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
When I started getting into photography I had a fine art mind set. Creating art and unusual imagery was my forte. One of my favourite locations to take photos was in the fields behind my house. I would regularly visit these fields with all sorts of costumes and props, along with my beloved camera and tripod in hand ready to create magic. It was exciting and exhilarating. Some times an idea would come to me in the morning and I would rush out that same day to take the photo and upload it to Flickr and Deviantart. The fields represented a space where I could feel free and at peace with my mind. Any worries I had would wash away as I felt at one with nature and my passion.
Let me give you a bit more background to why these fields are important to me. When I was young I used to walk my dog Misty with my sister Lucy countless times. No matter the weather. We would take a camera with us and take photos of Misty running around as well as silly photos of ourselves, of course. Those images mean a lot to me. Especially now Misty has passed away and my sister lives across the pond with her husband Ryne. My friends and I would regularly go for walks across the fields where we lived. This gave us an opportunity to catch up, vent and create many happy memories together. I also have fond memories of walking across the fields with my high school crush (now boyfriend! Woo!). The fields separated his house from mine, so we would often walk across the fields to go to one another’s houses, exchanging glances and holding hands, sharing in-jokes and anecdotes. Good times.
Seven years after my last portrait in the fields, I decided to return to take another self portrait. Why did it take me seven years to return to the fields? Lots of reasons. Mostly because my style of photography had changed dramatically. I moved away from artistic self portraits and focused my attention on fashion and portraits. I gradually started to slip away from the fine art element especially during my last term at university. I realised how much I loved meeting new people, learning their stories and taking pictures of them. Personally, I started to feel more self-conscious and suffered from terrible anxiety for a few years. I didn’t really want to be in front of the camera and felt far more comfortable behind it. A couple of years ago I started dabbling in self portraits again, but only ever focused on headshots and never went outside. I didn’t feel confident taking my camera outside with me and would feel frustrated quite quickly. A month or so ago, I set up my camera in the lounge, put up my backdrop and started to take photos. But something wasn’t clicking. Looking through the shots, they were not how I envisioned them to be. I knew something had to change.
Thursday morning was rainy and miserable. The day I hoped to revisit the fields. It wasn’t until 2pm that the rain decided to disappear. I got myself ready, grabbed my camera and tripod and headed out to the fields. I walked down the back alley towards a side gate where I had previously taken photographs. A lot has changed in seven years. Before the gate was clear with bushes either side. I was in shock to see the gate was overgrown by brambles and wild flowers. In fact you couldn’t see the gate at all! A few years back, It was agreed that the field was going to have a new housing estate built along with a superstore on it, but the contractors ran out of time to start the building work so nothing went ahead. Instead it was left to let nature find a way. It was quite surreal approaching the main entrance of the field where the footpath sign usually would be, to find it wrapped up amongst the wild flowers and the path almost invisible. The normal path you could take was entirely overgrown, so I became an adventurer, creating my own path and exploring the fields with fresh eyes.
My feelings were inescapable. I felt at peace again. Everything I was thinking about in my day to day life had left my mind. All that mattered was being there in that moment. It was perfection. I think the elements were on my side that afternoon, there was no rain to be seen, the sun was coming out to create dramatic lighting and the wind was insane! I swear the wind was trying to knock me and my tripod down! My hat certainly flew off numerous times but none of that mattered. It was all helping me to create photos which reflected how I felt inside. I lost track of time and could have spent longer taking photos there. I went home with the biggest smile on my face.