Model Coaching With Amanda

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

SHUBA Magazine

Yelena Buck and I have worked together on a previous shoot back in 2013, so I was over the moon when she agreed to work with me on a new project. Last year I worked on several magazine editorials, and thoroughly enjoyed working with such incredible creatives. Together, Yelena and I assembled a team who we thought would be perfect for this shoot. 

Yelena creates insanely beautiful lingerie, inspired by nature using earthy tones and delicate details, we focused on using the pretty, warm yellow Sweet Daisy set. I adore warm tones, particularly yellow, and wanted to find a location that suited these tones. We first started looking at function rooms within Norwich, but found they were too cluttered, or dark, or gave us little privacy for shooting underwear. That’s when I realised the perfect location was right under my nose, only a five minute walk from my house! We shot in an old court house, now used for events and clubs. The building still has a lot of character (still with creepy cells at the back of the building), the gorgeous wooden clad rooms and tiled corridors were perfect tonally and suited the feel of the shoot. 

I got in touch with Lynsey at Pretty Little Rentals who agreed to style the shoot for us. I was fortunate enough to meet Lynsey at a wedding fair at the beginning of the year. I loved her enthusiasm for her business and all things pretty. We got on really well and I knew that I wanted to keep her as an important contact for future shoots and weddings. Her rustic and vintage style was perfect for the look of the shoot, and I was super duper excited to have her be a part of the team. 

We wanted to find another creative who could add something extra to the styling, and suited the earthy, rustic feel we were going for. After scrolling through lots of websites and instagram accounts, we found Sophie at Moon and Moss Jewellery. We both previously knew Sophie and her beautiful pieces, and thought that she would be a perfect fit for the shoot. 

That’s when we got in touch with Kerry at Sparkle With Kerry to be our make-up artist. Kerry has a wonderful eye for colour and eye-catching make-up looks (just check out her Instagram page.. it will blow you away!). I worked with Kerry previously for her Stardust Glitter Bar shoot and I absolutely adored working with her. She is such a friendly, kind person and her make-up skills are on point! 

We put out a casting call for a blonde female model and had lots of interest for the shoot. Cathy reached out to me, and we felt that she would be wonderful for the shoot. She has lots of modelling, acting and dancing experience, which would help to portray the feel we were after. On the day she captivated all of us, her posing and expressions were flawless whilst making the styling, make-up and location all come together as though it was meant to be. 

On the day we set up multiple areas to shoot in and tried to incorporate all of our areas of expertise where we could. Our plan was to keep it as simplistic as possible so that each individual image was impactful. I think Cathy helped us to achieve this by keeping the posing different in every shot. Yelena brought three sets with her for us to shoot and we tried two set ups per lingerie set. We would change Cathy’s hair style in each set up so the styling was dynamic. We wanted to use as many areas of the courthouse as we could to give the series variety and interest. The building is so interesting to walk around and explore, so we wanted to make the most of this. Variety was key throughout the shoot. 

I love working with natural light, outdoors and indoors. Window light can be so affective for setting the mood in an image. Depending on where you pose your model and the composition, the directional light coming from the window creates depth to the image. Unfortunately when shooting in the corridors there was less natural light to work with. We had to shoot quite close to two pairs of double doors with mottled glass windows to get any form of good lighting to work with. We couldn’t open the doors to let in more light as they were locked (D’oh!). At this time of day, the sunlight was falling through the windows on the opposite side of the building, which made the corridors even darker. I always bring with me some back up lights just in case it is too dark to work with natural light, but I really didn’t want to use them. I didn’t want to use them because if I use the flash in one set up and not in the others, that set up would look disconnected from the rest of the series. We turned on the lights in the hallway behind Cathy and kept her facing towards the light through the doors. We were originally going to use the hallway behind Cathy to take the photos as we all really liked the symmetry in this area. However this area was too dark, the lighting was too artificial, and there was lots of signs on the walls which could not be taken down. The photos did not fit in well with what we had previously taken, but moving towards those double doors really helped to keep the photos working as a series. 

Although the location was a dream to work with, and I wanted to capture as much of it as I could, I also wanted to get some detail shots of the clothing, jewellery and make-up. The beauty shots help to break up the full length fashion shots whilst showcasing just how freaking amazing the team are. All the pieces came together so well, from the location, the set, the lingerie, the jewellery, the make-up, the hair and of course Cathy doing her thaaang in every shot. Dayum, guurrl! :)

I really liked Cathy’s feminine, dancing, abstract poses throughout the shoot. The poses give character to her story, grounding her to the location. She interacts so well with the location, as though we’ve just walked in on her space where she feels so relaxed and connected, both physically and spiritually. I honestly cannot stop praising Cathy for how amazing she was on the shoot. Her poise and elegance is timeless. I’m truly in awe of her. 

