have to fit my photography around a time consuming job-i'm not complaining, as the job pays for my photographic escapades-the list of potential collaborators continues to grow faster than the opportunity to shoot.

Anyway, I digress. Sophia. Sophia is a fabulous model with an already exceptional portfolio of images, wonderful red hair, and an amazing look. And as noted, a portfolio already filled with some exceptional and diverse images. Whilst wishing to collaborate with her, I wanted to be sure that I'd be able to ensure images that would add something to both our portfolios. Whilst looking through Sophias portfolio, I was particularly struck by one image, which to me had the feeling of a Tamara De Lempicka painting. De Lempicka was a painter who's work is best described, I'd guess, as art deco in style. Whilst you may not know her name, you'll doubtless be familiar with her work, but if not, check out this site.

Taking this one step further, I thought it would be great to do a shoot with Sophia, based primarily on the 1920’s era De Lempicka portraits. So, I proposed the theme to Sophia, and she was happy to collaborate on this. Putting together the mood board of images by De Lempicka was essential, and It allowed us to draw out key elements of the 20's De Lempicka portraits that would lend themselves to a photographic shoot. Strong lines, satiny materials, strong contrasts, and so on… 

We'd be limited to a studio shoot for this one, but fortunately, one feature of De Lempickas portraits is that they are usually a very tight crop, with just enough of the surrounding room to give atmosphere, and presence to the image. And, whilst it would have been wonderful to get out into some fabulous oak panelled room with period art-deco style furniture, we would have doubtless been hunting for weeks to find a location. So, we settled for the studio, and using whatever we could get our hands on. Of course, the intention was not to slavishly copy the portraits, but to take inspiration from them, allow them to inform our shoot. All things considered, I think we did okay. Sophia showed up with some fabulous dresses and fabrics, and I for my part brought along an epically sized red satiny thing, and flowers, all of which ended up getting used in the images. All in all, I'm very happy with what we were able to come away with.

Of course, given that the images were to have a 'painterly' feel to them, the post-production work would be different from usual. I wanted the images to have the sense of a painting, but without the heavy handed 'filter' approach, where a third party filter would be whacked over the image to give a very quick and dirty, but ultimately thoughtlessly processed image. So, I set about experimenting. I'm sure there are photoshop gods out there who could do a way better job, but actually, I'm very satisfied with what we got. 

We also, in the final fifteen or twenty minutes or so, photographed a short sequence of burlesque performance images. Whilst Sophia has any number of fantastic performance images, it was something I wanted to try out, and again, we came away with some great images, which I'm certainly very happy to have in my portfolio. 

Joceline Brooke-Hamitlon: Part One

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(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery)

I was fortunate enough to have my first collaboration with Joceline Brooke-Hamilton late last Summer. Another model I'd aspired to work with for a very long time, Normally Joceline would priced well beyond my usual shoot budget, and not surprising, really. She's a truly remarkable model, with a massive and well earned reputation. I was fortunate enough to take advantage of a late cancellation, and managed to get four hours with Joceline lined up.

The only snag was that this was at Jocelines local studio, down near Reading, which meant I had to plan the journey- two trains from London, and then a hefty taxi ride at the other end. And, a new studio. Obviously, most shoots have two basic elements: model, and location. If it's possible, I like to be familiar with one, or the other. If you already have a rapport with your model, but it's a new location, then fine. Equally, if I'm shooting a model, but in an environment that I'm comfortable and confident in, then that's fine too. But, new model and new location/studio, not my favourite. Did that once to arrive at a studio, only to be told that they didn't actually have their own wireless (or wired) lighting triggers, and thought I would be bringing my own.
What?

Combine this with a model who I've admired for the longest time, a model that I was sure that I'd want to work with again, very little preparation time, and not surprisingly, I was a little apprehensive.

I needn't have worried, however. Within seconds of finally arriving, Joceline came bounding up to introduce herself, and immediately put me at my ease. Very sociable and great company, there were quite a few moments where we actually stopped shooting, and chatted for a few minutes. I had to keep reminding myself that we were on the clock, and I had a limited time with this fantastic model.

We shot an absolute ton of stuff, the very great majority of which is great-Joceline really is exceptional, But, as with most shoots where I get an embarrassment of riches, it's taking me no little time to get to narrow down the images, and master them up. (in a manner, this is why I often prefer tf shoots to paid shoots. The obligation to master and forward images within the agreed timescale is a sure fire way to get me to actually do the editing work in a timely manner. Still, this was an opportunity to shoot with Joceline...). I'll post more images from our shoot over the coming weeks, but to get things started, I've started off with a selection of the nude studies from our collaboration.