Category Archives: Commercial fashion photo shoot

Commercial swimwear photo shoot

Commercial swimwear photo shoot

Swimwear photo shoot – Afrokini bikini

Our model for this swimwear photo shoot is the beautiful black model Yollanda Musa. She is wearing the “Gugu” style bikini made by swimwear brand “Afrokini“. Afrokini uses African-inspired colours and designs in it’s swimsuits. Hence it was very appropriate to use a black model for this swimwear photo shoot. I have worked with Yollanda Musa several times, and we have a very good professional working relationship.

Make up colour coordination

Make up was by Chesmi Rodrigo. We decided to coordinate the colour of Yollanda’s make up with the mauve colour on her bikini.Make up by Chesmi Rodrigo, photography by Ian Trayner in Kingston, model is Yollanda Musa

Bikini photo shoot for catalogue and promotion

This swimwear photo shoot was done in my studio in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey. The aim was to start by taking fairly “standard” catalogue photographs of a beautiful black model wearing the bikini. And once we had these photos “in the bag”, to capture some more dramatic photographs for promotional purposes.

Shooting a black model in a bikini against a “white” background

I wanted to start by taking fairly standard catalogue style photos against a white background.  However Afrokini already has photos of a model wearing this bikini against a bright white background, and I did not want to repeat those. Therefore, although I used a plain white background in my studio, it appears darker because I did not shine light directly on it. When you use a white background in a photo studio, the degree of darkening is readily controlled by how much light you shine on it in the studio. The darkness of the white background can also be adjusted later in post production, ie on the computer using Photoshop. As a matter of fact I have increased the vignetting in the first photograph below in Photoshop.Beautiful black model Yollanda Musa wearing bikini "Gugu" from Afrokini. Commercial swimwear photo shoot. Photograph by Ian Trayner in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

How to use light to flatter the female body

I wanted to light my model in a way that is flattering to her body. Yollanda Musa is blessed with a very beautiful body (and face), and I wanted to really show her off. This is something I would naturally do with any client (commercial or private) who hires me for a beauty photo shoot, or a model experience photo shoot.

One of my specialities is lighting the human form to make it look good.

Notice how I have emphasised the beauty of Yollanda’s body by creating highlights and shadows that show her natural three dimensional shape.

Lighting with studio flash

For these first “black model in a bikini” photos (against the white background) I used two studio flash units;

The main (key) light was provided by a gridded soft box to the left of Yollanda (as you look at her) and slightly above her head height. I wanted the light source to be slightly higher than Yollanda’s head, but I also wanted it to shine into her eyes. As a general rule, you want a model’s eyes to be well lit for beauty photography.  Yollanda’s eyes are clearly visible, with a bright highlight. Notice how the highlights and shadows from this key light flatter Yollanda’s body. The soft box was relatively small, and was fitted with a grid. Thus the light is relatively directional. This also avoids excessive spill of light onto the white background.

The second light was a studio flash fitted with a tall gridded soft box. It was positioned behind Yollanda and to the right (as you look at the model). Notice how this helps to further enhance the “three dimensional quality” of Yollanda’s body. It gives a subtle silky sheen to her skin where it reflects off. In the photo above it also provides a slim rim light on her elbow that helps to separate Yollanda’s body from the background.

High heels help with the model’s posture

High heeled shoes are usually flattering – I think we all know this. But it isn’t just at the level of the feet – high heels change the overall posture, weight distribution, and muscular tension in  ways that are flattering. (I am not recommending high heels for any other purpose!)

But we don’t want the shoes to distract the eye away from the clothes

In the full length photo below, notice how Yollanda’s high heels do not distract the eye from the more important parts of the photo. In fact Yollanda’s shoes are almost invisible. From the point of view of the designer, the most important parts of the photo are those that show the clothes. In this case the model’s bikini.

If Yollanda’s shoes were black they would attract the eye (because of the extra contrast against the pale background). If her shoes were white they would look OK against a pale background, but they might be distracting to the eye if we had selected a dark background.

There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” about this. It is a matter of what is appropriate. But overall,  transparent high heels are “a good thing” from the point of view of photographic safety, and versatility.