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with this truly fabulous team. They all put their all in to the shoot, were really committed to creating some fab photos, which was a really lovely experience to be a part of. I’m also super duper proud because we are lucky enough to get our photos put in SHUBA magazine. Woooooohooooo! *High fives all around* Please take a look at the magazine and feel free to purchase your own copy (link below). I am so thankful that the magazine picked up our images and we have a really lovely feature titled “Court Of Daisies” in the magazine. Thank you to SHUBA for selecting our editorial and thank you to Yelena, Lynsey, Sophie, Kerry and Cathy for making it possible and being super stars. 

Team Credits:

Yelena Buck -

Lynsey @ Pretty Little Rentals -

Sophie @ Moss And Moon Jewellery -

Kerry @ Sparkle With Kerry -

Cathy -

Check out the Magazine here:

Buy a copy here:

Making The Most Of What Is Around You

Living in the UK means the weather can be great one moment then dire the next. It’s annoying but you kinda get used to it. I actually like the sunshine and the rain, so whatever the skies decide to do is a-ok with me. However what is annoying is when you book a client for an outdoor shoot and the heavens open. Not a-ok, buddy. In saying that, this change of weather brings new opportunities and I have no choice but to think on my feet. I enjoy a challenge.

The first part of Sancha’s photo shoot was to take a clean headshot against a white backdrop. I got out my white roll, fixed it up, took a handful of photos. Stage one done. Chhheck! As the first part of the shoot was going to be taken indoors, this was no problem at all. The head shots were always going to be taken at my house but we had intended to go outside and walk around the village for some street style portraits. But the rain persisted so we had to use what was available. My house. 

Okay, so I have to admit that I’m totally fine with using my house for the shoot location. I have taken so many photos in this house so I know where the best light is instantly. However we didn’t want the photos to look like something I had already photographed previously. I want to give each client a unique set of images. I immediately ruled off the upstairs of my house. Although I love the decor upstairs I have A) shot their multiple times, particularly for my self portraits and B) not tidied up! ;)  Instead I focused on two areas, the conservatory and the kitchen. The conservatory is flooded with gorgeous soft light and is really flexible for multiple shots without needing to shift anything around. The colours in the conservatory consist of neutral based tones through to warmer tones. This is also why I decided to shoot in the kitchen because the tones were similar and worked well as a set of images. 

There are several elements that are worth considering when shooting in a small area with a model. First of all, I like to show the model some images of poses, a mood board, or images that have a distinctive feel to them. I personally like poses that are quite candid and chilled out, with a hint of sassiness to them (of course!). With Sancha, I showed her images of models in relaxed poses so she had an idea of how I would direct her and so she could form her own ideas. The poses need to work with the setting and the lighting needs to set the mood whilst flattering the model. For each set up I would ask Sancha to position herself in a specific way, watch her get into position and then make slight alterations to perfect the shot. For example, adjusting her hair or outfit. I would also make sure the area is clear and there is nothing creeping into shot or distracting me from her. An example of this is removing cushions from the sofa so they didn’t distract from Sancha by being too patterned or bright. It is always best to keep the shot as simple as possible.

I tried four different set ups in the conservatory; Sancha sitting on the sofa, Sancha shot through the window, Sancha on the floor in front of the sofa and one shot above Sancha with the tiles as the backdrop (just noticed how many times I said “Sancha” in that sentence! Wowee!). I felt at this point we had really made the most out of this area and the photos flowed really well without looking too repetitive.

So we went through to the kitchen. The kitchen is a much larger room with three light sources. One at the front, one to the side and one at the back of the room. I asked Sancha to sit at the breakfast table and sit with her arms stretched out across it. I really like playing with perspective at the moment and adore shots with body parts or objects closer to the camera and the models face in the middle of the shot. Her arms help to frame her face and direct us working as leading lines towards her face. 

After that I asked Sancha to sit on the floor against the wooden cabinets, again with her legs facing towards the camera. This tricks the camera to make Sancha look taller and directs the eye up towards her face. This area was much darker than the breakfast bar but I didn’t want to bring in another light source as it may make these photos not work so well in the set by creating something that feels artificial. I adjusted the camera settings accordingly to make this setting work.

At this point it was still raining and we both felt like we had made the most of these two spaces. We looked outside and decided to embrace the rain.. or at least somewhat embrace it. Sancha took her mum’s umbrella and we headed into the garden. We took several photos of her holding the umbrella but we both thought something looked a bit off. Sancha threw down the umbrella and we took a quick blast of shots before we became too soggy and headed swiftly back indoors. I really like the photo of Sancha against the brick wall. The diagonal lines of the wall behind her are really unusual and the pop of pink from her jacket pulls you in. She looks super sassy too which makes the photo that little bit more fab-u-lous!

I hope this blog post helps you when taking portraits in your own house or in a small location. It is always worth considering how the light enters the space and where you can best place your model within the room. If something doesn’t work then change it up. Make sure you direct the person you are taking photos of and offer suggestions on where to put their hands (etc). Try to put across a mood or feeling throughout the images to tell a story and make the photos flow well between each of them. I’d love to see your own photos that you took in a small location, send them my way via the CONTACT page :)