Updates

Here are some recent edits from recent shoots that haven't been published here before...

Panic

Something different. Draw your own conclusions. A collaborative effort between Katarzyna and myself on the story with an open minded and open ended finish.

Eyes on Fire

Featuring the outstanding Anoush Anou. Music by Blue Foundation.

Sass-Kia

Sass-Kia is an art nude model mainly but her skill with portraiture and expression is where her real talent lies in my opinion.

The following two images are from a set we shot for Sass's Patreon account. You'll have to go there to see where this series went.

Andrea

This wonderful art model - her expressive skill is really just so good.

So that's probably enough free content for now! If you're reading this blog and appreciate what I'm doing, let me know, I'd love some feedback. Each post and each shoot takes considerable effort, cost and time and these posts just go out into the ether with zero feedback. I also give away a lot of free information within these stories - most of that information I've gained from my own lengthy research and experimentation and persistence. Pretty soon I'll be winding the blog down and spending more time monetising my content! It's just too much effort. So thanks for watching, if you have been?!

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Back to my fave hotel again for this shoot with the lovely Polish girl, Katarzyna. We'd been following each other on Instagram and made contact to organise a shoot. Kat had lots of ideas, it was obvious she was motivated and creative. Things like that matter to me. Some photographers don't care that much, as long as the girl will take her clothes off, they're happy. Sad, but quite true. I don't care if clothes are on or off, either way, there are a million things to do and depending on the all important concept that I've agreed on with the model - clothes may be required and they may not be. I always discuss the type and style of clothes too, and bring my own favourite items along to each shoot - things that I know will work with the style of photography/lighting that I do. Some items have proven very popular, so popular that I'm going to have find some alternatives soon! The other important aspect is how the clothes are worn - but that's usually worked out at shoot time.

I could tell Kat was a bit crazy - perfect. So I booked a room and we started shooting at about midday. I had a different room this time with a totally different aspect so had to work out how to use the resulting different light. There were a number of 'sweet spots' in the room with 'that' light so we started with one of those spots - which was the bed.

Makeup by Grace Luck

The light was super. My favourite light actually. As usual, no need for artificial light here.

So Kat wanted to get up on the mantlepiece. No problems.

After an initial set of images we got ready for the video that we had been planning. Kat had provided about 5 options for music but I admit I had a hard time seeing the music fitting what we were going to do. That's OK. I'm always open to ideas and don't like being stuck in my own creative mindset or rut. So best idea is just start shooting, get things moving and go with the flow based around a loose story which we gad agreed on. The first half of the story was set in the hallway, the stairs and in the room. 

The second part of the story was a bath scene. This was Kat's idea and she had some particular things in mind. I really appreciate the trust she placed in me to do this and I don't underestimate that. I appreciate that trust that all models place in me for everything, but especially for video as not many people are used to doing it.

Stills from the movie...

Trust

It's one thing to trust a photographer with the stills shooting - its another thing entirely to trust them with video, and then on top of that being in a small bathroom and nude in a bath with the photographer standing one leg either side of the bath over the top of you. That takes much trust, especially when you haven't worked with that person before. So thank you Kat.

One problem with the bath scene. No plug for the bath. No problems, within a few minutes Kat had grabbed a paper cup and I shoved it in the plug hole - perfect fit! And, it worked perfectly too. Hence the name of this story.

I'm so happy with this video. It's different to what I normally do and I can thank the collaboration with Kat for that. 

We shot another set of stills on film after the bath scene using Kat's now wet hair for a different look. 

And the very last shot of the day, on film...

So what's next? Well, the video will be finished soon and tons more stills.

Next shoot? A number are in the pipeline as usual plus a really interesting video project. Stay tuned here for updates.

Parisian Cabaret in Surry Hills

I've worked with Scarlette twice before, here and here, and once when she was the model for a workshop I ran back in April. She's great to work with, and the first shoot we did produced so many stunning images of varied genres that it's obvious she's a very versatile model.

Scarlette was keen on a Moulin Rouge theme and loves corsets so she brought along a set of nice black lingerie complete with the black corset. She also brought two other outfits which were nothing short of stunning. And I had a sheer black top I was keen for her to wear for some portraits. So, there's 4 looks. We did them all in two hours.

The Moulin Rouge theme was perfect for this hotel as that cabaret world in Paris was happening around the same time as this hotel was built - the late 1800s.

Scarlette's red hair and pale skin is really just so amazing - and set in a hotel room like this one along with the lingerie and outfits made some really stunning pictures. I shot both digital and film. 4 rolls of Portra 400 and about 200 digitals. There's quite a bit of editing to do cause we got so many great shots!

