Tag Archives: photo shoot

actor head shot for Kevin Mangar

Actor Head Shots for Kevin Mangar

Actor head shots for character and variety

Kevin Mangar asked me to take some actor head shots (and also some other photos, but I will talk about those another day).  Some of the resulting images are conventional actor head shots, while others are more “portraits”.

Kevin Mangar often lands roles as villains. Do you think he looks the part?

Well do you, punk?

Curiously, immediately after writing the above sentence I googled “Kevin Mangar” and discovered he played a character called “Eastwood” in the film The Take Down.  What an extraordinary co-incidence! (For people who don’t know “well do you punk” is an iconic line spoken by Harry Callaghan, played by Clint Eastwood in his “Dirty Harry” movies. Look at this clip and then this clip).

According to film buff website IMDb Kevin Mangar is also known for roles in Spider Man 2: Another World and Redcon-1.

What is an “actor head shot”?

Actor head shots are intended to give casting directors an idea of what an actor or actress looks like. However Kevin and I didn’t want to just limit ourselves to conventional actor head shots. So Kevin played some roles, and I fiddled with my lights.

Lighting for head shots and portraits

One light

Here are five “head shots”. In the first, I lit Kevin’s head with a single key light located directly above the camera’s line of sight. You can see the reflection of the key light in Kevin’s eyes. The flash was modified by a gridded white beauty dish. Just the one light (technically this kind of lighting is called “butterfly lighting” because the shadow beneath the nose might look a bit like a butterfly. Allegedly.

very simple actor head shot

Three lights

In the next photo the key light is exactly the same, but I have added two additional lights, one on each side of Kevin’s head.  The photographer has to be quite careful where s/he places these lights in order to create the desired effect. I was using two tall slim soft boxes fitted with grids.

Actor head shot of actor Kevin Mangar

Two lights

Kevin’s third “head shot” shows what happens when the key light is turned off, and the two lights on either side are on. This isn’t really an “actor head shot” at all, because you can’t see the detail of Kevin’s face. But the image makes a very atmospheric portrait nevertheless. I think you will agree this lighting creates a sinister mood? So, not really an “actor head shot” but definitely a “portrait”.

sinister portrait of actor Kevin Mangar

Two different lights

For the fourth head shot in this series I moved the key light to one side, a bit higher than Kevin’s head. It is still modified using the same white gridded beauty dish. I have also moved one of the tall gridded softboxes further back behind Kevin, and brought it’s brightness down. These are the only two lights on Kevin in this photo.

Actor head shot of actor Kevin Mangar

Three lights

Next I threw some light onto the black background, making it grey. The purpose of this is to make Kevin’s outline more visible. I call this Kevin’s “Patrick Stewart” picture.

actor head shot of actor Kevin Mangar

I call this Kevin’s “Patrick Stewart” photo. I assume both actors will find this flattering…

A softer look

As I wrote above, Kevin Mangar often gets typecast as villains. He does a “hard man look” very well. But why don’t we bring out his softer side too?

Kevin Mangar - actor head shot Kevin Mangar - actor head shot Kevin Mangar - actor head shot Kevin Mangar - actor head shot Kevin Mangar - actor head shot

Photoshop post production

Just in case anyone is interested;

Photoshop editing was kept to a minimum.  I made a small number of global adjustments to  basic variables like colour balance, the tone curve, clarity, and maybe one or two other of the sliders that adjust the entire image. I also did a very small amount of eye brightening – very subtle. Otherwise Kevin’s head shots and portraits are as the camera captured them.


I thank Kevin Mangar for asking me to take these actor head shots, portraits and other photos (I may write about some of the others later).

Model Experience photo shoot with C Walé Beauty

Photos from a “Model Experience photo shoot”

But what is a “Model Experience” photo shoot?

The aim is to give a client a complete “model experience”, but without the pressure to “perform” that a real model might have to deal with. I want your experience to be relaxing, memorable and enjoyable. You can even bring your own music (speakers are provided). In addition of course we will create some beautiful professional images.

Because I only book one “Model Experience” photo shoot per day, I am able to spend as much time as necessary to create some beautiful images. I don’t like watching the clock too much when I am shooting, and I would rather spend a little more time (if necessary) to capture something excellent. In general I allow up to three hours shooting time, but if things are going well, and we both want to continue, I won’t necessarily cut off the shoot until we are happy. You would be surprised how quickly three hours disappears if you are working with different looks, especially if the shoot is split between the studio and a location.

What if I don’t know “how to model”?

Most people aren’t born knowing how to be a good model. Don’t worry, because I will guide you if necessary.

All my photo shoots also include a pre-shoot consultation, during which we will explore what you want to get out of your shoot. We can call upon all my experience, and work in various styles. Have a look at the “Fashion Style” section (with it’s submenu) on my website for inspiration. You can also show me photos by other photographers at your consultation.

