Monthly Archives: October 2017

photographer of dress showing movement

Commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale

Commercial fashion shoot for Trendhood Royale

The creative team

We did this photo shoot in my studio in Kingston upon Thames. The creative team were; Yollanda Musa (model), Caroline from C Walé (hair and make up) and myself as the photographer. The dress was designed and made by Trendhood Royale.

We got through a lot on this shoot, and this post is just about the dress. This is a dress which Yollanda wore to one of the numerous award ceremonies that she keeps getting invited to.

Trendhood Royale – dress designer

Trendhood Royale is a new business that is starting to make a name for itself. I have copied this text from their facebook page;

“We are poised to delivering exceptional contemporary pieces to women looking to brighten up their wardrobes with vibrant colors, unique patterns and styles. Trendhood Royale fuses design,quality and utility in every of our pieces while celebrating african prints and western unique fabrics.TR pieces are timeless and classic which guarantees a perfect thing to wear and will last for years to come. We promise u ” an image to remember” always”.

The dress in these images was designed specifically for Yollanda’s first ever beauty pageant, Miss Pride of Africa UK, for the evening gown segment. The design was inspired by Disney princess gowns, because they didn’t want to go for a more typical pageant gown.

Yollanda Musa – model

Yollanda is “small but perfectly formed”. I have worked with Yollanda on a number of occasions now, and I have lost count of how many awards she has won (and been nominated for) in the few years that I have known her. She has enormous energy and seems to be everywhere. She is definitely one of the most professional models I have had the pleasure of working with.

C Walé hair and make up

Caroline from C Walé does hair to an exceptionally high standard, as you can see in my photo of Yollanda’s hair.

How to photograph the dress?

My aim was to show how the dress looks in movement, because the way it hangs and moves is very striking in real life. I decided to do this by freezing movement, and also by blurring the movement.

These images were shot in my photo studio against a red background, using (mainly) studio flash;

Freezing the image

Freezing the image is very straightforward for this speed of movement. I asked Yollanda to swirl the dress around, and it’s movement was frozen by the studio flash. I do not know the duration of these flashes, but they are a lot shorter than the time the shutter is open. So the dress is frozen in movement.

The key light was a reasonably large soft box with grid in front of her (camera left). The fairly subtle rim light was provided by a tall think softbox with grid behind her (camera right).

Each photo is different, and it is difficult to “position” the dress precisely. It is hit and miss, So it is just a matter of taking photos until you are sure you have captured what you want.

Blurring the dress

Any photograph that is captured using flash is effectively a superposition of two exposures. One is the exposure captured with however much ambient light is present, and the other is the exposure due to the flash.

So if a photographer wants a moving dress to appear blurred, he has to use a relatively slow shutter speed, and have sufficient ambient light on the moving part of the dress. I achieved this using an LED light panel that was aimed primarily downwards towards the bottom of Yollanda’s dress. The intensity of light given off is adjustable, and it has “barn doors” to help limit the spread of light. So by brining the light close to Yollanda, pointing it downwards, and using the barn doors, I was able to keep most of it’s light off Yollanda’s head. Some light was spilling onto Yollanda at head height, but I decided it was not enough to interfere with the effect I wished to create.

In addition to the LED light panel, I directed an additional flash, fitted with a beauty dish, towards Yollanda’s head. The trick is to balance the light intensity of both light sources. This can be done by trial and error, but it is much easier if the photographer uses a light meter to measure how much light is being given off. The photographer can adjust both lights to give the same amount of light , or different amounts of light if that is called for. Bear in mind that the amount of ambient light depends on the shutter speed, and you don’t need to worry about the shutter speed when measuring the intensity of light from the flash (because the burst of flash light is much shorter than the length of exposure).

So if you have a light meter, it is very straightforward balancing your light sources.

Another important thing to consider is the colour temperature of the two light sources. These should match reasonably well, unless you want them to be different for artistic reasons.

Would you like to hire me for commercial photography?

Go have a look at my contact page 🙂

commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up artist C Walé

F8, 1/200, iso 200

commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up artist C Walé

F8, 1/5, iso 200 (different lighting to the preceeding image)

commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up artist C Walé commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up artist C Walé commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up artist C Walé commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up artist C Walé commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up artist C Walé commercial fashion shoot with Trendhood Royale, model Yollanda Musa, make up and hair by C Walé

 

 

 

flour photo shoot, dance photography

Flour photo shoot and dance photography

Combining dance with flour and smoke

When to use flour or smoke in a photo shoot?

