Monthly Archives: September 2016

Ian Trayner, Clarissa Holder, athletic photo shoot

Model portfolio photo shoot

Clarissa Holder is an agency-signed model, and she wanted to expand her portfolio. So I set up a model portfolio photo shoot for her.

What makes a good model portfolio?

A model portfolio should show variety, while remaining within the type of work the model wishes to do. The images should be of the highest standard possible. Our perception of how good a model is will be influenced by the quality of the images in her portfolio. And the quality of these images will depend on the skills of the photographer, and the creative team.

The creative team for this photo shoot

In my opinion, the quality of a creative team is crucially important if you want to create great images.  For this shoot, in addition to the photographer and the model, Donna Harris was the make up artist, and Evelyn Tolu (aka MissGoodliving) was the stylist.

Our remit

Our aim was to show the the beauty of the model’s face and body in a tasteful and artistic way. Although Clarissa has a very athletic body, we decided not to go all out to show that. This is because our aim was to create images that are useful for Clarissa’s portfolio, so we decided to take less specialized images. Of course it is impossible not to notice Clarissa’s athleticism, but it comes across more subtly – almost as a side product of the images.

In the time we had available, we set ourselves the following remit;

  1. To use a pale background to create simple images that show off Clarissa’s figure (ie “high key” photography)
  2. To use a dark background and coloured lights for something more unusual (ie “low key” photography)
  3. To take some classic beauty portraits
  4. To edit all the photos for colour and monochrome (black and white). This adds to variety and gives “more bang for your buck”. Of course the effects of the coloured lights are not visible in the monochrome images shown here (I may post them at a later date).

Donna gave Clarissa one “look” for the first two parts of the shoot, and she gave her a new make up look for the beauty shots.

Some images from the photo shoot

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Photography methods

Notice how my lighting has been designed to show the beauty of Clarissa’s face throughout.

An observant person may have noticed, looking at the image of Clarissa holding the hockey stick across her shoulders, that while she is brightest on the left side of the image, the background is brightest on the right side of the image. The effect of this is that she is brighter than the background on the left, and darker than the background on the right. Most people would not consciously notice this, although the effect adds something to the image at a subconscious level.

Would you like your own model portfolio photo shoot?

I enjoy bringing my creative fashion photography skills to the general public. Would you like your own model portfolio photo shoot? You do not have to be a model – everyone has the right to enjoy some creative photography. Imagine showing them to your granchildren one day; “Wow gran, you were really hot!”?

Or… maybe you know someone who would love to receive a creative “model portfolio photo shoot” as a gift? It is not just the experience, they will have the images “in perpetuity”. Photo shoots make excellent and unusual gifts.

“Beauty lighting”

For the penultimate image I wanted (1) beautiful lighting on Clarissa’s face, (2) a blurred but textured background, (3) a relatively shallow depth of field so that only her face is sharply in focus, and (4) a very soft light coming from behind and to the side. The purpose of this last light was to softly and subtely show the very beautiful lines of Clarissa’s cheek, jaw, neck, clavicle and shoulder.

For the final image, I wanted (1) beautiful lighting on Clarissa’s face, (2) a shallow depth of field to focus the viewer’s attention on Clarissa’s facial features, especially her eyes, and (3) I wanted to create a continuous dark curve down one side of Clarissa’s face and body, on the far side from the main light. For you to see this clearly I will have to show you the whole image (from which the image above has been cropped). To create this dark line all I had to do was prevent light from hitting her on this side. Just off camera to the right there is a black surface which blocks light coming from the right, and minimises the amount of light, coming from other directions, that is reflected back on to the model.

Please send me an e-mail if you would like to see coloured versions of these photos. You can find my e-mail address on the main part of my website.

model portfolio photo shoot, fashion photo shoot, fitness model, Clarissa Holder, Ian Trayner

The creative team for this model portfolio photo shoot

Model: Clarissa Holder, signed to ModelsPlus model agency
Make up: Donna Harris
Stylist: Evelyn Tolu (aka MissGoodlving)

The ladies will probably kill me for choosing this image to publish! But I think it shows what fun we had.

Donna Harris, Clarissa Holder, Evelyn Tolu, model portfolio photoshoot

 

Rihanna-inspired photo shoot, part 2

Fashion photo shoot inspired by Rihanna

This photo shoot was inspired by a character that Rihanna plays in the film “Battleship“. She plays a small and very feminine “weapons officer”, who is totally at home in a very macho environment. Our “macho environment” is a large warehouse/factory that was originally used for building submarines! Although it is no longer used for that purpose.