Make up by C Walé Beauty

“Model Experience” photo shoots make use of the skills of a professional make up artist. I work with several professional make up artists, all of whom I know and trust. The make up artist on this particular shoot was Caroline of C Walé BeautyIt is always a pleasure working with Caroline. She is a very reliable make up artist, who works wonders with make up and hair styling. She also has a facebook page here.

In this photo shoot, Caroline created a traditional Nigerian look. Twice. And it should be obvious that in this particular shoot, the model’s hair was not the focus of Caroline’s attention! I did not realise how much is involved in getting those head scarves to look really good.

Would you like to book me for your own “model experience” photo shoot?

If you would like to go through the “model experience”, have a look at my “booking a professional photo shoot” page.

Professional photo shoots make excellent and unusual gifts

Click on this link for a short “behind the scenes” video clip

model experience photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, C Walé Beauty

model experience photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, C Walé Beauty

model experience photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, C Walé Beauty

model experience photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, C Walé Beauty


model experience photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, C Walé Beauty model experience photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, C Walé Beauty model experience photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, C Walé Beauty



maternity photo shoot in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

Maternity photo shoot in Kingston, Surrey

Maternity photo shoot in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

This maternity photo shoot was the result of a personal recommendation. My services were  recommended to Rathees and Priya, by Tripti Kaur.  Tripti did Priya’s hair and make up for her wedding.

It is always nice to be recommended!

Tripti must have done a good job of recommending me as a photographer.  Rathees and Priya live in the Midlands, yet they were willing to drive to my studio in Kingston upon Thames for their maternity photo shoot. This is quite a serious committment for a pregnant mum, and I made sure we discussed what Priya would do if her baby arrived early while she was down here. Fortunately everything went smoothly.

To tell the truth, I suspect they also drove the distance because they knew and trusted Tripti as a make up artist.

Make up by Tripti Kaur

I have worked with Tripti a number of times, and she works mostly with Asian brides. My photos may not do full justice to Tripti’s hair styling, because in order to complete the shoot before darkness fell, we went out on location before doing the studio part of the photo shoot. That means the wind got at Priya’s hair before I took the serious studio shots. Aaargh! Never mind… Still looks good though.

Can I do a maternity photo shoot on location and in the studio?

Yes, of course I can. I can do your maternity photo shoot entirely in the studio, or on location, or both. I am a bespoke photographer, and I custom design my photo shoots for my clients. For more information check out my website for the types of photo shoots I offer.

As soon as Tripti had finished working her make up magic, we headed out to our first locationfor. I wanted to take some natural looking shots. But with the sun low in the sky I decided to add some more dramatic photos, with the sun in the frame.

After taking photos at our first location, we headed back to the studio for a change of dress. Then we headed out to our second location. The sun was setting as we arrived, but I took advantage of the night sky to provide a nice background for some atmospheric photos.

After the sun had set, we drove back to my studio for the studio shots, plus one more change of outfit.

Love and attention

This particular maternity photo shoot will be memorable for me because Priya and Rathees are such nice people, and together they make a very, very charming couple. I was touched by the love, the care, and the consideration that is evident as Rathees looks after his wife.  At times like this I feel very privileged to be admitted into such a close circle so I can make a photographic record of these special times, and these special relationships. It is a real honour, and it is lovely to be trusted to this job.

After the photo shoot

I had to wait quite a few weeks before Priya and Rathees could drive down to KIngston upon Thames, for their viewing in my studio. I was delighted to meet little Janvi, who is an exceptionally beautiful baby girl. Priya also brought me some cake from the “Baby Shower” for me! Although Rathees and Priya are clients, and I have a professional relationship with them, I feel I have made some new friends in the Midlands.

I pride myself on finding out what my clients want, and then helping them get that. This is why all my photo shoots, maternity or otherwise, are designed for each client. Rathees and Priya asked me if I could include a small number of their own photos in the album I designed. These photos were taken by family friends at the “baby shower” they had in their home before Janvi was born. At times like this I am willing to include a few photos like this, as long as there are just a few of them. In my eyes the album is more important than my vanity as a photographer, and I understand why it is nice for new parents to want a single record of such a special time.

Would you like to hire me for a maternity, baby or family photo shoot?

Do you like the photographs on my website?  Would you like me to capture special images of your family and loved ones? Click here if you are thinking of booking me for a maternity photo shoot or any other kind of family photo shoot.
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Technical photography stuff

When I shoot on location, I always ask myself; “where is the light coming from?” “what is the nature of the light”, “how am I going to use the light that is available?”, and “am I going to complement it with my own lighting?”

Shooting with the sun in frame, a photographer needs to reduce the apparent brightness of the sun. As always, the options for controlling the exposure are the ISO, the shutter speed, and the aperture. However, depending on the flash system you are using it may not be possible to use a shutter speed faster than perhaps in the region of 1/250 of a second or so.

