Category Archives: Fashion photo shoot

photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019

Photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom

Rosemary Lloyd is Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019

Rosemary Lloyd is already “Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019”. But she jetted off to the USA to compete in the “Miss Pure International” pageant.

Rosemary won 8 awards at the “Miss Pure International” pageant!

Rosemary Lloyd has just returned from the United States where she was competing in the “Miss Pure International 2019” pageant, where she won a total of 8 awards;

  1. Miss Congeniality
  2. Academic winner
  3. Print model
  4. Crowned to serve Essay
  5. Be the impact project
  6. Creative writing
  7. Artwork
  8. International Queen 2nd runner up

Knowing Rosemary some of these awards didn’t surprise me. For example “Miss Congeniality”. You can get a good taste of Rosemary’s nature if you watch the video clips she posts on her facebook page.

I was more surprised by the “Crowned to serve” essay, because I happen to know that Rosemary is dyslexic. When I asked Rosemary about this I made a new discovery – Rosemary is a published poet!

I don’t want to write a lot about Rosemary here. Anyone who is interested can easily find interviews with Rosemary Lloyd on the internet.

Rosemary Lloyd’s photo shoot

Rosemary needed some photos for the Miss Pure pageant. I took these photos in my studio last February (2019) but they have been under embargo until recently.Photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019 Photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019 Photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019 Photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019 Photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019 Photo shoot for Rosemary Lloyd, Miss Pure United Kingdom 2019

The creative team on this photo shoot

Rosemary Lloyd did her own make up.

The designer is Forever Devine.

Photography model Yollanda Musa is interviewed by photographer Ian Trayner

Model Yollanda Musa interviewed by Ian Trayner

Yollanda Musa talks candidly about modelling

This post includes a candid interview with photography model Yollanda Musa (at the bottom there is a link to download Yollanda’s “app” which includes a link to a special model portfolio offer from myself).

As a photographer I work with many models

As a professional photographer I deliberately keep my work varied. Most of my work is family photography (ie families, children, maternity, babies and dogs) but I also do commercial photography and some fashion photography.

In the course of my work I meet quite a few models. I don’t think it is possible to generalise about models, but I am somewhat fascinated with what motivates people to become models.  I prefer to be less visible, so I would find being a model very challenging indeed.

I want to do a series of occasional interviews with models who are happy to talk to us. That is to say models who are willing to give us an insight into what their work involves. I am very pleased to say that Yollanda Musa is the first model who has agreed to be interviewed for Circle of Life Photography.

Yollanda Musa is one of my favourite photography models

We all have “favourite people”, and Yollanda Musa is one of mine. We have collaborated on a number of photo shoots. Yollanda is very beautiful (with the caveat that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder) but she is also honest, caring and modest, and she has a very professional work ethic. A successful model’s personality and nature really are just as important (in my opinion) as what they look like.

“Pandora’s Box” photo shoot

I first met Yollanda Musa on a photo shoot organised by Samantha at PortraitX.  Samantha asked me to do an interpretation of the theme “Pandora’s Box”, and the resulting images were published in Secret Eden Magazine. You can read a blog post about the Pandora’s Box photo shoot elsewhere in my blog.

Model Yollanda Musa is interviewed by photographer Ian Trayner

I saw Yollanda’s potential immediately and I invited her to model for me on a photo shoot that was inspired by the film “Battleship” – or more specifically her role was inspired by the character in the film played by Rihanna. Since then Yollanda Musa and I have worked together on a number of photo shoots.

Interview with Yollanda Musa

Yollanda, thank you very much for agreeing to talk to us. My first question is why did you become a model?

My initial interest in modelling came from watching America’s Next Top Model.  This is a reality TV series that gives you an insight into the models personalities, as the models are filmed behind the scenes and in the models house. The models on the show are hard-working, and determined “go getters” just like me. So this really inspired me.