Selected images from the photo shoot

I already shared some photos from the first part of this shoot (although I have just added some “behind the scenes” shots taken by Martin Brown to that post). Now I am sharing a few action shots, plus one more portrait of Yollanda’s face. This is because I want to show the quality of Viya La Belle’s make up.

When factory catches fire, Yollanda has to act, and act fast.

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Photography methods

In order to capture a sense of movement as Yollanda runs, I “dragged the shutter” and panned the camera to create the linearly blurred background. But I also wanted to see Yollanda clearly, so I added some rear sync flash, to freeze her action in the final instant of the exposure.

So, the resulting images of Yollanda running are in effect two images captured in the same exposure, and superimposed on each other. One is a slow exposure using ambient light, and the other is a frozen moment as the flash fires.

Acknowledgements

Model: Yollanda Musa
Make up: Viya La Belle
Photographer’s assistant: Martin Brown

Behind the scenes photos by Martin Brown

These “behind the scenes” photos were taken by Martin Brown, and I am very grateful to him for allowing me to share them with you.

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Ian Trayner, fashion shoot, release the Kraken

Fashion photo shoot “release the Kraken”

I want to share some images I captured at a recent fashion photo shoot. The shoot was organised by PortraitX, and it involved something like 4 make up artists, 12 models and 16 photographers!

Fashion photo shoot on the south coast

As you can see in my photos, we were blessed with good weather. It was a beautiful warm day, and the sky was a superb deep blue with variable cloud cover. Sometimes there were “very expressive” whispy clouds, which added to the images. A healthy wind was blowing, which was very pleasant because it was a hot day. However the wind played merry jingo with the models’ hair!

It was a superb day for me, and I came away with a healthy set of images. I will probably share more of them in future blog posts.

Selected photographs

One of my main aims was to capture an image of a mermaid being dragged from the sea in a net. The lovely Caitlin Barnes-Davis was the mermaid, and she was caught by “The God of the Sea”, played by Marcus Godfrey.

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Photography methods:

Fashion photo shoots organised by PortraitX are always an opportunity, and a challenge. A huge amount of organisation goes into these shoots, but once on location, it is up to the photographers to think on their feet. We may have some ideas up our sleeves, but we have to adapt to local conditions to put them into practice.

Using only natural light:

My photos of Marcus and Akasha (the Kraken) were taken using only natural light, and you can see how I used the sunlight to my advantage. Even in a beautiful setting like this, I believe the direction and quality of the light is the most important factor to consider. I used a polarising filter to increase colour saturation in general, and of the sky in particular. I also added a bit of “clarity” in post production to make the clouds stand out more.

Supplementing natural light with flash:

I added a touch of flash to the portraits of Caitlin and Isabella sitting on the rocks.  The sun is coming at them from behind, over their left shoulders, and I wanted to bring more light into their faces. But I also wanted to retain a fairly natural look, so I used a soft box, and I adjusted the brightness to give a gentle and natural effect.

I used a much “harder” flash, with a small reflector dish, to throw extra light on Caitlin when she was struggling in the fishing net. This is because she is the main feature in those photos, and I wanted to draw the eyes to Caitlin. As always, the direction of the light is critical. I also used Marcus’s arm and the line of the net to help draw the eye to the stricken mermaid. The sea and the distant rocks provide lines that draw the eye towards Caitlin, but I did have to be careful that the horizon didn’t go through her face any higher than it is.

In the close up photo of Caitlin struggling in the fishing net, I lengthened her canine teeth in post production. I also overlaid scales from a rainbow trout on her skin. It seems a shame to transform this beauty into a scaly demon-like creature, but “so it goes”!

Acknowledgements:

People who contributed to this set of images from this fashion photo shoot are;

Caitlin Barnes-Davis is our beautiful mermaid. Her make up was done by Samantha Beck. And the mermaid costume was made and supplied by Lunas Creations.

I have included a “behind the scenes” photo of Caitlin with Isabella Aurora Branco, who was cast as a baby mermaid. Isabella’s make up was done by Bryanna Angel Allen.

Akasha Asylum is the Kraken. The Kraken costume designed and made by Lunas Creations.