The light in the room was particularly amazing - it was heavily overcast so the soft reflected light from the light coloured roofs opposite the window created some beautiful effects on Scarlette's skin. I brought my usual lights with me, but as usual, didn't use them.

I absolutely loved this creamy sparkly dress Scarlette had - the colour palette of that with her hair and skin in this light I knew would be something else.

And of course, I brought my usual bag of tricks - the fave item for this hotel are the sheer black tops. Anything sheer, preferable black, works a treat with the way I shoot and light my shots.

Many, many more images coming from this shoot

Custom Portraiture Workshop

I'd worked with Damo once before when I helped him out with a shoot that he did with Anne Duffy. We had a great and rewarding afternoon that day - read about
it back here
. Damo was keen to further explore his portrait photography and obtain something a little deeper and more natural than what he'd been getting.

So this was essentially and 'Emotive Portraiture Workshop' - these are custom designed (and usually one on one) to suit the Client as they are very specific in order to tick off all the outcomes for each individual person. Damo's a great photographer. I asked to see his images from the day out with Anne. I looked at them and asked, "what can I teach you? You've done what you wanted to do right there". The images he showed me were excellent, they had all the qualities of great portraits, they captured presence, poise, beauty and personality aspects of Anne that only a stills camera in skilled hands can capture. His answer was "yes but I know Anne and she knows me, we have a great rapport so it's easy". Essentially he wanted to be able to do what he did with Anne - with any model. One of the key statements he made to me during my questions prior to working out the content of the workshop was, "my photos tend to end up looking like model posing 101".

So I engaged Flavia as the model for this. Flavia has an incredibly natural presence in front of the camera and doesn't go into auto pilot as far as posing goes. She moves and emotes according to what you want to do. But you have to communicate and connect with her so she knows what is required of course. In the end, a photoshoot is in the hands of the photographer - so there are decisions to make and there is control required. That sounds heavy, I hate directing and my style of directing is more like not directing at all!

So we would shoot near Flavia's place on the Northern beaches of Sydney. Just before the workshop I quickly scoped a place I went to years back to shoot seascapes but it was blowing a gale and showers were coming through. Not on. The other side of the headland looked OK and was out of the wind a bit.

So we met at Flavia's flat, got acquainted, had a chat, then headed down to the location. Weather was not good, but at least it had atmosphere. We shot for about an hour here doing a few varied things (for content detail you'll have to do a workshop!). Unfortunately, due to the weather, we couldn’t continue shooting outside and drove back to Flavia's flat to shoot inside. This was very impromptu and wasn't really what I'd planned for. The break in the session meant a loss of continuity to what we were doing. The up side was that we got to shoot inside and outside for variation.

Here's a couple of sneaky shots I got in whilst setting things up.

Shooting indoors, for me, is a very different workflow. Nearly all the emotive
portrait work I've done that I wanted to use as the basis for this workshop has
been done outdoors - with the wind and open space being primary components.

The variety though and the challenge that brings with it was good. We had to adapt on the spot, so important to be able to do that. Damo did get some great shots and I'll post them when I get them.

Polaroids and... Polaroids - Laneikka

Laneikka and I had worked together back in April. There's a blog post about that shoot here. She's such a talented girl, is just lovely to work with and understands my need for capturing emotion. 

So Laneikka needed some standard modelling polaroids for some agencies she was talking to. Easy. Studio strobe-lit photos are formulaic and take a bare minimum of skill and zero creative input from the photographer. I set up the Elinchrom strobes in the loungeroom plus a grey backdrop. Used two lights for the full length shots and one light, butterfly style, for the waist up shots. All done in about 40 minutes.

I had some styled art-fashion shots in mind to shoot on film - polaroids and colour 6x7. These were inspired by some recent browsing of Paolo Roversi's work, who I've admired for ages.

We didn't have the time or resources to create anythign exotic, lighting wise but I'm real happy with what we achieved in that small poorly lit corner of the loungeroom.

I ended up taking a window out so I could shoot from the right angle and still have good light. Also used a small 300W fresnel for a few shots and even bounced the Elinchrom soft box off a piece of white foam core in a few other shots. Using the Pentax 67 and a strobe needs a bit of thought as to the strength of natural versus strobe light as the synch speed is only 1/30 second. 

Laneikka had taken the brief seriously and brought along the most beautiful outfits - three of them that were almost perfectly matched to the reference images! So grateful for that. Her wardrobe is something else. Gina from GIAN Designs had designed and created some beautiful floral head adornments and also created a cool head wrap with some material.

The backdrops were a mish mash - I literally threw and draped various fabrics over the stands, knowing they'd be out of focus and merely provide some nice coloured texture to the images.

Laneikka put together a brief blog post on her increasingly popular fashion blog. You can see it here.