A key moment for me was when the models were asked to face challenges such as cutting their hair. The models’ passion to succeed meant they were willing to take on this challenge.

I have always loved taking on a challenge. For example at school I struggled with maths, so to challenge myself I chose to study an Economics degree, knowing very well that I would have to complete modules with advanced maths. The thought of tackling this challenge excited me and my greatest achievement was attaining a 2:1 degree in Economics.

After graduating in 2014, I decided to also take on the challenge of pursuing a modelling career despite doubts I had about being “too short” and not standing out in a saturated industry.

I was inspired to apply for a UK modelling reality series called Born to Model UK which was similar to America’s Next Top Model and this was one my first proper modelling experience. I was the shortest model on this series and I reached the top 5. I am really proud of this achievement and this was the start of my journey as a petite model.

How has modelling influenced your self confidence, your self esteem, and anything else relevant?

My journey as a model has been about facing challenges and with this my confidence has grown. Public speaking is something I used to hate. I used to hate delivering presentations at university or even answering questions in class. I participated in my first beauty pageant in 2015 and delivered a speech on empowering women through education and enterprise. I really surprised myself by going up on stage and delivering this speech with confidence. My friends and family could not believe this was shy Yolly on stage!

I have also gone on to model swimwear. I decided to do this because I lacked confidence in my body shape growing up. My first experience modelling swimwear was at the Miss Pride of Africa UK beauty pageant in 2015. I did a lot of research to find the right swimwear to match my bodyshape. This was really important as choosing the right swimwear meant I felt comfortable and looked confident on stage.

Do you enjoy doing the modelling? What are the things you like most and dislike most? (your answer may address different kinds of modelling)

I enjoy fitness shoots the most as I have always been passionate about sport and keeping fit.

I did a Battleship movie-inspired shoot with a fitness theme with photographer Ian Trayner. [Ian writes; Yollanda’s role in the photo shoot was inspired by a character played by Rihanna in the film – young, small, feminine and tough. I split this shoot into two blogs posts which you can find here and here] This was my first fitness themed shoot. The results from this shoot were amazing and really highlighted that I was well suited to do fitness shoots. The images really showed off my toned body and I received such positive feedback from people saying I was in great shape and should model for brands like Nike or Adidas. I realised that the modelling industry is actually quite diverse and I found a category of modelling that is well suited for my body shape.

Model Yollanda Musa is interviewed by photographer Ian Trayner

 

 

Model Yollanda Musa is interviewed by photographer Ian TraynerMy least favourite thing about modelling is the long waiting hours. In particular at fashion shows where sometimes you arrive at 10am for a show starting at 7pm. Makeup and rehearsals take up the most part of the day. I have learnt to use this time effectively by using this time to network and take behind-the-scenes material for social media.

Model Yollanda Musa photographed by Ian Trayner, photographer in Kingston upon Thames

Can you give us a list of awards and things you have won please?

I was nominated for Petite Model of the Year and Hardworking Star of the Year at DC Hotshots Awards.

I was nominated for Social Media Influencer of the Year at The Black Awards 2018.

I won Miss Hertfordshire 2017 Sports Award.

I won a Woman of Purpose Award in 2017.

I won the Miss Pride of Africa UK 2015 Southern Region Princess title.

I was a finalist in Top Model UK 2016 (Commercial Category).

Why do you enter these pageants etc?

My reasons for entering a pageant are different for each pageant as pageants usually have a mission statement unique to each pageant. I am often motivated to apply for a pageant based on how passionate I am about the mission statement.

Miss Swimsuit UK’s mission statement is to “Be Confident, Be Fun and Be You.” This motivated me to apply as the swimwear pageant encourages women to be confident in being themselves.

