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Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 London

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 London

Last year I had a pleasure to attend the Miss USSR UK 2012/2013 Grand Final at Logan Hall in London. I vas invited by one of the girls as a guest. She has managed to arrange a press pass, allowing me to take some photos. So I did. Quite few actually (check out my post from this event right here: Miss USSR UK 2012-2013). My photos spread out quickly and started circulating between girls/contestants, guest performers, also reaching press and organisers themselves. I guess they liked it because this year they have offered me an honour to be the Official Photographer for this year’s contest. We have scheduled six castings in various London’s trendy night clubs, semi final and Grand Finale.

The first casting took place in Libertine. Although the trendy design of the club and great, atmospheric lighting made a very pleasing background for beautiful contestants my job was anything but easy. Our live photo shoot was scheduled as one of the main attractions for all the guests and audience. Not very often I have couple of hundred people watching me shoot. Needles too say that the girls felt even more pressure since it is not something they do every day and definitely not in front of so many people. Good, loud music and some freebies from the bar kept the spirits high! We have managed to get through!

Few samples below. No photoshop! (for obvious reasons).

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

Miss USSR UK 2013-2014 exclusive London casting photos

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Homework before the shoot. Fashion photography London.

Homework before the shoot. Fashion photography London.

Fashion photography London. Beautiful romantic dress, stunning beach location at sunset.

Today I’d like to walk you through my preparations process before a fashion shoot.

I chose this particular one for couple of reasons. It had some extra factors that you normally wouldn’t consider and it makes rather cool story.

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So let’s start from the beginning.

I stumbled upon this location while shooting different job near by. I liked it so I came back the next day for a closer look. I took some iPhone reference photos.

I love the geotagging function. It let’s me easily find where exactly this photo was taken.

You’d be amazed how many old photos of really cool locations I have but can no longer remember where they were taken.

photo 2

iPhone photo

Fast forward couple of months and I got an assignment to shoot this beautiful dress for one of my clients. The dress was made from very fine fabric. It felt weightless and somewhat romantic. So we decided to focus on those qualities. We wanted to produce picture that would feel like sort of modern fairytale.

We’ve agreed on the concept.

I have shown pictures of the location to my client and they were very enthusiastic about the whole thing. What they didn’t know that our “perfect location” for best part of the day is submerged good couple of meters below the River Thames surface. I’ve checked the tides time table for our shoot date an it looked like we’d be able to shoot for around two hours.

Next step was the lighting. Whenever I shoot outdoors, I always check the sun’s position and direction so I know what to expect and can plan accordingly.

There is great iPhone app for it called Sun Seeker

Sun Seeker app screenshot.

Sun Seeker app screenshot.

Turns out that although the beach will be available for two hours, the sun sets one our earlier leaving us only one hour to shoot. So there was no time for mistakes and experiments I had it planned all to last bit.

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On the shoot day we have arrived on location about an hour earlier. Needless to say that when my client saw deep, filthy water instead romantic beach she started to panic! We have used the spare time for some finishing touches on hair and make up. Although it was rather dull and cloudy day within that hour beautiful golden, setting sun broke through creating most amazing light we could hope for.

London sunset reflection on Canary Wharf buildings.

Beautiful sunset light (straight from the camera)

The shoot went great. We had our image and were really happy with the result.

After the sun has set we have manage to take last couple of shots with beautiful and soft dusk light that I have later converted to black&white to complement the mood.

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So here it is, if it wasn’t for careful research and planning to the smallest detail this shoot could quickly turn to a total disaster. My advice, always do your homework.

Fashion Photography London, fashion shoot preparations.

Fashion photography London shoot BHS

BHS photo taken by my lovely assistant Jen.

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Fashion photography London. Romantic pattern dress on moody, nostalgic beach location.

Fashion photography London. Romantic pattern dress on moody, nostalgic beach location.


Celebrity portrait London – Mark Heyes

Celebrity portrait London – Mark Heyes

Celebrity portrait London - Mark Heyes. ITV presenter, author, fashion guru.

Few days ago I had a pleasure to photograph ITV’s presenter, author, fashion guru and face of several clothing lines Mark Heyes. As you would expect from any celebrity it took us ages, several cancelations, adjustments etc to work out when he could possibly find an hour for this session. We have managed to squeeze it in between New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week. Uffff.

The brief was quite simple we needed couple of different headshots of different moods and expressions and if time allows some three quarters promo shots that could be used online and in printed publications.

I work with actors and presenters quite often but it always amazes me that those people that spend half of their life in front of the camera get really stiff and very self conscious when it comes to still photography.