Flour makes a terrible mess, and I don’t use it in my studio for this reason. These photos were taken in my garden out back.

Smoke doesn’t make any mess, but it doesn’t have as strong a relationship with the dancer as flour does. Smoke seems “passive” while flour appears to be more dynamic. Both are somewhat unpredictable and difficult to control.

Smoke is more susceptible to the vicissitudes of the wind than flour.

Michelle Chaxs

Michelle is a self-taught dancer, and she was able to pull off leap after leap, as we tried to get “the perfect shot”. There is a lot of “luck” inolved in getting pleasing images, when one is working under such tight constraints. I mean limited space, wind, and not knowing exactly where the smoke or flour are going to go! It is a challenge.

Photography methods

I used three flash units to light Michelle.

Two were tall thin softboxes with grids, placed on either side of the model, and slightly behind her as viewed from the camera. These were to light Michelle’s body with rim lighting, from head to toe, even when she was leaping. They also functioned to light the flour and smoke from behind, which is a lot more dramatic than lighting it from the same side as the camera.

The third light was a beauty dish which was positioned to shine a flattering light on Michelle’s face. I had to get this up high, and it was on a boom arm, almost above Michelle’s head.

Booking me for your own flour photo shoot (or dance photography)

A flour photo shoot is like a standard photo shoot, except I charge an extra £20 to cover all the cleaning up I have to do after! There is no extra charge if you want smoke, or dance photography. Visit this page for details about my standard photo shoot.

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model experience photo shoot with an equestian theme

“Equine beauty” photo shoot

What is an “equine beauty” photo shoot?

An “equine beauty” photo shoot is a “model experience” photo shoot with a horse.

There isn’t really an accepted convention for what to call these photo shoots. One could call it a “model experience” photo shoot, or a “glamour shoot with a horse”. But I tend to call them “equine beauty” photo shoots. There is a risk people will think it is the horse that is meant to be beautiful. But of course all horses are beautiful!

But whatever you call this type of photo shoot, the aims are always as follows;

  1. To capture the young lady looking good
  2. To show the relationship between the young lady and her horse
  3. To show the horse looking good
  4. To do all this safely

The photos in this blog post were taken at the stables where the horse lives, in Sussex.

Equine photography

Equine photography needs special skills. Some photographers become specialists who only do equine photography. Many of these photographers are horse riders themselves, so they are immersed in the subject, and understand exactly what the client is likely to desire in the postures of their horses.

It is necessary to understand the conventions that govern whether the horse “looks good”. For example, it is considered very important that the horse’s ears are directed forwards, as in all the photos shown here. This often causes problems, because horses are “prey animals” and their ears are constantly reacting to noises that come to them from all directions. One can try making unexpected noises in order to attract the attention of the horse’s ears, but it seems most horses rapidly acclimatise to new sounds. Furthermore, there is always a risk that a nervous horse will be upset by unusual sounds.

Showing the relationship between the horse and “model”

Usually, but not always, the “model” will be the person who owns the horse. And because of the investment of time and money involved, and the importance of capturing good images, I always recommend hiring a professional make up artist for this kind of photo shoot.

Speaking in general, photographs that “tell a story” work well. One of the aims of this type of equine photography is to show the relationship that exists between the horse and (usually) it’s owner.

Many people who own and ride horses have photographs, but it is relatively unusual to get “glammed up” in order to have photographs taken of you with your horse! So this type of photo shoot becomes a special experience as well.

So we want the owner to be “glammed up” according to what they feel comfortable with, we want to capture the relationship between the owner and the horse, we want the horse to “look good”, and we want to do it all safely.

Health and safety

There are also significant health and safety concerns, because horses are very heavy and immensely stong animals. They can quite easily break the bones in your foot if they step on it for example. So one has to be careful. It is also wise for a photographer to check that his professional public liability insurance covers him to photograph horses.

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Photography methods

The two photographs of the model against the sky were lit using battery powered studio flash. Actually I used the trusty Ilux Summit 600, which happens to be the type of unit I own.

All the other photographs were taken using only natural light.

Incidentally, some horses are totally happy with flash, but others are not happy. Horses vary a great deal in their personalities. Some horses are much more nervous than others, and even the appearance of a lighting modifier sitting atop a tall stand will spook some horese.

Personally I prefer to shoot horses using natural light. So it is important to position your subjects so the light upon them is flattering.

Would you like to hire me for a professional photos shoot?