[Yollanda has her own blog, Diary of a 5 foot 2 Model where you can read more about her entry into Miss Swimsuit UK, 2019]

I understand that your original sponsor for Miss Swimsuit UK fell through for some reason, and that is why I stepped in at the last minute to sponsor you. I know that some people regard all beauty pageants, and swimsuit competitions in particular, to be degrading to women. But obviously many women want to participate, and presumably do not feel degraded by the process. I would welcome your thoughts on this?

I have never entered a swimwear competition before so this is a new experience for me. So many model castings have requirements for models of a particular height or size which restricts models from entering if they don’t meet those requirements. Miss Swimsuit UK welcomes women of all shapes and sizes as there are no restrictions on height, weight or body type. I find this empowering rather than degrading.

I would like to say a special thank you to my sponsor for this event Ian Trayner. Not only did Ian sponsor me; but we actually had a discussion prior to me submitting my application where Ian gave his expert opinion on my potential as a model and this motivated me to apply. It also helps when I review the swimwear images for the Afrokini swimwear shoot that I did with Ian which were amazing. I believe a strong portfolio has been a key accelerator in my progress.

Miss Swimsuit UK semi-finalist Yollanda Musa, photographed by Ian Trayner

What are your plans for the future? I mean in modelling, but you can expand to include life in general if you want. And how can someone contact you? 

I have a background in business development where I have developed marketing, networking and client management skills and used these skills to develop my modelling career. My goal is to set up a platform to connect business owners in the creative industry and support them with developing these essential business skills.

The best way to contact me is via email yollandamusa@outlook.com.

My website is coming soon so keep an eye on www.yollandamusa.com.

Please do also follow @YollandaMusa on Instagram , Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Linked In.

And subscribe to my blog to follow my journey as a model Diary of a 5ft 2 Model.

I have experience in marketing and business development so I collaborate with individuals and brands who are looking for promotion, or looking to be connected with other professionals in the industry.

I also provide mentoring for upcoming models. Specifically I have mentored a few models participating in beauty pageants or modelling competitions. [Ian has put together a special photography offer for aspiring models who need some high quality images for their portfolios – see the link to Yollanda Musa’s app below].

I also do hosting, backstage interviews and behind the scenes social media videos such as Instagram, Facebook live and snapchat for events. Get in touch yollandamusa@outlook.com if you need that added feature at your events.

Yollanda, thank you very much for talking to us. I am sure many people will find your experiences very interesting. Personally I am very impressed by the way you are willing to take on things that are difficult!

Download Yollanda Musa’s custom app with a special photography offer!

Ian and Yollanda have brought out “Yollanda Musa’s model app“. You can view it online or you can download it to your phone. Currently the app has;

  1. More photos of Yollanda Musa
  2. Yollanda Musa’s contact information
  3. A link to Yollanda Musa’s blog
  4. A link to a very special photography offer for aspiring models who want high quality images for their portfolios. This is an offer from Ian Trayner at Circle of Life Photography, based in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

The first time you open the app on a mobile phone you should be asked if you want to install the app, or just view it online. If you install the app it should update every time you open it (if you are connected to the web). I believe different types of phones handle the code slightly differently from each other.

Model Yollanda Musa is interviewed by photographer Ian Trayner

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!

Rosemary Lloyd in Kingston upon Thames, themed photo shoot

Photo Shoot with Rosemary Lloyd

 “Singing in the Rain” with Rosemary Lloyd

Photoshoot inspired by classic film

Rosemary Lloyd and I wanted to do a 1950’s themed photo shoot. Our main influence was the classic Hollywood film “Singing in the Rain”, starring Gene Kelly. However I feel obliged to confess I have never watched “Singing in the Rain” – except for snippets!

Rosemary Lloyd is an extremely experienced professional model who has won multiple local, national and international modelling and pageant awards. These include Young Model of the Year, 2016 and Miss Worldwide, 2017. Recently I photographed Rosemary for the cover of World Class Queens of England magazine.

Rosemary supplied all the costumes and props for this photo shoot, including the male model Reginald. He grew his moustache specially for our photo shoot, and for this I am very grateful. I would love to tell you how we gave him the scar on his upper lip – but I am sad to say he already had it. Very fortuitious for the theme though.

