All you need is love, right? The Beatles knew that. Those five little words got me thinking about just how important love is. Not necessarily a “kissy kissy” kinda love, but a caring, encouraging, supportive love between friends, family or even strangers. Love is for all. I bet you’re thinking, “okay, where are you going with this?” Well, lemme explain…
Christmas was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and family. It was really nice being able to see them, do fun things together and have a good ol’ natter. One thing that came up in conversation often was social media, and in particular, Instagram. It was discussed that the same one or two peoples’ posts would seem to feature multiple times across their feed, and not necessarily in chronological order. These posts are always swiftly followed by advert, upon advert, upon advert, often missing out on the content that they want to see. Also, when posting on Instagram, a lot of people felt deflated that their posts had not done so well, when they originally felt good about posting it. Almost like an addict hooked on the adrenaline of getting “likes”, they would keep opening Instagram to check to see if the post had done any better. I’ve felt a similar way. I’ve noticed that I spend far less time on Instagram than I used to because each time I use the app, I end up feeling down. It makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong.
Well let me tell you something… YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG. You’re all wonderful individuals who deserve to express yourselves in any form you like. YOU DO YOU. This year, I intend to support others more on social media by “liking”, commenting and (where possible) promoting their wonderfulness. Instagram and other social media sites should be a positive space, and they can be used as such, this is why I intend to change the way I perceive and use it. The other day, I was listening to the radio and the DJ was discussing ways of showing your appreciation for the people in your life. He recommended sending a message to a different person each week on a Monday morning telling them how much you care for them and how truly special they are. This small act of kindness will help brighten their day, set them up for the week and give them a boost of confidence and happiness. This really stuck with me and made me realise how genuinely important it is to show someone you care. Something so simple can help someone more than you may know. This really inspires me.
All you need is love. The Beatles were on to something, weren’t they?
Not only was I excited that myself and Eleanor Overvoorde were finally working together, but we planned to do something super duper awesome! Eleanor mentioned that she liked the bloggers portraits that I do around the city centre and wanted something similar for her model portfolio. She recently had a dramatic hair cut from having very long to very short hair, and was after an edgy feel for the shoot to suit her new look. She asked whether we could do an urban running shoot, which I absolutely said yes to, and together we planned a concept for the shoot.
We both excitedly put together Pinterest mood boards to find we were definitely on the same wavelength. We were looking at images of models on steps, stretching or looking like they were getting ready to run, over the shoulder shots, straight on shots and some powerful running action shots. We spotted the landscape in these shots were typically plain or monochrome, so we decided the UEA would be the perfect location for the shoot. The UEA is great for both symmetry and asymmetry, simplistic colour and shape, different levels, staircases and corridors. This was the perfect location because it gave us lots of options to work with for setting up the shot, and built on pre-existing concepts for the urban running theme. For the make-up we wanted to keep the look fresh, a hint of colour and a smidge of dewiness. I asked Kerry Eaglen to help us out with the make-up, who did a flippin’ awesome job as per usual!
I wanted the photo shoot to play out like a work out. We started off with the warm up (sitting, stretching etc), to running and finishing with the cool down. Of course, I didn’t make Eleanor run the whole time (I’m not that evil, I promise!). Instead we took it really slowly, and only asked her to run in short blasts so she wouldn’t tire herself out. For example, I would ask Eleanor to run towards me or away from me with only the need to take a few steps at a time. I do this for two reasons. First of all, it keeps the action simple and easy to amend, such as “that was great, turn your face a little to the left next time.” And secondly, it is easier for me to get the focus on her whilst she is moving. Eleanor goes running regularly and enjoys it, so this certainly was the photo shoot for her. For the cool down, we found some striking steps that worked well in the background. As soon as we both caught a glimpse of the steps we uttered in unison “Woah!” The reason we liked them so much was due to the plants crawling up and over the concrete as though conquering the manmade structure. We couldn’t resist it! The action or pose for this section was based around calmer movements, such as sitting or walking.
What I love about these photos is the grittiness and contrast between the light and dark tones. I think the location helps to showcase this. The UEA is a great location for being simplistic, geometric and monochrome whilst also keeping the background stimulating throughout the series. Eleanor interacts with the location really well, her poses are both natural and expressive, and feels really in tune with the theme of the shoot throughout. I feel truly happy that I was able to be a part of this shoot, and grateful that Eleanor asked me to take photos for her. Although I have worked on action shots and sport shoots previously, I always like to build on the work I have done and develop my skills. Furthering knowledge and creating should always be a fun process.
