Hip Hip Hooray! It’s my Birthday today! I’m currently in a mystery location where my boyfriend has planned lots of Birthday surprises for me. Follow my Instagram story for updates! He told me on Monday what items I would need to pack and that’s it. I have also included a trusty camera to my bag because you never know when it might be needed!
I’m 26 today. Blimey! How exciting! It’s weird to think that ten years ago I was in high school doing my GCSEs. Wow! Lots of people get really upset or put out about birthdays. They don’t like the idea of getting older and melt down a little bit. I’m quite the opposite. Birthdays are exciting! Another year of experiences, adventures, ups and downs. I enjoy making the most of life and grasping each opportunity with both hands wherever I can.
I hope this doesn’t come across as cliche (although I think it’s unavoidable!) but I really think I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my photography over this year. I’ve come to understand the importance of confidence, personally and creatively. It makes me feel like I have purpose and direction. Photography has given me the opportunity to meet and work with lots of amazing people. It has been soooo much fun! Thank you for making each photo session so bloody amazing! I am having the best time! Life is good.
I have lots of goals and ambitions for this year. I’m hoping to continue to kick it up a notch! I’d love you all to be a part of the adventure, so if you’re looking for some photographs to be taken please get in touch. I am always looking for new faces to photograph, new projects to get my teeth stuck into and new creatives to create magic with. I’d love to hear from you. Please send any enquiries to [email protected]. We’re going to have so much fun together :)
Of course, I couldn’t resist taking some birthday self portraits. My boyfriend told me that he thought I looked like Veronica Lake (aww!) and I started looking at images of her. I love images from this period and I wanted to put my own spin on it. I hung up some material in front of a big light source, put a light in between myself and the backdrop so that I stood out from it more. I dressed up in an elegant dress and put a crown in my hair because I’m the birthday girl! ;) There was a light in front but to one side of me which created the dramatic shadows. I enhanced this in Photoshop and Lightroom before changing the colours to monochrome.
I put out a lil message on my Instagram asking whether anyone is looking for a photographer. My friend Rubina dropped me a message saying she would like some photos taken and asked if Rebecca could do the hair and make-up, which of course, I jumped to the opportunity to work with Rebecca again!
I like to keep things simple when planning a photo shoot. I usually look for a certain colour palette or mood and take it from there. Rubina has really bright, expressive eyes and feminine features which I really wanted to focus on. I asked Rubina to style her own outfits, choosing things she feels comfortable in whilst following a dark colour palette. This was easy for Rubina as she was actually worried that every outfit would be just black! We threw in an injection of colour with a bold green patterned jacket and accessories to match.
For the hair and make-up, Rebecca wanted to show Rubina’s edgy, effortlessly cool side of her personality. She created a Lagertha inspired fauxhawk and matched in with cat-flick eyeliner and a bold red lip. Pairing this with the styling was perfection. Rubina looked incredible!
I chose an alleyway by the Mischief pub as the location for our photo shoot. This isn’t a large area, but I was able to use a good selection of little areas that had interesting textures, a similar colour palette and enough variation to create a story, add progression and unique background features throughout the shoot. In total, we shot four looks and I carefully selected a different location to complement and contrast each outfit. I often walk by this alleyway when heading in and out of the city, so I already knew where I’d like to take the photos before the day of the shoot. This helps me to feel a bit more prepared and shows the team that I’ve considered lots of different elements that will help make killer photos. I also like to hear whether the team have any ideas about where or how to shoot things. New ideas are great for taking the shoot further.
Prior to the shoot, Rubina confessed to me that she hadn’t really had her picture taken before and although she felt in very safe hands with myself and Rebecca, she did feel a little bit self conscious. This is completely understandable. I often take photos of people who are not used to having their picture taken, but once they get in front of my camera they start to relax. I don’t always have the camera in front of my face. Instead I like to have a chat and a laugh, because photo shoots are meant to be fun. On the day of the shoot, I wanted Rubina to feel comfortable, relaxed and enjoy the experience. So we got chatting about what we have been up to, how her journey was to Norwich, the last season of Game Of Thrones (OH MY GOOOOD!) and I knew Rubina and Rebecca were going to see Little Mix that evening so we talked about that and how excited they both were. It was great. When I did have my camera up taking photos, I directed her with really simple poses or gestures. I’d either ask her to do something or I’d show her so that she could copy me. I honestly don’t think she needed much direction, she looked so beautiful and at ease in every shot. Take a look and see for yourself!
When Helen told me she wanted to base the shoot around her statement deep purple Gucci bag I was soo excited! I headed over to my beloved Pinterest and refreshed my memory on classic Gucci imagery, in particular looking at the way bags are photographed. On the day I felt prepared to capture all the details of the bag as well as the rest of Helen’s outfit. I think it is really helpful to keep looking at imagery to stay inspired and look at your subject with fresh eyes.
I really love capturing geometric elements in images and the location was perfect for this. We shot outside of Rose Lane’s Car Park. It’s the funkiest building EVER! The spots of the building contrasted the stripes of Helen’s trousers, whilst the warm yellow perfectly complemented Helen’s hair and bag. We were absolutely buzzing!
We then wandered down to All Bar One and spotted their sweet yellow chairs and could not resist taking a few photos. We had a drink, a lil rest and a catch up before moving on to the next location with the second outfit.
The second look was all about being bold in what you wear, choosing items because they make you feel happy and confident. We were feeling thirsty for yellow. On the hunt, searching for the perfect yellow backdrop. The mission was a success as we found the cutest yellow camper van, and certainly made the most of it. We then found a yellow house where the building opposite was casting fantastic shadows. We were spoilt for choice and I was feeling trigger happy! We also decided to take some photos in front of a blue building and a grey building to make Helen stand out more in the foreground. The blue building in particular created a romantic, dreamy feel to the images. Gawwwguss!
Helen films the fun we get up to on our shoots together, so go take a look at her channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/helenmelonworld/featured