Make up was by Cindy MUA who is based locally in Kingston upon Thames.

Hair jewellery supplied by Daisy’s Bridal Couture.

Kingston Bridge, Kingston upon Thames

The bridge in some of the photos is Kingston Bridge, which crosses the River Thames in Kingston upon Thames. The blue lighting on the bridge is courtesy of the local council (I presume). I mention this because I have been asked how I added the blue colour in Photoshop. Not guilty! However the colour does go beautifully with Rosemary’s blue dress.

Rosemary Lloyd in Kingston upon Thames, photo shoot by Ian Trayner Photo shoot by Ian Trayner in Kingston upon Thames Rosemary Lloyd in Kingston upon Thames, photo shoot by Ian Trayner Rosemary Lloyd in Kingston upon Thames, photo shoot by Ian Trayner“Hollywood Lighting”

In my studio I deliberately styled the lighting on Reginald to give a vintage feel to the images. I used studio flash fitted with small reflector dishes and grids to give hard directional lighting. This mimics the effect of fresnel lenses which were extensively used to light classic Hollywood films. I was also careful to put strong highlights on Reginald’s hair. His moustache and hair style give authenticity to his look. I particularly like the scar that graces Regninald’s lip. He looks very “gangster”. I think he is a “wise guy“. Hollywood Lighting photo shoot Hollywood Lighting photo shoot Rosemary Lloyd cinematic photo shoot by Ian Trayner

Published on the cover of NMB Magazine

Images from this photo shoot made the cover of NMB Magazine, issue 10. In addition to the cover there is a ten page article about Rosemary inside, including seven images from this photo shoot.

Hollywood lighting for photographers

Hollywood lighting for drama and a cinematic look

What is Hollywood Lighting?

“Hollywood lighting” is an expression photographers use to describe the cinematic style of lighting that was used in the “good old days” of classic black and white films, and “film noir”.

I think it comes down to controlling light and shadow – both being equally important. The lighting is very stylish, and tends towards a steep tonal curve (ie deep blacks and bright whites).

I like watching films like “Casablanca” and “The Third Man” for see inspirational Hollywood lighting.

It is my personal view that any photographer who cares about the quality of his or her work should constantly be on the lookout for inspiration. It is not a question of “copying”, but trying to emulate a style that you have seen. There is a lot to be learnt by looking at the work of others.

Lighting for film versus lighting for still photography

Film (and video) requires continuous lighting – obviously!

But because still photographers capture still images, so we have a luxury of choice. We can opt for continuous lighting or flash. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and there is a large choice of technologies available.

Some photographers who want to specialise in “Hollywood lighting” invest heavily in specialist lighting. But most phtoographers who wants to emulate this style will probably want to use equipment they already own.

I am going to describe a method whereby a photographer who uses studio flash can emulate Hollywood lighting very simply. The trick is to use reflective dishes fitted with grids. Incidentally, this is one of the very first things I learned from Damian McGillicuddy, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. I have learnt a great deal over the years from this thoroughly decent chap.

Using grids to emulate fresnel lighting

In the classic days of black and white Hollywood films, fresnel lenses (pronounced fray-nel) were often used to control the spread of light. Fresnel lenses act by collimating light produced by a bulb. Let me explain that; light spreads out in all directions from a bulb, but if the emitted light goes through a lens that makes the light rays travel parallel to each other, that is collimated light.

A grid performs a very similar effect. It doesn’t achieve it by changing the direction of the light, but by restricting the amount it can spread out. It does this by forcing the light through small tubes – the grid. Grids vary – some restrict the spread of light much more than others.

The models in these photos were lit using a 21cm Elinchrom refector dish fitted with a grid. If you aren’t a professional photographer and you follow that link, you will probably be surprised by how much these things cost; “that much for just that?” But grids are not that easy to manufacture. Still, the cost is a small fraction of what you have to pay for proper fresnel ligthing systems.