Beautiful black model Yollanda Musa wearing bikini "Gugu" from Afrokini. Commercial swimwear photo shoot. Photograph by Ian Trayner in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

 

The power of dramatic lighting in a bikini photo shoot

Once we had a set of “safe” catalogue shots of our bikini in the bag, we wanted to capture some images that were a bit more dramatic for our swimwear photo shoot.

I decided to create images with a relatively high contrast, using dramatic rear lighting and strong colours. I decided to use “cold” blue and green coloured lights with a pale wig to give an “ice” effect. And I decided to use red lights and a black wig for a “fire” effect.

“Fire and ice” bikini images

“Ice” bikini photos

The key light on Yollanda is provided by a 21 inch beauty dish fitted with a grid. This is one of my favourite lighting modifiers. The key light is white, so as not to change the colours of the bikini – at least the top part.

Yollanda is lit from behind using three speedlights. Two are firing through blue gels, and one is firing through a green gel. I love what the coloured lights do to Yollanda’s hair against the black background, and I love the blue and green rim lights on her body. These help show off the curves of her profile. I have written about using coloured gels with flash photography in a previous blog post.

Beautiful black model Yollanda Musa wearing bikini "Gugu" from Afrokini. Commercial swimwear photo shoot. Photograph by Ian Trayner in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

 

Adding coloured mist to our bikini photos

I wanted to add more drama to our swimear photo shoot. I did this by using a water spray to catch and diffuse the coloured lights behind Yollanda.

This is very easy to do. All you need is a cheap spray bottle (such as you use for misting plants) and a means of co-ordinating the spray with firing the camera. I used a remote trigger to fire my camera, and sprayed the spray myself. But you can use an assistant to do the spray if you have one (and don’t have a remote camera trigger). Obviously you need a tripod or other stable support for your camera if the photographer has to do the spraying himself (or herself).

It is important to make sure you don’t spray your lights! If you are short of space you can put clear plastic bags over your flash units.

The water spray settles quite quickly with gravity, so you need to coordinate the spraying and shooting. You will find every shot is different from the one before, and you can play around for a while capturing images that are slightly different from each other. You will find some work much better than others.

If you go on for a while you can end up with a bottle worth of water on the studio floor too (I have a plastic paddling pool I use for catching the water).

Beautiful black model Yollanda Musa wearing bikini "Gugu" from Afrokini. Commercial swimwear photo shoot. Photograph by Ian Trayner in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

Beautiful black model Yollanda Musa wearing bikini "Gugu" from Afrokini. Commercial swimwear photo shoot. Photograph by Ian Trayner in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

“Fire” bikini photos

To photograph Yollanda “on fire” I used red gels on the speedlights behind her. These give the curves of her body a lovely red rim light. I added the flames on the computer in post production.

Beautiful black model Yollanda Musa wearing bikini "Gugu" from Afrokini. Commercial swimwear photo shoot. Photograph by Ian Trayner in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

Accreditation for this swimwear photo shoot

Model: Yollanda Musa (she has a website coming soon I am told)
Make up: Chesmi Rodrigo
Swimsuit: Afrokini (On the website is says their swimwear is “waterproof”. I guess that is true, but it made me chuckle).

Rosemary Lloyd: photo shoot for magazine cover

Photo shoot of Rosemary Lloyd for magazine cover

Fashion photo shoot of Rosemary Lloyd

I was asked to set up a fashion photo shoot to take photographs of Rosemary Lloyd for the cover of “World Class Queens of England Magazine“. Rosemary is the magazine’s first UK embassador. We did the photo shoot in my studio in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

Who is Rosemary Lloyd?

I’m afraid that is too big a question to answer in my simple blog. She is more than just an internationally known model. She has won more accolades than I can list here. If you are interested you can read an interview with Rosemary in the September 2018 issue of “World Class Queens of England Magazine“.

Sigrun created a dress based on the union flag

The styling ideas for this photo shoot came primarily from Rosemary Lloyd herself. She wanted to use a very patriotic theme based on the union flag. Specifically, she  wanted to portray the character “Britannia”. Rosemary asked  Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir to design a bespoke dress that included the colours of the union flag. Sigrun also made the union flag shield.

Who is “Britannia”?

