Thursday, 13 September 2012

Film Noir Shoot

So as the title suggests, this is a post about my film noir shoot, which has been in the planning zone for 2 months.
Why two months? Because of poor communication. Not from the model, but from others. I eventually had to drop most of the team as they stopped replying me, which was incredibly frustrating. But, it eventually happened and that's a good thing.

I shot with the very striking Phoebe Zamora who was very pleasant and a hard working model. It was her idea to do the film noir shoot so I was glad she would be doing a shoot that she had an interest in. On the day, it rained heavily when she arrived, so we ended up sitting inside, waiting for it to pass. This was good because I did get to know her a bit better. 

Now the shoot itself and the results... well, there are a few photos I like from it, but this isn't one of my stronger shoots. For starters, as lovely as Phoebe was, I think we had a bit of a different idea on what the film noir look was (despite me sending over moodboards). Her dress didn't strike me as film noir-ish at all; and her hair wasn't what I was expecting either. She did mention that her curls had been caught in the rain a bit, which was a shame. However, she posed very well and she did her makeup very well.
 The other issue was lighting, I had a bit of a problem because I'd planned to shoot much earlier into summer. Which would basically have given us more "dying light" for me to work with to really get the noir feel before it became too dark for me to work. The photos with the most noir feel did come from the night shots or just before it got too dark; but it was too light to really get the mood across in previous shots. So not many of the shots ended up with the noir look in terms of style and lighting.

Also, we got A LOT of comments this time around. And I mean a lot. I did feel very tense and nervous at one point, to the point that my shots came out blurred because I was shaking so much. Also, because it became dark, we were essentially two girls out in the dark, and I didn't feel safe.

What I've learnt from this shoot is to make sure both me and the model feel safe; even if it meant bringing someone else with us, it may have made us feel a lot more confortable. I've also learnt to double check with the model what they will bringing along for the shoot in terms of clothing, in case there's a bit of a creativity clash. Bring my own stuff along too, as I could have probably helped out a bit with the shoot too.

Anyway, here are a few of the results.

Not as many results as previous shoots, there's a couple in here that I REALLY like, so the shoot wasn't as bad as I made it sound. It just wasn't the best shoot I've done either. But I've learnt a lot and will be ready soon to reshoot it.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Second Shoot in London

Well... it's been a long time since my last shoot. I've had some issues with communication lately, meaning not a lot has been planned. However, I put out a casting call on Model Mayhem and got a few responses, so that was uplifting.

One of them was the model for this shoot, Stephanie. I did mention that she would have to cover my travel costs as it was stated that would be the case in the original Casting Call; however, she said she couldn't afford to do it as she's a student. I was slightly dissapointed but carried on anyway, until I remembered that I did actually have a day in London on the 18th, I contacted her and she said she was available! Hurrah.
 She mentioned the themes she'd like to do were Film Noir and Steampunk... which I mentioned that I had planned anyway and didn't want to be repetitive; however, I was more than happy to a shoot with the themes present. She seemed happy with this, and so I put together a moodboard of the clothes I'd like her to bring along. I then went on holiday and was unable to find an MUA in time for the shoot, however, with the references I gave her, she did her own excellent look. I honestly couldn't have asked for a better interpretation. 

So enough about the planning. The day itself was great! I was staying with my friend Becca (who was my assistant on the last shoot) so I wasn't too far away; and I handy consultant about ideas and locations. On the day of the shoot, I did get into a little bit of a panic as I felt it hadn't been planned enough. However, I calmed down on the way to the shoot and started to get excited to shoot again.
 The day was incredibly hot, and I was constantly apologising to her as she had to wear leather for every look we did. After the first look, we were both exhausted from the heat, so I bought us both some water and ice lollies; we instantly felt better. We also both spotted that the ice lollies had 50% of your RDA of Vitamin C, so we basically agreed that we needed to have 2 of these for breakfast at some point so we get our full RDA of Vitamin C in the morning, with ice lollies. 
I felt the need to say that because of how funny and relaxed the model was, we actually had a laugh during the shoot. Which of course, made it a fun experience.

Okay so the shoot kinda ended up going two ways in terms of results. It was either similar to our original concept (vaguely film noir-ish, with some classic Hollywood thrown in) or kinda going off into the fantasy realm. It really depended on the location and the lighting really; and both did seem to go hand in hand a lot. When we were in the more high class looking areas, the lighting was more direct and gave a more striking look (I'd also forgotten my reflector, not sure whether I actually pulled a silly and forgot it or whether I never considered it because of the lack of assistant); which made it a bit more of a high class fashion look. There was a bit of an issue with the lighting be unflattering at some point, but editing sorted that out. 
 However, when we would wander into the park, we got more natural looking locations; where the lighting was much softer and suited the sort of fantasy look well. Also, some of the shots got some pretty surreal colours on them; I think it was because I was shooting into the sun so I was getting a HUGE flare. But anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE lens flares, and I loved what it did to the colours. So I obviously picked up on this in editing and did both looks; some had a more in-between look.