“Classic” black and white photography

It wasn’t just film studios that used “Hollywood lighting”. Many portrait photographers have used, and even specialised, in this style of lighting. A quick Google search will pull out many examples.

That is so cool! I just did a Google search to verify my last sentence, and was delighted to see six of my own images appear in the search results. Result!

Hollywood lighting, Yulia Volosnikova, Luke Clampitt, location photo shoot

Luke Clampitt and Yulia Volosnikova as Hollywood stars

Hollywood lighting, Yulia Volosnikova, beauty photography

Yulia Volosnikova transformed into Hollywood star by Hollywood lighting

Hollywood lighting, Yulia Volosnikova, beauty photography

“Hollywood star” Yulia Volosnikova

Using Hollywood Lighting to sculpt faces

Because Hollywood lighting is collimated – at least to a degree – it is very “hard”. That means it creates relatively hard edges to shadows. This lighting flatter thin faces, but can be very unflattering to people who have round faces.

Furthermore, because Hollywood lighting is conducive to area of strong shadow, it can help an experienced photographer flatter certain types of subjects.

Consider the image of Yulia Volosnikova (above). I have deliberately shot her as a “Hollywood star”. Let us briefly look at the important points;

1. I have used a main key light on her face to flatter. The position of the light source relative to the model is critical. Notice the strong catch lights in Yulia’s eyes, and consider how they contribute to the image. The main key light was an Ilux Summit 600 fitted with an Elinchrom 21cm dish plus grid.

2. There is a rim light coming from behind Yulia, to the right as we look at her. This defines her left should, and also her right cheek, neck and throat. The position of this light also is critical. (By “critical” I do not mean there is only one exactly correct position, but rather that small changes in position cause major changes in the effect the light has on the model). this light was provided by a speedlight.

3. While I was shooting this series of images, in this location, I also had a fill light pointing at the model, behind the photographer’s right shoulder. This light was turned off for this particular image. The intensity of the fill light can be adjusted to change the darkness of the shadows.

4. One of the nice things about modern digital cameras is you can inspect the photographs you have just taken on the back of your camera. Looking at Yulia’s images, I decided I need to shine more light on her hair, from both sides. I acheived this using two more speedlights, one on each side of Yulia’s head. It was important that the light from these did not spread out and ruin the shadows elsewhere on Yulia. I found I could achieve this simply by using the speedlights withour any lighting modifiers.

In summary; the above photo of Yulia was captured using FOUR lights;
(a) main key light
(b) rim light
(c and d) two speedlights on either side of her head.

Sultry “Hollywood starlet” Serena

PortraitX, Hollywood lighting, Samantha Akasha Beck, film noir

PortraitX organiser and guru Samantha Akasha Beck, photographed in “film noir” style

Hollywood lighting, film noir, Yulia Volosnikova

“Hollywood star” Yulia Volosnikova with “Magician and Illusionist” Marcus Phoenix Godfrey

Credits

Models:

Yulia Volosnikova, make up by Rhian Gillah
Serena Fox (black silky dress), make up by Jade Memphis Hunt
Samantha Akasha Beck (filing cabinet), I think did her own make up
Luke Clampitt
Marcus Phoenix Godfrey (magician)

I am grateful to Empress Design and Print for the location, and PortraitX for organising the shoot.

One to one photo tutoring

Are you a budding photographer who would like to get some personal one to one tuition on a PortraitX photo shoot? If you are then contact me.

Behind the scenes (BTS) video

Video captured and edited by Matt Tress of Shinzou Media

model portfolio photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, African styling, C Walé Hair and Beauty

Model portfolio photo shoot

Model portfolio photo shoot

Styling for this photo shoot

“Styling” for this model portfolio photo shoot was a collaboration between the model, Yollanda Musa, and make up artist Caroline, from C Walé Hair and Beauty.