Marcus Godfrey is the “God of the Sea”.
His extremely impressive make up (or should that be “special effects”) were done by Katie Johnson.

Ian Trayner, high key portrait photography

The enduring appeal of high key portrait photography

What is high key portrait photography?

The expression “high key photography” is actually ambiguous. It can mean that the entire photo has a bright, pale look. Or it can mean that the photo uses a pale background, or a bright white backround. It is the latter meaning that I am using here.

Why choose high key portrait photography?

  • Having a plain background helps emphasise the subject, because there is nothing else to distract the eye
  • High key photography is unlikely to “date”, even if the clothes in the picture do!
  • In general, hIgh key photos are “bright” and “cheerful”
  • You need a reasonably skilled photographer to take a good high key portrait. Most high key portraits will have been taken in a professional studio

Tech photo stuff

Why aren’t there any strong shadows on the background? Because the background is lit seperately from the subject, and will probably be lit a bit brighter.

If the light falling on the background is a lot brighter than the light falling on the subject, the background can itself become I light source. A photographer may, or may not, desire this effect. The amount of light that is thrown forward onto the  subject also depends on the distance between the subject and the background. There are lighting tutorials on the web if you want to learn how to do high key portrait photography.

How is it possible to show white clothes against a white background? Because the photographer has used precisely the correct exposure for the clothes. Most fabrics have an uneven texture that gives you variations in brightness. If the amount of light falling on the background is more than that landing on the clothes, the clothes will be slightly pale grey overall. However the eye will still perceive them to be white, because the mind “knows” they are white. Most photographers will use a light meter to measure how much light there is, and adjust it to suit.

Are there different “styles” of high key photography?

Yes indeed. This is a subject I may explore in a future blog post. But for now I will just say that I usually use a main light (falling on the subject) that is stronger than my fill light (falling on my subject). This allows me to use shadows to help show the three dimensional shape of the face.

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Rihanna, photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, Viya La Belle, Ian Trayner, fashion shoot

“Rihanna-inspired photo shoot”

Rihanna-inspired photo shoot

Recently I had the pleasure of working on two fashion photo shoots with Yollanda Musa. This was really good luck for me, because not only is Yollanda an excellent model, but she was perfect for a “Rihanna-inspired photo shoot” that I have been planning.

The aim was to shoot a petite, pretty, and very feminine young lady, totally “holding her own” in a macho environment. The location we used for the shoot was a factory/warehouse. Although the factory is very busy during the week, parts of it are very dirty and have a semi-derelict appearance. This made it a perfect location for our photo shoot.

Yollanda’s character was inpired by a role that Rihanna plays in a film called “Battleship“, in which the US Navy defeats alien invaders. Rihanna plays a weapons expert who is… petite, pretty, and very feminine. But she totally holds her own with the “big boys” in an extremely macho environment. Later in the shoot we have smoke and action!

Make up by Viya La Belle

Yollanda asked an excellent make up artist, Viya La Belle, if she wanted to work with us on our Rihanna-inspired photo shoot. And she did an excellent job. In due course I will upload more posts from this photo shoot, but In this first post I have included a “behind the scenes” photo of Viya La Belle making some adjustments to the make up. Please note that Yollanda is standing on a wooden palette in this photo, and that makes Viya look shorter than she is! In all fairness I should make it clear that Viya span most of her make up magic in a much nicer, cleaner, and more comfortable place!

I have also posted two close ups that show the quality of Viya’s make up.

Photography methods

In due course I will be uploading more posts about this photo shoot, which went extremely well. Later we used smoke and action! But in the meantime please enjoy these images.

I was using a mix of Nikon speedlights, and portable battery powered studio flash (made by Ilux). I triggered the flash heads using wireless radio transmitters. Lighting modifiers were mainly softboxes and small reflector dishes (approx 21cm diameter). The cool blue backgrounds were acheived by setting the camera to “tungsten white balance” and putting coloured gels over the flash heads, to make the light they emitted appear “white” to the camera.

Rihanna-inspired photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, Ian Trayner

Rihanna-inspired photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, Ian Trayner

Viya La Belle fine tuning her make up

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Acknowledgements

Model: Yollanda Musa (she is wearing her own clothes)
Make up: Viya La Belle
Assistants: Martin Brown and Steve Brown

Behind the scenes

These “behind the scenes” photos were taken by Martin Brown, and I am very grateful to him for allowing me to share them with you.

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