I picked up my phone noticing I had received a message on Instagram. Opening it, my interest was immediately peaked. It was from Amanda who was looking for advice in getting into modelling. I advised that working with photographers is a good way to start building up a book and that I would love to help her start her modelling adventure. With that we set up a shoot together, I arranged for my dear friend and make-up artist Beth Atkins to do the make-up and I put together a mood board and call sheet so that everything was in one place for all three of us to see. Call sheets are great for organising every aspect of the shoot so that the team know exactly what is happening and at what time. I’m a bit of an organisation nerd and really enjoy (perhaps enjoy it a little too much!) putting together the call sheet.
We all met at Beth’s place for her to do the make-up. We settled on a shimmery brown smokey eye and warm lip colour to suit the look of the shoot. I wanted to keep everything very simple, especially as it was Amanda’s first photo shoot, so we went for an autumnal look, really natural, pretty, fresh. A great start for a model portfolio book. A lot of agencies look for quite subtle or commercial make-up/hair looks so that it is clear what the model naturally looks like to people intending to book models. Of course some model agencies like the more avant-garde styling images to be in the model’s book to show versatility, but I felt that doing this may be outside of Amanda’s comfort zone and not suited to the style of imagery I take. Beth did a wonderful job of the make-up, the eye shadow and lip colour were identical to the images I pulled up from the mood board. I’m truly in awe of her talent. For Amanda, having make-up done was an entirely new experience for her. Beth helped to make it really relaxing and enjoyable, and we were all nattering away about movies, work, coffee, life.. yanno, anything and everything.
Once the make-up was done, Amanda and I hopped in my car and we headed for Eaton Park. So, you know I was saying about how I love being organised and making a call sheet. Well, sometimes things don’t exactly go to plan. But that’s okay. If you have followed my blog for a little while now, you may have seen a previous post where the rain meant that instead of taking photos outside, we had to take them inside (read blog post here). Another case of thinking on my feet. I guess that’s just life! In this instance, we were driving along and chatting about all sorts of things and then we reached the car park. There were lots of cars queueing but we thought “meh, let’s give it a go”. We probably shouldn’t have bothered! Ha! Eaton Park car park was filled to the brim with cars. Cars that were parked in set out spaces and cars that were parked on the side of the narrow road in a sort of “I guess that will have to do” fashion. We followed a line of cars who slowly made their way down a narrow road lined by parked cars jutting out awkwardly, turned round at the end and then headed back eventually to the car park entrance. On a rare occasion that a parking space did become free it was a bit like that scene in The Simpsons where homer goes to park in multiple spaces and then a car quickly pulls in in front of him to take the space. D’oh! Amanda and I found the whole situation funny and just laughed it off, a lot of other people looked quite annoyed though! When we got to the entrance we decided to change the shoot location to Earlham Park, just down the road, which was soooo much quieter and I think was actually a more appropriate setting for Amanda as there were less people around to make her feel nervous or uncomfortable. Trust me, it can feel strange when passers by just stare as they walk pass! It was so nice and quiet at Earlham Park that we spent the majority of the time alone or at a good distance away from people, which helps when you’re not used to having your picture taken.
Anyhoo, we made it to the location. Amanda had brought with her multiple outfit options, as she was taking them out of her bag I kept making excitable “Oooh” sounds! It was great because we had so much to choose from! We were particularly indecisive about the red dress or the brown dress, but eventually decided on the brown, which works so well with the other outfits we used for the previous shots. The colours and style of the outfits were all really simple and feminine. They looked great in the setting of Earlham Park too. We went for three different outfits and shot each outfit twice in a different area of the park.
My intention for the shoot was to direct Amanda as much as possible, whilst explaining why I am directing her in such a way and teaching her top tips. I wanted to share as much I could about modelling through my own experiences as both a photographer and a model. For each location we shot at, I positioned her either by sitting or standing, describing where to face, where to put her hands, her legs etc. I’d then look at her hair or clothes and make sure they were sitting right so they looked good in the photos. I’d then take some photos, make some changes in her poses or ask her to do certain natural movements to change it up a bit. She was absolutely amazing! She moved really naturally in front of the camera and is captivating in every shot.
I thoroughly enjoyed this shoot with Amanda, not only is she great to photograph, she is such a sweet person who I had a fab time hanging out with. I hope that Amanda gains even more confidence in front of the camera and takes up more modelling work. I would definitely work with her again and cannot recommend her enough.
If you are looking to start your own modelling career or are looking to add more images to your book, please send me a message as I would love to help you out. Let’s create some killer photos together! :D