Styling

Yollanda writes;

“The outfit was made for me, for the “Miss Pride of Africa UK 2016″ beauty pageant. I wore it for the Nations parade round . I co designed the outfit with a Zimbabwean Designer. I chose colours to represent the Zimbabwean flag colours . So I told the Designer what I wanted and she sketched the idea. I wanted a modern mix in the design so I asked for the ballerina skirt. I then got the hat designed in South Africa – it is a style that is worn by South African women. I combined the different components. Caroline worked well to match the makeup to my outfit”.

Make up

Caroline’s own words;

“The purpose of this model portfolio photo shoot was to have a colourful and vibrant representation of Africa.

“Every piece of the attire had to be eye catching. The hat and jewellery was from South Africa, and were provided by the model.

“This makeup look was about keeping everything calm and going bold blue with the lips with tribal designs. It’s always great to either focus on beautiful intrinsic colours on the eyelids with eyeshadow, or dare to be bright on the lips.

“It’s always important to use primer before applying your foundation to reduce shine.The eyebrows were shaped neatly with a dewey foundation base. To make the eyes pop it’s always a great idea to use beautiful eyelashes.

“Once the makeup was done, the whole look came together when the outfit was worn”.

Photography methods

As Caroline stated above, our aim was to create images that give a “colourful and vibrant representation of Africa”. With this aim in mind, and having seen the clothes, I decided to use a red background. However I did not want the images to be overwhelmed by a bright red background, so I “underlit it” (even a white background will look black if there is no light on it).

Beauty lighting

My next question was; “how do I want to light the model?” Yollanda is blessed with beautiful bone structure and a beautiful face. So naturally I wanted my photos to be “beauty shots”. So I decided, for this model portfolio photo shoot, to use one of my favourite lighting modifiers for “beauty photography”. This is a 550mm beauty dish fitted with a grid, and I used this as the main light source on the model. These modifiers are relatively expensive (mainly because of the grid), but they provide a light source that can be extremely flattering.

I say “can be”, because this type of modifier provides a relatively “hard” light source. That means the shadows have relatively hard edges, with a lot of contrast between “light” and “dark”. While this kind of light can beextremely flattering on slim faces (if positioned properly), it is unlikely to be flattering on round faces.

I just had a look at this beauty dish and it doesn’t have a manufacturer’s name on it. Nor is the manufacturer’s name written on it’s box. However I can say I bought it from Veiwfinder.

White or silver beauty dish?

In general I prefer beauty dishes that have a white reflective surface, as opposed to a silver reflective surface. White surfaces give a “more forgiving” light source in my opinion. Especially if there is any degree of shinyness on a face.

Using coloured gels

Recently I published a blog post about using coloured gels in studio photography. Yollanda’s bright blue lips inspired me to add some blue light for some of her model portfolio photo shoot. In some images I have used a blue light as a fill light. This overlays a subtle “blueness” to her images, making her skin appear a touch “cooler”, and making the shadows a bit blue. You can see this especially in the whites of Yollanda’s eyes, in some of the images.

Later I moved the blue flash to behind Yollanda. So instead of being a blue fill light, it has become a  blue rim light..

The blue light was created by a Nikon SB900 speedlight fitted with a blue gel from HonlPhoto. Read my blog post “using coloured gels with photography” for more information about using coloured gels.

Rim lighting

All the images have a rim light coming from the opposite direction to the main light (ie pointing towards the camera from behind the model). Sometimes the rim light is white, and sometimes it is blue. But it is always there. The purpose of rim light is to separate the model from the background, so you can see the outline of her body.

If you are interested in lighting, watch out for rim lighting on TV, especially on higher budget films. In dark spaces rim lighting is used very effectively, and because our attention is on the “story” rather than on the “lighting”, we probably won’t notice on those occasions when the rim lighting “doesn’t make sense”! In other words, there may not be a natural light source in “the story” to provide that rim lighting! Having said which there often is,for examjple provided by lights on a ceiling.  But in reality they are often lights on boom arms, just out of shot.

