Having done a few shoots in and around Wiltshire I decided it was time to travel a bit further afield, so I headed for the south coast. My reason was to hook up and work with with wonderful Milly Jean. We hadn’t worked together before so its always a bit nerve-racking meeting someone for the first time and then trying to get the most personal and intimate photographs of them.
I needn’t have worried as Milly’s just a lovely, down to earth person and a perfect subject to shoot. She has a look that changes depending on the smallest shifts in pose and considering I’m shooting portraits, thats pretty impressive.
For this project it’s also extremely helpful as it makes scrolling through the photographs in post production much simpler. My technique for this crucial stage of my processing is to put on some mood music (usually something that fits emotionally with my project intent) and scroll through the images one by one. For this work, I convert them all to B&W and boost the contrast so that I get an overall ‘feel’ for how they’d look converted properly. I then make the selection of the shots I’d like to ‘investigate further’ by flagging them in Adobe’s Lightroom Classic CC. If while doing this I come across a shot that takes my breath away, I also add a colour tag so that I can identify it when I return.
When I’ve gone through all the shots I’ll then be quite brutal and change my viewing mode to “Flagged only” and then go through my chosen frames one by one making more shot specific alterations such as cropping, exposure and tonal changes. All this is just to get an overall impression of how the final image might look if I decided to edit it fully. Usually, any technical problems with the photograph itself such as focus misses or exposure problems, I’d remove the flag and move on, however, for this particular project, I’m less concerned with technical perfection and more concerned with ‘mood’. Having done this I’ll walk from them and re-visit the folder on another day. It’s amazing the difference a day makes when editing! Sometimes a shot that you believe is a world beater and work on for hours can the following day look nothing special at all so time is my friend here.
Milly’s shoot was a joy. We spent as much time chatting and laughing and getting to know each other as we did shooting which certainly helps for a more intuitive and successful shoot. I’ve edited a whole bunch and still haven’t decided quite which one I’ll use as my final choice. The impressive thing is, I have a number to choose from which isn’t always the case!
I’ve embarked on a new project that’s aimed at simple, natural portraits of beauty.
I make no apology for this. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I’m holding the camera! So it’s my eye, my take and my series.
I’ve started with four amazing models that’ve each been fun and exciting to work with. Their abilities and skills in achieving my aims have been amazing. Although the brief sounds simple enough, it takes a great degree of effort, practice and dedication to simply “look natural”. Add into that, a lighting set up and a photographer gabbling on ten to the dozen and you have to know what you’re doing as a model!
The series will one day be published in a coffee table book but will take some time to amass a portfolio. However, the shots published here won’t be the ones I’ll use, not the shot I’ve chosen as the photo that ‘takes my breath away’! However, they will hopefully give you a flavour and serve as a reminder for me.
The intention is to produce them all in a B&W. I saw a video of shots of actors, some posed, some shot on set but all having a natural, almost candid feel to them. As a lot were stars from yesteryear, most were taken on mono film and that’s the look I’ve adopted. It isn’t a revolutionary style or anything that will wow the photographic community but I don’t normally shoot with B&W in mind and it’s been some time since I produced anything without colour. My usual attitude is that it takes away a vital aspect of information from the viewer and is an oft used excuse for poor colour management/composition by the photographer, so this series is a challenge for me.
This session with Rebecca Perry was shot here at my place. Rebecca arrived and we chatted and drank tea as we got to know each other. For the next 2-3 hours we shot and chatted and laughed and shot. The lovely thing about these projects is that you meet wonderful people as strangers and, after an intense and personal period of time, you inevitably leave as friends. This is exactly what happened with Rebecca. (I’m planning on writing a blog post just about the creative process and it’s alluring and seductive aspects which sometimes lead to misunderstood emotions.) Rebecca’s an amazingly brave and driven individual. She has that gorgeous sophisticated look, professionalism and hard work ethic that will take her far in whatever career she eventually ends up in whether that remains modelling or not.
I love this shot but have not given it the green light as the ‘one’ because it looks and feels too much like a studio shot. It wasn’t but it could easily be mistaken for one. As for her beauty, well, that’s for you to decide!