High Class Fashion Look

Fantasy Look

I like a selection from both really, my favourites are an odd mix really. But overall, I'm happy with the results of this shoot. It was a great day and I would love to work with the model again.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Balloon Shoot In London

So I've figured, why not do my first proper post on here at stupid o'clock in the morning and tell anyone who's reading about the shoot I did on the 18th June in St James' Park.
I got a message from the lovely Angel_of_Darkness asking for a shoot to be done with lots of sky. I agreed to to it and began doing a quick bit of research. I asked my friend Becca if she would be available to assist on the shoot, since I would need one anyway, and I may as well make it someone I know well :) We set a date for the shoot early on which ended up being a rather huge mistake, since I was then asked to find a Make Up Artist for the shoot. I asked A LOT of people, and everyone was busy that day. Everyone. I finally found an MUA who was relatively new to Model Mayhem, who thankfully agreed to do the shoot mere days before it was set to happen. So a lesson learnt from that shoot before it even began was to make sure you have the entire team on board before you start setting dates.

I did have the slightly pressing issue of it raining... and since I was travelling such a distance and had booked my tickets, it wasn't something we could simply postpone or shift to another week. However, it turned out to be really nice on the day and ideal weather for the shoot. 

It was my first time working with a team too. I've obviously worked with models before; and for my first Model Mayhem shoot, I had a friend come with me in case of stranger danger; but I'd never worked with such a creative bunch of individuals. It was really great having everyone bounce ideas off each other, and it's something I want to try again. Becca was also wonderfully helpful with teaching me about my relatively new lens (I've had since about March but haven't had much of a chance to practise with it) and taught me about spot metering. She's also a professional retoucher, and showed me some little tricks to do when I stayed at hers later... until we were so seduced by her mattress (I've never slept on a more comfortable one in my life) that we both fell asleep. 

So some behind the scenes before I show you the results

Aga applying the makeup

Part of Becca's assisting role was support for the model as she balanced... I obviously chose that moment to make a comment on how wrong it looked from the angle I was at :P

Setting up the shot for one the later shoots

To be honest, Becca's main role in all of this was balloon holder.

Shoot in London was a lot of fun. Everyone's comments were the same "They're used to it". Doing this shoot back in The Midlands would have gotten a lot of comments and a lot of stares. We mostly got amused chuckles; people taking photos themselves (especially when we put the balloons in the tree); and probably my favourite reaction, a young male adult just shouting "BALLOONS 8D" as we walked across the bridge... I wanted to keep him.

The only awkward thing about the shoot was... and in all honesty, it wasn't that awkward but it's something I should be aware of: is pleasing both the model and the mua. Often when I would be taking full body shots, the mua would ask me to go in close and get head shots... and whilst I did that, the model would want to move on to a different location to get more distance shots. It was hard to juggle both of them but they both seemed pleased with the results, so I hopefully did okay.

Speaking of results... here they are:

Model: Angel Of Darkness
MUA: Aga Pro Makeup
Assistant: Rebecca Jane Andrews
Note how I said at the start how she wanted the shoot to be sky themed? Well got one, but then we got excited and moved on. Also, the purple balloon died not long after this shot. RIP Purple Balloon.

I feel I should point out that the blur on her clothes is intentional

Okay so normally, I would not be posting this many. But I loved so many of the shots from this shoot that I couldn't pick. Hopefully. there will be more like that in the future.
We did a second look later on, I'm not AS keen on the results... which I'll explain in a bit. However, there were a few that I was quite proud of which I shall share with you now

There's significantly less... yeah. I do really like these shots, not to the same level as the look before it though. I feel a lot of it comes down to my strengths... colour. I'm not wanting to big myself up when I say this, but I do feel my strength in editing is colour. It's something I'm fascinated with and love to experiment with in editing... these shots were supposed to lack colour, which is easy enough... but then what I had to play with was the lighting in the editing. Something I'm not particularly great at. I can rescue a picture that was underexposed easy enough, but I can't do much creativity with curves and levels. Which was what these pictures needed... and I'm not completely sure I got the effect we wanted. However, they once again seemed happy with the shots so I shouldn't be complaining.

However, I do feel that it's an area I need to work on again. Lighting... both on the shoot and in editing.  I've thrown myself into the deep end a bit with the next shoot I'm planning (although with how long it's taking to get everyone together, it may not be the actual next shoot I do) which is a Film Noir Inspired Shoot. I did a small location scout with my brother today... then it rained so we went home because we're wusses. I have 2 models and an MUA already though, so keep your eyes peeled.

Also fun facts. You may remember that Rebecca (my assistant for the day who let me sleep round hers for the night) had a mega comfy mattress. THESE THINGS ARE EVIL. Lets just say... we had quite literally 10 minutes to get ready for their to be any hope of my catching the train back to The Midlands. You can fill in what happened for yourself.

Take care everyone <3

Starting Out

So... against my wishes, I've decided to get a blog on here. Why against my wishes? Because I really struggle to get my thoughts down in writing, I've lost count of the amount of times I've written out a post on tumblr and deleted it. I'm quite eager to start video-blogging at some point this summer, where I'll actually get my thoughts down much better... as I like talk, I'm a talkative person. Just not a writing person.

So why have I got this blog then? For mainly photography and a place to dump my creative thoughts from time to time. I show most websites my photography, but I rarely record the process of shoots for myself or explain where I'm planning to go with my next shoot. For the reasons stated above. I could of course, put this in my video blogging, but I'd rather keep that as a random collection of thoughts rather than being photography orientated (although naturally it will come up fairly often). 

So, if anyone happens to be reading this, I hope you enjoy your stay.