Would you like to see all the images from this model portfolio photo shoot?

See all the other images from this model portfolio photo shoot in this gallery.

model portfolio photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, African styling, C Walé Hair and Beauty model portfolio photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, African styling, C Walé Hair and Beauty, blue coloured gel model portfolio photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, African styling, C Walé Hair and Beauty model portfolio photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, African styling, C Walé Hair and Beauty model portfolio photo shoot, Yollanda Musa, African styling, C Walé Hair and Beauty

The creative team for this model portfolio photo shoot

Model: Yollanda Musa

Yollanda Musa is an award winning UK based model. She was awarded a “Women Of Purpose Award” in recognition of her hard work and determination as a model . Yollanda has represented Zimbabwe in pageants. For example “Mr and Miss Black Beauty”, and “Miss Pride of Africa UK”. In the latter she won the title of “Southern Region Princess”. She also won the Sports Award title at “Miss Hertfoshire 2017”.

Yollanda is not just a pretty face; she bravely learnt how to box to raise money for Cancer Research UK. She even won her bout!

Yollanda is 5 feet 2 inches tall. This is not a typical height for models. Nevertheless Yollanda caught the attention of newspapers, such as Hemel Hempstead Gazette and Welywn and Hatfield Times. She has also been published inmagazines such as Effuse, Le Blanc and Secret Eden.

Yollanda’s links;

Visit Yollanda Musa’s blog and learn about her experiences as a petit model, and read her advice to aspiring models.
Get in touch with model Yollanda Musa by emailing yollandamusa@outlook.com
You can also join Yollanda’s network on LinkedIn.

C Walé Hair and Beauty

Find Caroline on facebook here: C Walé Hair and Beauty

 

 

 

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

Coloured Gels in Studio Photography

Using coloured gels in photography

Coloured gels can be used in a number of ways in photography. “Gels” are thin sheets of coloured plastic that go in front of light sources to change the colour. They are used with flash and continuous light sources. Make sure gels are secured firmly, and check they are not going to melt and burn if you use hot lights!

In this post I hope to demonstrate the following;

  • Coloured gels can be used to change the colour of any object in an image. I guess this is obvious, but I want to draw attention to the fact you can change the colour of your subject, the background, or any other material elements in the image (for example smoke).
  • Coloured gels can be used to make effects that are dramatic or extremely subtle.
  • Coloured gels can be used to separate a subject from it’s background.

Using coloured gels to add drama in photo shoot

I have used some of these images (but in black and white versions, not colour) in a previous blog post. I always intended to write a post about using coloured gels, and these are good examples.

Adding a splash of colour

My model is Clarissa Holder. The key light in the next image was provided by a studio flash in a soft box, without a gel (ie it was white light).

I also added a light with a coloured gel from behind. This served two purposes. One was to show the shape of Clarissa’s head and separate her head from the background, and the other was the “artisti” decision to add colour.

Do not be confused by the colour of Clarissa’s translucent cap. It was in fact the colour it appears to be in this image. In fact I chose to use the specific coloured gels I did, specifically so they would be consistent with the colours of Clarissa’s clothes and props.

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

Coloured gels for more drama

I am not suggesting photographers use coloured gels all the time; they are just one of the tools in our arsenal.

If you look at the following image, you will see I have removed the white key light. Now the blue and magenta of the coloured gels dominate the images. Clarissa is illuminated by a blue light on the left, and a red light from the right (our left and right, as we look at the image). Both lights also shine on the background, which is a roll of black paper. It is worth noting that when you shine a blue light on brown skin, it appears reddish.

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

 

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

You can use gels to change the colour of smoke

If you want to add colour to your smoke, it is most efficient to backlight the smoke (ie put the light source on the far side of the smoke, and point it towards the camera).

