Tag Archives: Ian Trayner

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

flour photo shoot in Kingston upon Thames

Flour photo shoot in Kingston upon Thames

Why do a flour photo shoot outdoors?

Flour photo shoots make a LOT of mess! Originally I invited model and performance artist Katie Berns to do this photo shoot in my studio, which is in Kingston upon Thames. But after doing a bit of research I realised just how much mess it was going to make! So I changed my plan, and we did the flour photo shoot in the garden. This was very easy to arrange, because the studio opens directly onto the garden through some wide doors.

The day after we did this flour photo shoot, there was a lot of flour in the garden, and because it had got damp, it was sticking quite stubbornly to plants and other things. All my clothes pegs got flour stuck all over them. There are still signs of the flour now as I write these words, three months after we did the flour shoot.

What made this flour photo shoot so challenging?

What made this particular flour photo shoot really challenging was the extreme cold. We did the shoot in early March, and it was VERY cold by (South East) British standards. Although it was above freezing, it was only above freezing by a few degrees, and the air was damp. It felt extremely cold even to me, and I was fully dressed. Poor old Katie – I was seriously worried about her wellbeing. But she was extremely professional, and totally dedicated to capturing some stunning images.

It was also threatening to rain the whole evening, but fortunately the rain held off – all except a few small drops. If it had rained hard, we would have abandoned the flour part of the photo shoot. (We also did some ballet and dance photography in the studio, earlier in the day, before it got dark).

When Katie got too cold, she put on my thick fluffy dressing gown and headed indoors to warm up and stop shivering. She was very brave, and I was very impressed by her professionalism and fortitude. I have to add that she could have stopped at any time.

How to do a flour photo shoot

From a technical point of view a flour photo shoot is very straightforward. You don’t need a particularly high shutter speed. I was using 1/200s, so there aren’t any problems with syncing a studio flash.

As with any other photo shoot, the photographer will arrange the lighting according to the image you wish to create. The flour in flour photo shoots is usually lit from behind, against a dark background. But this is just a matter of taste. I think when the background is dark, or black, the contrast of the white flour against the dark background is extreme, so this tends to give dramatic images. My personal preference was to avoid putting a powerful light on my model from the front. I wanted to have sufficient light to see Katie, but I wanted most of the impact of the images to be from the light on the flour, and the rim lighting along the sides of Katie’s body – and through her hair.

When I was researching how to do a flour photo shoot, I discovered there are quite a lot of descriptions available on the web (now there’s a surprise!) I am not the first photographer to do flour shoots by a long chalk.  If you go online you can find images similar to these. However next time I intend to add a bit more photographic creativity!

Because I wanted a dark background, it made sense to do the flour photo shoot after dark. Next day my neighbour said he had wondered why there was so much lightening during the night, but no thunder!

Is it possible to hire me to do your very own flour photo shoot?

Absolutely. This would be a “standard photo shoot”, so visit this page to see my rates.

flour photo shoot in Kingston upon Thames, photography by Ian Trayner, model is Katie Berns

Flour photo shoot with Katie Berns performing amazingly in freezing cold and damp conditions

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Technical information

F8, ISO 400, 1/200s

I used three studio flash heads. It doesn’t matter which ones you use, but I had the luxury of using three Ilux 600 Summit heads. These are 600 Watt flash heads, and they are battery powered, so they are fully portable. I bought mine from Photomart, and rather annoyingly, they have come down a lot in price since I bought mine!

The flour was lit from both sides behind Katie. This had the effect of putting bright lighting on the flour,  and they also cast a beautiful rim light on Katie Berns’s body. The modifiers on these lights probably aren’t critical, as long as you can control the spread of light. I was lucky because I could use a tall thin soft box with grid on both sides.

I also had a fill light in front of Katie, near the camera. I don’t remember the ratio of the fill light to the rear lights, but the rear lights were significantly brighter than the fill light. In a situation like this, I would recommend experimenting with the lighting ratios to see what pleases you most.

My recommendations if you want to do your own flour photo shoot

  1. Do it outdoors if you possibly can! If you have to do it indoors, be aware that you will have a fine dust of flour covering everything, and a thick pile of flour on the floor. And be aware that flour gets very sticky when it gets damp, so I recommend cleaning it up as soon as possible after the shoot!
  2. Think about the set. Do you want it dark? Will it be necessary to do the shoot after dark? If you are not sure, test it. Although we did this shoot after dark, I don’t think that will be necessary if you have some powerful flash heads. It may even be possible to make use of the sun, if there is direct sunlight (best from behind the model I think).
  3. Have a look at flour photos on the web, and then try to add your own thing. For example I found this youtube video quite interesting;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcSZaPXHSJ0
  4. Avoid throwing flour directly into your model’s face! Check that she (or he) doesn’t have any reactions to dust, or flour. Don’t let your model freeze to death if you are working outdoors. Ho ho.
bridal photo shoot with Amber Joseph

Bridal fashion shoot using natural light

What is a bridal fashion shoot?

A bridal fashion shoot is a photo shoot with a model wearing a bridal gown. The model here is Amber Joseph.

Can you do a bridal fashion shoot using only natural light?

Yes. Of course. But you need to use the available light to your advantage. It is necessary to see how the light is, and position the model accordingly.

I often use portable flash because it  (potentially) gives much more control and versatility over the lighting, and hence the images that are created. But it is extra weight to carry around, and takes time to set up.

To a limited extent natural light can be manipulated, for example by using a reflector. It is also faster working with natural light because you don’t have to position any flash heads, or measure their light output. If you are using natural light and working in “aperture priority”, it is easier and faster to change your aperture than if you are using manualy controlled (off camera) flash. So in a way it “seems” as if taking photogarphs using natural light is faster and easier. But is it faster and easier for taking really good photographs? creative photographs? and photographs that stand out from the crowd? Photos that make the eye linger?

In my opinion a good understanding of how the direction and “quality” of light affects photographs is just as important for natural light photography as for flash photography.

Our bridal fashion shoot

I took these photos on a workshop at Horsley Park, organised by Pete Bristo.  The model for this bridal fashion shoot was Amber Joseph. I have included a “fun” photo that shows that Amber is not only a beautiful model, but a “good sport” with a sense of humour.

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Adding a sense of movement

This image was created by merging two photographs together. I was not planning to do that when I took the photos, and was not using a tripod, so it was necessary to line the photos up and do a few minor adjustments to where things were!

bridal fashion shoot, natural light, Ian Trayner, photographer-in-surrey.net, Horsley Park

Acknowledgement

Model: Amber Joseph
Locations: Horsley Park

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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