According to Wikipedia the word “Britannia” was used from 43 AD to mean “Roman Britain”. In the 2nd century, Roman Britannia “came to be personified as a goddess, armed with a trident and shield and wearing a Corinthian helmet”.  This figure has appeared on many British coins over the years, and has been perceived to be a symbol of of “British maritime power and unity” (the words of Wikipedia again). I associate Britannia with the old British penny that was in circulation prior to decimalisation, but I discovered she is also featured on some variations of the modern 50p piece. I think it is fair to day Britannia is a fairly familiar figure to most people who have grown up in the UK. But I suspect most other people won’t have noticed her before.

While I was “researching” this information I realised how little I notice what is actually on our coins. They are so very familiar and recognisable, but could I tell you what they actually look like? I don’t think so.Rosemary Lloyd as "Britannia" photographed by Ian Trayner | dress designed by Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir

 

Additional styling for the photo shoot

We replaced the Corinthian helmet with a tiara from Swarovski. This was supplied by the magazine’s editor for our photo shoot. It is far more befitting to Rosemary Lloyd’s title of “World Class Beauty Queen of England” than a Corinthian helmet.

But what about the trident? The obvious way to find a trident would be to buy one online. However as far as I can remember, I don’t think I had prior notice that Rosemary would be posing as Britannia. I think the first I knew about it was when Rosemary unpacked her costume.

So what to do? One option would be to ignore the trident. But then I had a moment of inspiration. I fetched a garden fork from the garage. All that was required was to reduce the number of tangs from four to three in post production. What would we photographers do without Photoshop (or equivalent)? I liked using the fork because it is obviously real metal in the photographs, and not a plastic prop.Rosemary Lloyd as "Britannia" photographed by Ian Trayner | dress designed by Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir

World Class Queens of Europe Magazine

For the magazine World Class Queens of England Magazine we got not only the cover, but an additional eight pages in the magazine. The editor liked the photos so much that he also put Rosemary Lloyd on the cover of the sister magazine, World Class Queens of Europe Magazine.

Rosemary Lloyd as "Britannia" photographed by Ian Trayner | dress designed by Forever Devine | tiara by Swarovski

Rosemary Lloyd as "Britannia" photographed by Ian Trayner | dress designed by Forever Devine | tiara by Swarovski  Rosemary Lloyd as "Britannia" photographed by Ian Trayner | dress designed by Forever Devine | tiara by Swarovski Rosemary Lloyd as "Britannia" photographed by Ian Trayner | dress designed by Forever Devine | tiara by Swarovski

The creative team for this photo shoot

The photo shoot was done in my studio in Kingston upon Thames. After Rosemary asked me to do the photography I had a good look at the style of images that appear in previous issues of the “World Class Beauty Queens” family of magazines. I needed to adapt my lighting to be consistent with their brand. I found the best solution was to use a beauty dish fitted with a “shower cap” diffuser as the key light.

The theme of “Britannia” was from Rosemary Lloyd herself.

The union flag dress and shield were designed and created by Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir.

The navy blue dress was designed by Forever Devine.

Hair and make up were by Cindy Purezka.

The tiara was from Swarovski, and the sash was supplied by the editor of World Class Queens of England Magazine. I am told the crystals on the sash are also from Swarovski.

bridal gown photo shoot Shamali

Commercial bridal gown photo shoot

Bridal gown photo shoot for Shamali

Shamali wanted a “wow” image to show off a bridal gown from her new collection, and she commissioned me to create it.

Shamali is an exclusive range of high quality bridal gowns to suit every shape and personality. The collections are all designed exclusively by Shamali and hand finished in England”.

Commercial photography

Although I am primarily a family portrait photographer, I also do some fashion and commercial work. I have had the privilge of photographing Shamali’s bridal gowns for a number of years. This summer (2018) Shamali asked me to create a single “wow image” for promotional purposes. She also wanted me to take some additional bridal gown images for her website and catalogue.

Photographing bridal gowns in a relatively confined space

Shamali decided we would do the photo shoot in her shop. This is very convenient because all her bridal gowns are already there, as well as other props. Of course I have to bring my lights and photography equipment! However the space is relatively confined as far as photography studios go. You can Google “Daisy’s Bridal Couture” and have a look at the front of the shop in Google’s streetview to see what I mean.

I always enjoy visiting Shamali’s shop because of the calm atmosphere, and the warmth and friendliness of Shamali and her staff.

The first challenge – creating the set

My first challenge was to design a photography set that looked elegant, and was suitable for photographing bridal gowns. You can see the set I came up with, but I shall keep how I made it a trade secret!

