MUL-TI-PASS!!!

Lilu - Kent England, 2016

Lilu – Kent England, 2016

I had a cancellation recently about two days before the planned shoot day – always annoying and expect a blog post about what models should do before a shoot – and usually there’s next to no time to find a replacement.

But not this time! The lovely Lilu (like the Milla Jovovich character Leeloo in The Fifth Element) came to to the rescue after a desperate casting call plea was posted online! And she was all kinds of lovely! And she has this interesting tattoo that runs all up her side and around one of her breasts. I am usually a little picky about tattoos on chests but this one intrigued me!

It was also a later shoot than I usually do. When I first started photography, I used to do my shoots in the evening after work. And it nearly killed me. By the time I had finished the shoot, it would be around 10-11pm, and I am the type of person who likes to then get cracking with the editing. So by the end of it all it would be the early hours of the morning.

This shoot would start around 4-5pm, but to turn down an opportunity to work with Lilu would be crazy so for the first time in forever I didn’t edit any photos until the next day. To all of you models who have worked with me, you know how alien that is to me. But I did it!

Anyway, the shoot was fab, the pics was wonderful, and we both had such a laugh doing it! Enjoy the pics!

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An experiment in slow-motion… on a budget

Hello! So the other day I made a video short. It’s nothing spectacular but it was a relatively successful experiment on how to do slow motion video.

Now I’m a fairly poor man, and the cost of cameras that do slow motion decently aren’t cheap, but I then heard of a plugin for Premiere Pro called Twixtor which apparently is good at slowing down videos in general.

So I got a willing victim, my model friend Marilyn to do some general movements and looks during a shoot and filmed it. Now it was a rush job. I didn’t use a tripod or really be that careful on holding the camera still (and boy, does it show on the raw footage!), but I filmed enough that I could piece together little snippets of video together. Most of what you see here has been slowed from its original 50fps down to about 10-15% of that speed.

The rendering times increase greatly obviously as Twixtor then has to render hundreds of brand new frames of video. But I think the result came out pretty well! I will try some more soon but outside… with a tripod!

Odette – The Greek Goddess

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Odette Flaur – December 2015

Every so often you meet a model and think ‘Where have you been hiding???’, and Odette was one of those times. It’s not even that she’s a new model or not active – she’s all of those things – but when she contacted me to do a shoot I immediately thought of that phrase.

Born and raised in Greece, modelling wasn’t her first job. She was a professional tennis player, and up until a couple of years ago was travelling to other countries to play tennis. But then she got a modelling contract and hasn’t looked back. And boy am I glad she hasn’t. For one she lives relatively locally to me now, and secondly she is stunning. I mean it. She has not only a wonderful personality, but simply one of the best figures for nude work I have seen. I could do a shoot with her every week and not get bored!

Well anyway, she came, we chatted, and got the first bit out of the way. That was the main shoot.

Then we got to the part that we really wanted to try. Body painting. I had been wanting to do a metallic statue kind of shoot for a long time and had planned to do this shoot with another model a couple of months before. For a variety of reasons that fell through but I still had all the bits and was holding out for a model who I felt fit the look for it. Odette was that model.

Now straight away, when you get a lot of this body painting gear, there is pretty much no manual anywhere that just lays it out straight. How the hell do you use this stuff? You see, it doesn’t come as a paint, but as a metallic powder, which you then mix with a mixing liquid before painting. But how much do you use. It only comes in a little 1oz container. It’s tiny! And the mixing liquid only comes in a 4.5f oz bottle. How the hell does that little amount cover an entire human.

Well it does. Jeez I only used half of it. It would seem that a little does indeed go a long way. With just a basic soft brush (I used a one inch wide one from a local paint supplies shop), you can easily cover someone with half of the amount you get. However I did read not to use the mix on the face and to only use the powder directly to cover that area. Handy tip! But the powder does get everywhere if you’re not careful.

It worked like a charm, she looked fabulous as a statue!

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More of Odette can be seen on her portfolio located on Purpleport – http://purpleport.com/portfolio/giuliettarossini/

New year, new lighting…

I finally did it.

After nearly 10 years using the same lights I bought from Jessops (remember them?), I have finally updated my kit.

For all those years I used a very cheap, basic set called Portaflash. It was Jessops own brand of lighting gear for the startup/amateur, and at the time they were a bargain! You got for your money pairs of lights, stands, brollies and cabling to connect the lights to your camera (which had to have sync port). The lights were so basic it had three settings – full, half and quarter. Oh and the modelling on/off switch and the power switch.

And that was it.

Hell the recharge time at full power was something like 5 seconds. So on a shoot it would be flash – wait – flash – wait – flash – wait etc… One on of my shoots patience was a must, but it did allow for a little more chat time!

Eventually though it was time to get a new kit. Now I am a poor man, so I couldn’t be going for the big names, and therefore I was really having to look around. However on a site I visit someone had mentioned a company called Lencarta. Never heard of them and had never seen any of their gear in a photography shop. But I went to have a look. Their price for lighting kits was slap bang right in my price range and the reason they weren’t in shops was because they don’t sell via shops – only direct. So I looked at the reviews for their lights (specifically the ones I am looking to buy). They were glowing. I mean seriously positive. Hell they were rated better than the big names.

