Darcy Troy

Darcy1-404
(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.

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey
EllaMae1 148
(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.








Iveta Niklova, at Harwood House, 2011


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

Whilst I'm sorting images from my latest shoots, I thought it'd be good to do a couple of wibbly wobbly timey wimey blogs, going back into the not too distant past to cover some of my favourite shoots.

I can't remember exactly the circumstances which led to me collaborating with Iveta Niklova on this shoot from Summer 2011. I suspect it was more chance than anything else, but such good fortune on my part, for certain.

The images were taken on a small informal 'communal hire' shoot. Often called group shoots, but most definitely not a traditional group shoot. Effectively, a group of photographers hiring a venue usually far beyond the price of the individual photographers, but enough clubbing together gets you the venue. So it was with Harwood House. I'd been invited, I'd paid my share… and for whatever reason didn't get round to sorting out a model until *much* too late.

No change there, then.

Anyway, I posted on the Mayhem boards with my budget for the day, and was beyond delighted when Iveta said that she was interested. The casting was taken down about five seconds after I read the mail from Iveta-no point at all in looking for anyone else, I was sorted. Iveta will probably not need much of an introduction to most of you. She's a wonderful model, and an absolute joy to work with.

Anyway, we met in Coventry, made our way to Harwood House, arriving a little later than most, and finding a good number of the best shooting spots already bagged. No matter, we'd doubtless be able to get to them later. Instead, we started out in one of the main rooms, with deep red walls. Setting the lights up to ensure a lot of drop off, thus taking the reds even deeper, we set to work. Iveta rattled through poses like there was no tomorrow, and we came away with some great images. The pattern continued throughout the day, in various rooms, but probably some of the most interesting shots were grabbed on the main staircase. So many favourite images from this shoot, and one I'm sure I could continue to mine for images for weeks and months to come. Indeed, a couple of the images here are 'new', in that I've only just edited them. One, the solitary nude image from the shoot, is one I've loved for a while, but the radiator actually annoyed me-it kind of spoiled the image for me. I recall Iveta liked this one on the back of the camera, and now, a year or so on, I've got over the hate of the radiator, so here it is for the first time anywhere.

Anyway, a totally wonderful shoot. I've not shot with Iveta since, but really look forward to the opportunity to do so. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Morgana, photographed in London



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

Whilst I"m not usually a fan of studio based group shoots for various reasons, and tend to not to attend too many, occasionally there will be something which persuades me to join one. The neon shoot last July was one such, and the opportunity to get a few shots with Morgana was enough to persuade me to join a recent 'MeetUp' shoot in North London.

The promo for the event described Morgana as 'the alternative legend Morgana', and that sums things up pretty well. If you're not familiar with Morgana's work, a quick google of Model Morgana will fix that, and make it pretty clear why I'd be happy to put aside my indifference to group shoots, and sign up for this one. Additionally, I'd already exchanged emails with Morgana, having used one of her corsets in a previous shoot, when shooting her good friend Lucy Fur, so not least, this was also a good chance to meet her properly.

Of course, one of the reasons I'm not usually enamoured of group shoots is that in order to keep things running smoothly, the lighting setups need be functional, and, in order to keep six photographers happy, pretty much suited to all. So, broadly speaking, you will end up with a setup that's comparatively straightforward. No harm there-most of my lighting setups are usually one light, two max, with very occasional straying into the rock'n'roill bleeding edge dizzy heights territory of three lights. I'm that crazy, me. Anyway, my point is, simple lighting does not automatically equal bad lighting, but I do like it to be my own lighting, rather than someone else's. If someone else has set up the lights, and told you the aperture/speed for the shot, I find it difficult to feel that it's 'my' photo. Anyway, I managed to end up being the last of the photographers to shoot for each of the lighting setups, which meant that I could actually experiment a bit with the lights, and change them round a bit.

For two sets, I didn't change anything, but for one set, I thought there was potential for something a little more dramatic in changing the lighting. The light was originally set up with a big octobox, with the model far enough away from the white background to drop it out to grey. But, nothing dramatic. Adrian Jones, one of the other photographers had brought along some pretty impressive antlers for his own image, and was gracious enough to let me use them for a couple of shots. Very gracious-I know that as a photographer, having sourced a prop, and set everything up for the image *I* want, to have someone then go 'cool-I'll do that too!' is more than a little galling. So, hat's off to Jonesey, for being so genuinely generous in letting me steal his antlers for a couple of shots. Anyway, first thing I did was take the ambient lights down to leave just the light from the proper lamp, and take the soft box off it, so that we'd get much more direct light, and stronger, much more dramatic shadows. This resulted in a couple of images from the session that I can definitely call my own.

But, this does highlight the good side of group shoots-meeting other photographers, and seeing how they interact with the models, and how *they* get the best out of the situation. It's always interesting to see other photographers work, and there's always something you'll learn from seeing this interaction. After this shoot, for example, I know that I'll be taking much more of an interest next time I'm anywhere near an antiques place, or second hand junk shop-as I've realised now, you never know when something might show up that may well make an image some way down the road.

So anyway, Morgana. Blimey. I have to say, out of the images I got, I could pretty much have picked a dozen or so at random, and been very happy to post them. She's an amazing model, and I'm looking forward to collaborating with Morgana again just as soon as I have the opportunity, but this time having much more control over the setup, and full control over the concept of the shoot. In the meantime, click on the image above to be taken to the gallery of images from the first shoot, and check out the iPad wallpaper, featuring Morgana,
right here.





Elle Jonas in London

ElleJonas2-499
(Click on the Image to be taken to the shoot gallery) I photographed Elle in a somewhat last minute fashion almost a year ago. We go some good images-not least, it was pretty much my first attempt at shooting high key art-nude-but as it was such a last minute thing, we didn't have much time to do any planning. If I'm honest, this time wasn't so much better, but at least we scrambled together a dozen or so photographs for a very short mood board, to at least give us some pointers as to where we would go. Additionally, on arrival at the studio, we found some huge letters which had been discarded by one of the other units near to the studio, and were just stood waiting to be binned.


So we nicked 'em. Obviously. Be rude not to.

kayleigh
Unsurprisingly, the shoot went in a different direction to the mood board. This isn't unusual for me. Rather than slavishly copying the mood board, I like to take it as inspiration, and see where the shoot takes us. I've had some great results in taking this approach, and this shoot was certainly no exception. This shoot gave the perfect example of this.

Elle was particularly inspired by an earlier image of mine. A nude, except for a pair of ballet style boots, and which I've included here. Elle wanted to get something similar. Ish. There's no point in trying to reproduce the earlier image-that was a single, spontaneous moment in a shoot a long time ago, as the model was attempting to carefully stand in the incredibly awkward boots (and forget about walking anywhere…) to prepare for the 'proper' shot.
ElleJonas2-630 - Version 2


It served as great inspiration, though, and I'm equally happy with the shot which came out of my collaboration with Elle. Still a (mostly) nude, still boots, but not anonymous, very powerful eye contact, very different lighting and finishing, and a highlight shot from the sitting.

In the post production, on a lot of the images I went for slightly heavier processing, to get a different light and tone to the images. I wanted something cooler (temperature wise) , stiller and more 'fashiony' (that's a word, right?… yes???) . I also finished up a number of the images in mono, and that again gives several of the images a slightly different feel…

Anyway, in the overall, a shoot that I'm very happy with. You'll find a selection of the images in the gallery which you'll get to by clicking on the image at the head of this blog. And there’s an iPad wallpaper from the shoot
here.