The shot with the sun in the background was taken using the flash on full power. The ISO was 100, the shutter speed was 1/200s, and the aperture was F20. In addition the lens had a 3 stop neutral density (ND)  filter that cuts the amount of light entering the camera by 7/8th (Ie it only lets 1/8th of the light through).

"Pandora's Box" fantasy photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, Yollanda Musa model

Fantasy photo shoot – Pandora’s Box

Fantasy photo shoot with PortraitX and Yollanda Musa

This was a fantasy photo shoot shot under the auspices of PortraitX. The aim was to shoot on location and capture the theme “Pandora’s Box”, with total freedom to re-interpret that story. So, with apologies to the ancient Greeks, this is my own personal version of the story of Pandora’s box.

Pandora’s Box

Once upon a time, there was a very beautiful young princess named Pandora. She had an uncle who was a powerful magician. He was feared by the people and it was rumoured he had a box that contained devastation. But he loved Pandora, and she loved him.

It came to pass that Pandora’s uncle died, and one day Pandora found herself in his quarters, admiring all the curious and strange artefacts.

One in particular drew her eye; it was a beautiful small box. It fascinated Pandora, so she took it into the castle grounds.

“Surely this box can’t contain anything terrible”, she said to herself. “It is so small, and so beautiful!”

Filled with curiousity, she opened the lid… just a fraction. She peered in, and felt a strange floating sensation, and a feeling of intoxication. She was captivated by a mystical green light, compelling her to open the box fully.

Darkness jumped out and time itself became a chaotic blur…

"Pandora's Box" fantasy photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, Yollanda Musa model"Pandora's Box" fantasy photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, Yollanda Musa model"Pandora's Box" fantasy photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, Yollanda Musa model"Pandora's Box" fantasy photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, Yollanda Musa model

"Pandora's Box" fantasy photo shoot, Ian Trayner photographer, Yollanda Musa model

Darkness jumped out and time itself became a chaotic blur…

Photography methods

I used off camera flash with natural daylight. Shooting was a little tricky, because there was a bright sun and many small clouds, and the sun kept going behind the clouds.

When Yollanda was sitting on the tree trunk, the sun was behind her (at about 10’o’clock if the camera is at 6’o’clock) and she was illuminated from the right (her front) using a portable flash. This was a 600W battery powered head fitted with a soft box.

The green light shining out from the box was accomplished using two speedlights with green filters. I found that a single speedlight was not sufficient. I also took Yollanda as deep under the weeping willow tree as I could, so the ambient light was as low as possible. The important thing to know when you use coloured filters, is that the brighter the flash, the less it is coloured by the filter. (This is not intuitive until you think about it, then it makes perfect sense). So I used two speedlights, both set at minimum power output, triggered wirelessly using a radio transmitter.

As always when using flash, you are effectively superimposing two exposures in one image; one is the image that is recorded by the ambient light, and the other is the image recorded from the flash. One image. Two superimposed exposures to give a final net exposure. The flash exposure is dictated by the power from the flash and the aperture. The ambient exposure is dictated by the aperture and the shutter speed (both are also affected by the ISO obviously).

Shooting “Darkness”

In the story, when the character “Darkness”  jumps out of the box, I wanted a long exposure in order to show movement, but I also wanted the scene to appear darker overall. The camera was mounted on a tripod to keep it still, and the flash was set to “rear sync”. That means the flash fired at the end of the exposure, not at the beginning. We had to practice quite a bit to get it right, and technically it was quite challenging.

Firstly I had to find an exposure that was long enough to fit in all the action. The image here was exposed for 1.3 seconds! That gives Marcus (who played “Darkness”) enough time to be recorded at his starting position, and then move to his final position before the flash fires. In between he appears as a blur.

But it was a very bright day, so how was I going to avoid overexposing the image? The answer was to use an aperture of F22 plus a 3 stop ND (neutral density) filter. A 3 stop filter reduces the amount of light getting through by 3 stops, that is to say it blocks 7/8 of the light getting through.

So far so good. But could I get the flash bright enough to capture an image at F22 with a 3 stop filter? That is to say, the amount of light has to be sufficient for whatever is 3 stops brighter than F22! I just managed to get away with it, using two 600W flash heads, both fitted with small reflector dishes, and both as close to Marcus’s final position as I could get them. They are just out of shot to the right.

Poor old Marcus, not only did he have to do his leaping and grimacing until we got it right, he also had to look in the direction of 1200W of light flashing in his eyes! But he did an amazing job.

I also like the effect that a 1.3 second exposure has on the smoke, and it was this that suggested that time itself became blurred and chaotic with Darkness jumps out of the box, as stated in the storyline.


Models: Yollanda Musa and Marcus Phoenix Godfrey
Make up: Shahida MUA
Styling: Akasha Asylum