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 :) 

Mind Travel

You know those personality tests where they ask you to imagine yourself in a setting and it proceeds to ask you questions about the setting. Well, imagine you’re in the middle of the desert and in front of you is a cube. That’s how my mind works when I think up ideas for my self portraits. Although a lot of my friends would disagree, I am a quiet person. I like to be quiet and sit and think. Like the personality quiz, an image of a place (whether it be a place I have been to, a place I created in a dream, or a place in a movie) will form in my mind’s eye and I focus on it. If I have been there before I will walk around it, going through my memories like a picture book. For the places I have never been, I try to imagine how I would feel walking around it. I use my senses to question the smells, the feel of my surroundings, what I am seeing, the sounds and possibly even the tastes (we’ve all pictured a cake shop from time to time, right?!). I consider the location for my self portraits to be crucial for storytelling. I hone in on what I want my surroundings to look like and will search for the perfect reflection of what my mind has created.

I then become the mysterious cube in the desert. I welcome myself into the location. I consider what I could be doing in the location; am I alone? How do I feel? What am I wearing? The image of myself become imprinted into the location as though I have always belonged there. My body slowly transform into a gesture or pose and soonI have developed my first image for my self portrait series. I continue in the pursuit of the series by exploring the location, finding areas suitable to the story and the character of myself. Where am I going? Am I waiting for someone? For other photo shoots (particularly fashion and portraits) I like poses that are relaxed, in an effortlessly cool manner. I want the location and myself to blend well as though we belong together, like soul mates… I guess. 

There is a ladder. How does the ladder interact with the cube? I bring with me a a selection of props or I will try to find props that are already part of the landscape to give the images variety. The concept of using a prop, particularly one from the location, helps to ground my character as though they have an intimate connection. The photos feel less like, “here’s me by a bush” and more “me and the bush are connected and are going to take you on a lil journey”. 

I always try to recreate what I see in my minds eye. I ache to create and capture the world that only my mind sees. My mind is always wandering. 

Let’s Talk About June

Where did June go? Did I miss it?! I swear the days go by so quickly. I can’t keep up! Let’s revisit June. Come and jump in my time machine and let’s go on a somewhat magical journey back to last month. June was a really fun month for me. It was absolutely jam packed with photography goodness! I got to work with lots of lovely businesses, brilliant bloggers and gorgeous couples, so here are my highlights for you!

Lovely Businesses

I kickstarted the month by shooting with the super duper ladies (Rebecca and Kerry) at the Stardust Glitter Bar. We shot at Mousehold woods, along with three lovely models Maisie, Isobel and Vanessa. The girls were transformed into glittery, festival goddesses by the Stardust Glitter Bar. If you have an event, wedding, party or just want to be covered in glitter, I recommend getting in touch with Stardust Glitter Bar.

I had a fabulous time shooting with Yoga Clicks for their new products and look book. I got to work with the team closely, taking photos in Erpingham House, The Cathedral Cloisters and at The Yoga Tree. We had lots of outfits to shoot and the models were perfect for the shoot. At the end of the day I felt like a bit of a yogi, learning all of the poses the models were taught them throughout the day. 

Brilliant Bloggers

I love getting to meet up with my bloggers, have a chat and take some pictures. I felt so fortunate that I got to meet some new bloggers this month to help them with their Instagram and blogs. Here are some of my favourite blogger photos from this month.

Bloggers featured: Styled With Lipstick, Shelley Beth Blog, Beth Atkins & Ginger Natalie

Gorgeous Couples

Wedding season is now in full swing! YAY! I started this month shooting Hazel & Paul’s engagement session with their cute pooch Kirby. We went to the peaceful and beautiful Warren Lodge in Thetford on a sunny evening. It was the perfect light for dreamy romantic portraits. Take a peek below.

If you like what you see and want to find out a little bit more about the photography packages I offer, please send me a message here. 

If you have been following my work for a little bit you may have noticed I have missed something. I didn’t take a self portrait during June and for a couple of reasons. June was mad for me. I felt like I was doing a million things at once but loved feeling busy as my soul is always restless and aching to create. When time was on my side, I felt low or not confident to put myself in front of the camera. I started this project to promote self love, but in honesty I felt l couldn’t promote what I didn’t feel. I am now feeling like I’ve come through the other side of the negativity and hope to take more self portraits during July.