So I bought them

smart_1soft1umbI went for the Lencarta Smartflash 2 kit, and like the old lighting kit it most came with two of everything. But it also came with was independently controlled wireless transmitter receivers, spare bulbs, spare fuses and one large brolly and one softbox.

And it blew my mind away. It made my old kit seem stupid in comparison. Firstly recycle times. At full power (and these lights were a lot more powerful) the max wait time was one second. One second. Think about that for a moment. By the time the lights have fired and the model is really just moving into the next position the lights are already charged and ready to go. Also the transmitter/receiver sets that came with the kit now enable me to independently control each of the lights; their power, the modelling bulb, or even to switch the lights off altogether. Before I had to either change which light the receiver was on, or swap the whole light over to the side I wanted it to flash. Bliss!

Another great feature is the air cushioned light stands. So now if you are adjusting the height and it slips out of your hand (poor grip or whatever – it happens to all of us!), then the stand will suddenly slow down in its descent to stop any damage being caused to your kit. Brilliant!

Another thing that was fantastic was their delivery time. Now I bought the lights over Christmas, while they were closed, so I had to wait until they were open to then even start doing anything about my order. They opened the first Monday after new year, and then 15 minutes later I got a text saying that the courier had picked up my gear. Then 20 minutes later I got a text with my delivery slot – the next day. And it was delivered, right on time.

All of that for £5. Amazon could learn a hell of a lot from this.

So Lencarta won me over with their stuff. Which now means that I want to get more gear for my new toys! If only I had the money…


You can see the kit I bought from this link: CLICK HERE

Anna Rose

Anna Rose

Anna Rose

I’ll cut to the chase, I had a lot of fun shooting Anna Rose the other day! And also (and I’ve said it before), when you work with a model who totally knows what poses work best for her, it makes my job as a photographer so damned easy!

On top of that she increased my love of wigs, and she had some astounding ones!

She responded to a last minute slot I had available and was eager to do some fun stuff with me. My reputation for fun and winging it is starting to be noticed in the small circles I currently inhabit, not that I’m complaining! I did however have one idea that I thought would work well with her, and that was to get some slightly more raw shouty attitude pics, with a ripped top or something. So the day before the shoot I headed to Primarni and picked up four vest tops in different colours, so that we could decide what colour would work best. In the end we went for green.

So that’s about it! When you have a shoot that is seriously no effort at all, and with a model who liked to have a laugh as much as yourself, it makes for a very easy day! Oh I will so be working with her again soon!

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Anna Rose’s portfolio can be found on Purpleport – https://purpleport.com/portfolio/annarose/

 

My first video short…

…that isn’t a joke thing or pissing around! A proper little video!

This video features the awesome talents of Sophia West, a professional dancer, who leapt at the chance to make a dance video short!
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Okay, so for a first attempt I am well pleased with it. But there were a couple of things I learnt!

  1. Video recording eats battery life! I am just a simple hobbyist, and never got a spare battery for my camera as the one always lasted easily long enough for my shoots before. But an hour and a half in, the battery low indicator was flashing. I had booked the studio for three hours!
  2. You gotta be good with audio editing! I used a dolly for tracking shots, and when I played back the video for the non-music parts, the camera had picked up a lot of noise while it rolled around!

 

No Burlesque!!!

I have an old friend. Ivy Paige is her name. She’s made a name for herself as a Burlesque performer. She has performed all over the place, recently completing a successful stint at the Edinburgh Festival. She’s sassy, fun, loud and most entertaining. Here is a shot I did of her a while ago on a location shoot…

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Well I am the first to admit that I’m not too strong on Burlesque kinds of shoots. It’s not something I have actively pursued. Why? I can’t quite place my finger on it. I think it’s because it’s soo ‘glam’. Not glamour – that’s a whole different kettle of fish! But it’s loud, bright, bold and something that’s not really my style. I don’t not like it. I just can’t explain what it is.

So when Ivy wanted to do another shoot with her, I said the following:

Me: I want to do more about symmetry, more stark, no burlesque at all.

Ivy: Sure! Sounds great!

Me: Oh, and I want your hair to be as straight as possible.

Ivy: Erm… okay, I can do that.

I’ve never seen Ivy with straight hair, and it was part of my plan to do a shoot so far removed to what she has done before, that it would essentially be like a whole different person in the photos. Gone are the stylish strong reds of her hair (for the most part – never say never to the occasional colour photo!). In was the more smokey eye make-up and no fancy outfits at all. I wanted basics.

And that’s exactly what we got. It was astounding. We looked at photos and thought ‘that doesn’t look like you at all!’. It was that astonishing! Ivy later thanked me for pushing her to achieve something new. She doesn’t need to thank me, I should be thanking her for being willing to try it!