The second challenge – “going the distance”

In order to photograph a model full length without distorting her body, it is necessary to place the camera at some distance from the model and use a long lens.  The model will then appear to have normal proportions. In contrast, if the photograph is taken close to the model using a wide angle lens, we may find we are looking up at the face of the model, and down at the top of her feet, with her legs foreshortened. This is not at all flattering. The resulting images exaggerate the size of the torso, and “shrinks” the model’s legs. So for fashion photography usually one wants to get a good distance away from the model and use a relatively long lens. For a full frame (35mm) chip camera, lenses with a focal lenth of 100m or longer would be good.

And that brings me to my second challenge – how to get far enough away from the model? The solution was to place the camera on the pavement outside the shop and shoot through the doorway.

The creative team

Shamali provided the bridal gowns, shoes and hair jewellery. She also provided the “studio space” in the form of her shop, Daisy’s Bridal Couture.

The model for this photo shoot was Olivia Dunn.

Kirsty Cox did Olivia’s hair and make up. I have worked with Kirsty a number of times, and I can recommend her professionalism, and the quality of her work. I have included a couple of head shots to show the quality of her work.

commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox

commercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Coxcommercial bridal gown photos shoot for Shamali, hair and make up by Kirsty Cox

How did I light the “wow” bridal gown image?

I used two lights.

The main light is from a white 55cm beauty dish, fitted with a grid, from Viewfinder.

The rim light caressing Olivia from behind was provided by a tall slim softbox. But a similar effect could have been attained using a variety of lighting modifiers.

The studio set is all white. The background is white, and the columns are white. Areas appear dark because there is little light shining on them. This is an important principle; control of shadows and control of light are two sides of the same coin – and equally important as each other. That is my (allegedly humble) opinion!

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

 

 

 

commercial fashion photo shoot in Kingston upon Thames

Commercial fashion photo shoot in Kingston

Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs

Mimi Florence Designs is run by a gifted mother of three beautiful kids. She loves to crochet and make jewellery. Each item is custom made for the client. We set up a commercial fashion photo shoot to provide high quality images for her.

Personally I would describe designs from Mimi Florence as “extremely flattering for ladies who have lots of self confidence”. I mean particularly women who feel good about their bodies.

But look at my images from the photo shoot, and judge for yourself.

Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner

 

 

Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian TraynerCommercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner

Commercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian TraynerCommercial fashion photo shoot for Mimi Florence Designs, photography by Ian Trayner

Technical info about setting up this commercial fashion photo shoot

Shooting high key in the studio

For the high key shots I used pretty standard high key lighting. I used two flash heads for lighting the white background, one on each side. These were each fitted with a tall slim softboxes. For the key light I used a 1m deep octaganol softbox with grid. I angled the key light with care so that it gave (a) flattering directional light on the models and (b) a good spread of light on the ground at their feet.

Yollanda’s hair obliged me to move the key light to the “less convenient” side of my studio, that is to say the right hand side, looking at the model from the camera. This side is less convenient solely because of the shape of my studio, and there is less room for putting lights on the right than on the left. If I had not done this, I would have been struggling with a shadow on Yollanda’s face from her hair (because her hair has a parting on her left, which is the right as you look at her from the camera).

Shooting outdoors using natural light

When we went outdoors I used only natural light. The location is the garden at the back of my photo studio in Kingston upon Thames. If you look at the very last photo, Michelle’s eyes are looking more or less in the direction of the sun, which was already quite low in the sky. Michelle is the model with slightly wavy hair, who is wearing the pink top. The models were sitting in dappled shade under a tree. Because sometimes the sun threw displeasing bright patches of light on the models, I had an assistant (actually it was Venus, the make up artist) hold up a semi-translucent screen between the sun and the models.

Also, because I needed more light coming onto the models from camera left, I had another assistant hold up a large white reflective screen (by large, I mean something like 6 feet by 4 feet). This threw just the right amount of light back onto the models faces. This combination gave a very pleasing natural light effect. Unless you were an experienced photographer, you probably wouldn’t notice that the ambient light had been “modified”.

The creative team behind this photo shoot

Photographer: Ian Trayner
Models: Yollanda Musa and Michelle Chaxs
Make up: Venus (search instagram for @_makeupby_vee_)
Designer: Mimi Florence Designs