Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rivoli Ball Room with Mariana Chuleva

This is by far my most organised shoot.  It all began at the beginning of the year when I wanted to step up my shooting style.  I wanted to shoot more fashion type images and to create much more bespoke images.  I prefer not to shoot against a plain background in a studio, so I am always on the lookout for shooting locations.  Rivoli Ball Room is an amazing location and I wanted to shoot there for a while.






Since I wanted to up my shooting style I set about getting a team of people together.  First to come on board was Robyn Skinner, a makeup artist I worked with before.  A casting call for designer was placed on Model Mayhem.  Luckily Timea Talian responded, she also suggested I contact Mariana Chuleva to model for us.  After some communications between us, Mariana came on board also.  I also need help with light setting up and general help during the shoot.  For this I asked Nick a work colleague and his wife Niha.  They also stood in for the model, while she was at makeup, so I can set up the lights as I wanted them.  I was ready to shoot as soon as the model was ready.



The next step was to have a clear version of the type of images I wanted out of this shoot.  I did a lot of image search on various fashion sites and settled on a few different looks, then set about to create mood boards, so everyone has a clear understanding of the goal.  This is the first time I created mood boards and I will carry on using them.  It does focus your mind and you do not forget your original aims.



Mariana was great as a model and she was excellent when it came to posing.  I only had to let her know the general idea of what I wanted, she was able to pull off many different looks and pose.  The difficult task came after the shoot, there are so many great images, it was hard to select the best images for retouching.  I am not into heavy photoshop as I like to get as much right in the actual shoot as possible.


All in all, an amazing experience and I came away with some great images.

Model: Mariana Chuleva
Hair and makeup: Robyn Skinner
Styling: Timea Talian
Clothing and accessories: Timea Talian Designs
Assisted by: Nick and Niha Brown


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Monday, April 15, 2013

Charlotte Molly Louise


I was able to shoot with Charlotte on the staircase of an old industrial building.  Although it was a cold day, Charlotte was happy to shoot in lingerie.  The location had an old lift was I put to good use.  I always like to use colour gels because they can lift an image and add a splash of colour.  I tried blue and green but settled on red this time.  It compliments the colour of Charlotte's outfit.


Charlotte's tall slim figure is what make the images stand out.  After shooting in front of the lift, we moved over to the stairs.  When shooting on stairs, I always place the model above me as I do not like shooting downwards.  The perspective is just wrong and give the impression of large head and short legs.


I had to add another light out of view to light up the back wall, other wise, the background was just too dark and did not look right.  We tried various poses and these three stands out for me.




I generally like quirky unusual poses, but this time I went for a more conventional look.  As always, I tended to only edit the minimum number of photos as I truly believe less is more.  These five images are the best out of many.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Opium Latex with Emilia Vile Salmon


I was lucky enough to shoot with Emilia at Bodyline Studio a few weeks ago.  It was a group shoot and you do not have total control of who, where and when who get to shoot with.  As it happens, I shot Emilia at the white back drop with the largest softbox ever!  I did not measure it, the softbox has to be about 3m in diameter.  She was wearing an outfit by Opium Latex and it looks like it was made to measure for her.




Lighting was simple, the large softbox was slight off to the left and two large reflectors were on the right to fill out any shadow.  With such a large softbox, the light just wrap around the model, the quality of the light was amazing.



Emilia was a great model and able to pull off many poses without direction.  When I want a change, I only had to tell her and she was able to adapt very quickly.



I did not need a lot of time to produce some great images.  It was hard to choose the images to edit afterwards, they were all so good and I only want to process the best few.  When you shoot against a plain background, you need a good model that can pull out a variety of poses, Emilia did just that.  Since there is little distraction, you have the viewer’s full attention, the smallest change in pose or expression can make a large difference to the total look.  I am very happy with how these photos turned out.

All Photos:
Model: Emilia Vile Salmon
Latex: Opium Latex

Monday, April 1, 2013

Olympus 9-18mm F3.5-5.6 Experience

9-19mm lens fitted to E-PM2 in retracted position

9-18mm lens in ready to shoot position

Since selling my Sigma 10-20mm lens for my Canon DSLR, I do not have an ultra wide lens any more.  It is a focal length you do not tend to use all the time, but very useful for creating perspective that is very unusual.  Used creatively, very striking images can be produced.  This is when the Olympus 9-18mm lens comes in.  In 35mm terms, the angle of view is equivalent to 18-36mm.  Any focal length less than 24mm can be considered ultra wide.  The only other option available for M43 users is the Panasonic 7-14mm F4.  It is a lot wider but twice for cost.  For a lens I will not be using all the time, I cannot justify it.


This lens certainly give you different views

The lens is very small and light.  However, the length doubles when it is extended from its’ travel position to the shooting position.  Considering the cost of the lens, Olympus still does not supply a lens hood.  I was told by the marketing manager of Olympus UK, Mark Thackara, Olympus users do not use the lens hood, so they are not supplied.  Of course, I disagree and use a hood as much as possible.  I shoot with studio lights a lot and finds lens hood helps a lot with preventing flares.


Distortion looks OK for an ultra wide 


How well does it perform?  From my experience of shooting with it for just over a month, I find it sharp enough, but not as sharp as my regular lens, the Panasonic 20mm F1.7.  Focus speed is fast and silent.  As a wide angle lens, I use it mainly to create unusual shooting angle and view points.   For that it work very well and distortion does not look too bad either.

Looks far away even though I was next to him


EPM2 with 10 stop ND filter


The ultra wide angle lens option for M43 users is very small.  Apart from this lens, the only others are the Sanyang 7.5mm F3.5 fisheye and the Panasonic 7-14mm.  It is not as sharp as the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 or the Olympus 45mm F1.8, but still respectable and do well as a landscape lens.  When I have shot more with this lens, I will add more images shot using it.