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

Using coloured gels in a more subtle way

In the next portrait of Clarissa, I have added quite a subtle red fill light. It was a simple speedlight with a red gel. The effect is to subtly enrich the colour of Clarissa’s skin, making it more “exotic”. To make the effect less obvious, I removed the small red highlights in Clarissa’s eyes using Photoshop. I also desaturated the image a bit, because the colours were getting a little too vivid for my taste.

The colour balance on the camera was set to “flash”, and a white flash provided the key light to camera left. Another flash with a soft box provides  a soft white light coming from behind the model (to the right as we look at her). This is the light that is responsible for highlighting the beautiful lines of Clarissa’s neck, jaw, collar bone and shoulder. This soft box was angled sp that it also cast light on the background.

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

 

 

Changing to a white background

The background cloth was removed for the next image, and the rear soft box was turned off. The wall is white, but it appears to be slightly coloured due to (a) a red speedlight acting as a fill light (it was located just behind the photographer’s right shoulder) and (b) a flash fitted with a blue gel shining on the wall from the camera left (and behind the model). In fact, if you look carefully you can see the shadow that Clarissa casts from the red fill light, because that area of the wall appears more blue than the rest of the wall. The wall was approximately 2m behind Clarissa’s back. I deliberately turned off the soft white rim lighting from behind Clarissa, because the wall is now pale and even in colour, so a nice dark shadow works very well to separate Clarissa from the background.

You can also see the red fill light reflecting off Clarissa’s “turban”, but once again I have used Photoshop to remove the red highlight in Clarissa’s eyes. You can see the redness on the whites of her eyes though.

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

Using coloured gels for rim lighting

The first and final images in this series show examples of rim lighting helping to separate a subject from the background. The final image (below) shows the creative team (minus photographer). Note the red rimlight coming from the left of the image. It is providing quite a strong red colour, although only over very small visible areas. The rim light was provided by the same speedlight with a red coloured gel that I had used in the last image as a fill light. I just moved it from the front to the rear (I can’t remember if I adjusted the light intensity).

From left to right the team members are make up artist Donna Harris, model Clarissa Holder, and stylist Evelyn Tolu (aka Miss Goodliving).

using coloured gels in photography, Ian Trayner, photographer in kingston

The brighter a light source, the less effective a coloured gel will be

The brighter the light source, the less a gel changes the colour of the light. This may seem non-intuitive until you think about it. But  when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

Translucent gels appear coloured because they selectively reduce the amount of light getting through at different wavelengths. For example a bue gel allows blue light through, but reduces the passage of other wavelengths, such as yellow and red. Gels that are more saturated will allow less light through. So if the light source is not very bright,the gel will block most of the non-blue light.

With a brighter light source, the blue light still gets through. But there isn’t enough dye to totally block the other wavelengths. So the brighter the light source, the more light of other wavelengths passes through the gel. This means the transmitted light starts to look more like white light.P

Probably the best way to get a feel for what happens is to do your own experiments. Sometimes it is quite fiddly getting the balance of colours you want. But like all photography, the more you practice, the better you will get at it.

The Beer-Lambert Law

If anyone wants to look it up, the Beer-Lambert law is the one that describes how light is absorbed when it passes through translucent materials. This law is usually used to describe how light is absorbed when it passes through a coloured solution, but the same principles apply when light is transmitted through a tranlucent gel.  Here is another relatively simple description of the Beer-Lambert law.

Would you like to book your own photo shoot using coloured gels?

Follow this link if you are interested in booking a photo shoot.

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.

equine beauty photo shoot; model experience photo shoot with a horse equine beauty photo shoot; model experience photo shoot with a horse equine beauty photo shoot; model experience photo shoot with a horse equine beauty photo shoot; model experience photo shoot with a horse equine beauty photo shoot; model experience photo shoot with a horse

 

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?