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Ivy Paige’s website can be found here – http://www.ivypaige.com/ and her modelling portfolio can be found here – http://purpleport.com/portfolio/ivypaige/

Emmarald – a classic beauty

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Emmarald – Sept 2015

Models have varying degrees of experience and enthusiasm, and that shows in little ways. Care for the clothing they bring, punctuality, ability (that’s a big area) and so on. Well with Emmarald she is clearly someone who has put a lot of effort into her modelling, and clearly strives to do her best. The first sign was punctuality. At roughly 11am I got a call (yes a call – she actually calls as opposed to texting. That’s a bonus!) keeping me informed that she was on her way and would be at the meeting point at 11.45am. And then at 11.45am I get a call. “I’ve arrived!”. I’m not even joking. It was bang on 11.45.

Next was her preparation. She had arrived with a range of outfits, all wildly different, but also well looked after. Carefully packed to reduce any creases and clearly she had put a lot of thought into what she wanted to get out of the shoot. Usually for me I wing it and most models don’t have a plan so for this to happen was a refreshing change!

Hair and make-up wise, she was meticulous. Emmarald clearly knew what worked best and had a look that I can only call a ‘classic beauty’. Once prepared she reminded me of the actresses and models of the 40s. And I loved her for giving me that look!

So we got cracking. For me I knew that she had worked with some really awesome photographers and I personally knew that I wasn’t going to match the skills of them so for me this shoot was a chance to push myself a little more looks wise. I also wanted to get outside a little as the weather was okay and I hadn’t had much of a chance up until then due to rain. We quite literally zoomed through sets and in about an hour and a half we had got through about 8 different sets.

Emmarald loved the shoot in the end, which made me happy. She was also extremely enthusiastic about the results and that for me is a huge compliment. Another way I judge the success of a shoot is on how many edits I can get from the day. I aim for 10 for a good shoot, I got 20 in no time from this one. So you can imagine how happy I was about that too!

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Emmarald’s full portfolio can be found on Purpleport – http://purpleport.com/portfolio/emmarald/

 

The importance of facial expressions… Shelley Swift

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Shelley Swift – September 2015

For the fourth time in about a year I got together with Shelley Swift for a shoot. Shelley is so lovely and one of those models who will happily let me try stupid things out. One of those stupid things I wanted to do was to get a different look from her. Shelley loves a bit of moody glamour and nudes, and I wanted images that were just a little further away from that, that showed a more range. Emotion, fun, just a big different from the norm.

Because of this change I wanted to do the first step was the change her make-up routine. Off came all she had on her and out came a different type of mascara, a more defined eye liner and a change of colour in regards to eye shadow as well as a little more make-up on the cheekbones to bring them out. And I applied a lot of this myself. Check me out! Being a make-up artist (believe me, don’t expect that much from me on any shoot, I’m not that good!).

The next thing I wanted to do was to get Shelley used to was to change her facial expressions to show the mood I was after. Now you might think that is easy, but in reality it’s not. I had been acting for 16 years so for me I was used to emoting visually, but unless you have been doing it for years too (or just incredibly lucky) it’s surprisingly hard to show a different look to what you normally look like.

The key is the eyes.

Shelley has really beautiful eyes, a strong shade of blue and very piercing. However because of that they do stand out with a standard stare, so for a good hour during the first part of the shoot I concentrated on making sure she slightly closed her eyes. Along with that I got her to change her mouth positions a little. Slightly more open than usual, or at times I would really get her to open them (distraction or a good joke works too to get a more natural look!). After this hour or so though she nailed it. It was pretty much second nature.

Another thing I wanted to take advantage of (and I’m a little surprised that she hadn’t done this before) was to get her athletic nature into some of the images. She is a gymnast and although a little out of practice, she can still do all those spins and splits and rock a handstand and hold it there like it was a normal thing to do (I can do a handstand for around 3 seconds before falling over).

And the best compliment I got from the whole shoot? Shelley turned to me and said “I am so doing this type of make-up in future and going out like it!”. It worked. I got from this shoot images that were quite different from the three previous shoots with her, and for the first time images that really showed her range. From serious and sexy to good ol’ fun!

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Shelley Swift’s portfolio can be found on Purpleport – http://purpleport.com/portfolio/shellstar/

 

Reii – A little model of pure fun!

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Reii – September 2015

A little while ago I got to work with a model who I had been wanting to work with for a while. We had spoken about it on and off on Facebook for a while and eventually we got a date sorted. And you know how some times you meet someone and instantly it’s like you’ve always known each other, and this was just another day of hanging out? Well With Reii that is definitely one of those days!

She is tiny, funny, chatty and has a wicked smile. We just started chatting and chatting and before we knew it, an hour had already passed before I had fired off one single shot. To me that’s a good sign. When I do a shoot it’s not regimental. I don’t like working to a clock. The first part of any shoot for me is to sit down, chill out and have a good natter with a drink and some nibbles. Eventually we got cracking.

I will fully admit that I love the Asian look. I think it’s just such a beautiful look and yet I had very few images in my portfolio so this was something that had to be rectified. Reii also had a fabulous figure that was perfectly proportioned to her height. With the right angles I could make her look tall and slender, a slight shift and she would show off that figure.

Essentially that was it though. Just rattling off photo after photo, while having a fun time about it! I hope you enjoy the photos!

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Reii’s portfolio can be found on Purpleport – http://purpleport.com/portfolio/lemonsorbet/