Mark is really cool guy so he did not mind me bossing him around a bit and motivating to maximum effort in this short time we had. I had everything set up and ready for the headshots so we have managed to get them done in no time and could move on to wider promo shots.

Those took little longer since we had couple of different sets and lighting setups to go through. We have actually run over scheduled time by 10 minutes or so but Mark, pleased with results, really got into it at the end and did not mind that at all.

Probably the least happy person was his driver that would call us every two minutes panicking that he is not going to make it in time for recording in ITV’s studios. I didn’t have any angry phone calls from ITV so I guess they made it.

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That’s it for today. As usual feel free to post comments and ask questions.
Will talk to you soon…

Celebrity portrait London - Mark Heyes. ITV presenter, author, fashion guru.

 

Celebrity portrait London - Mark Heyes. ITV presenter, author, fashion guru.

 

Celebrity portrait London - Mark Heyes. ITV presenter, author, fashion guru.

 

Celebrity portrait London - Mark Heyes. ITV presenter, author, fashion guru.

 

Celebrity portrait London - Mark Heyes. ITV presenter, author, fashion guru.

 

130906_Mark_Heyes_0231-E-E


Commercial Photography London – Stewardess

Commercial Photography London – Stewardess.

Commercial photography London. Sexy stewardess, flight attendant with a silver suitcase.

This meant to be easy job. Simple advert picture. Sexy stewardess on the plain background, one, maximum two poses.

That was until my client showed up in the studio and casually mentioned that it would be a shame to waste such lovely, sunny day in the studio. We get around two or three of those in a year here in London, so I kinda understand where he was coming from.

Easier said than done. For general public it seems irrelevant but every photog would know that this requires completely different approach and most importantly different set of tools when it comes to lighting.

Needless to say that being prepared for a studio shoot I did not have any outdoor, portable lights. I looked around the studio, the only thing I could use was a decent size silver reflector and no assistant to hold it. I looked at my client, he was rather excited about the whole going out idea so I asked him: “Hey Mark, are you up for an adventure?” Hi enthusiastically nodded his head so I handed him the reflector and off we went.

I couldn’t exactly shoot a stewardess strolling in the park. We needed to find a background that will at least create an illusion that she actually belongs to the scene. Trespassing nearby constriction site with half finished glass buildings seemed like a brilliant idea.

So here we are me with my case full of camera gear, stewardess in full uniform, 5″ heels and a suitcase and Mark with his 4x6ft giant reflector blown around like a drunken sailor, sneaking through fences, concrete blocks and mud paddles. Pure joy to onlookers!
Anyway we’ve made it through. From now on it went pretty smooth. Our model Karolina was fantastic, Mark my client/assistant was bravely fighting the wind and as a result of this heroic team effort we came back with some great images.

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The sun was shining, the client was over the moon with both the images and the “experience” and although flipped upside down it was another fantastic day in the field.
I know, I could’ve said NO in the first place and stick to the original brief given by the client but I always try to under promise and over deliver. It keeps my clients happy and my business blooming.

P.S

Mark and myself had hard time deciding which of the two wide angle images should be used as large banner, billboard printed advert. So what do you think?

Commercial photography London. Sexy stewardess, flight attendant with a silver suitcase.

Commercial photography London. Sexy stewardess, flight attendant with a silver suitcase.


Miss USSR 2013 London UK Final

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final, London, Logan Hall.

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

I have been recently invited to photograph Miss USSR 2013 UK final. It took place in fashionable Logan Hall in central London. The event was truly fantastic! Beautiful girls, great entertainment and crazy after party! All in Eastern European fashion!
Here is a few photos to prove it.
Enjoy!

 

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall

Miss USSR 2013 UK Final London Logan Hall


Acting headshots London. Best tip you will ever get.

Acting headshots London

As some of you may already know quite a few of last ten years I have lived in “great country” of United States. While there is many things that are arguably better then here in UK there is also few that they actually do get right.

Today I’d like to talk about one in particular – acting headshots. So when I moved to London I just couldn’t get my head around the ancient concept of black and white headshots in vertical orientation. It seems like time has stopped here 100 years ago.

Hasn’t anyone noticed that nobody makes black and white movies any more?

So why on earth would you like your headshot to be B&W?

It disregards such critical and individual features like eyes colour, hair colour, skin complexion. Why as an actor would you like to look just like anybody else in a pile of headshot photos on casting directors desk?

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Now lets talk about the orientation of the image. The only way you as an actor will ever be seen is landscape – horizontal orientation. Think about it, TV screen, cinema, theatre. It is not coincidence, it’s just natural. That’s how we see the world, that’s what our brains are accustom to.

Have you noticed how weird it feels to watch a vertical video that every now and than one of your friends posts on facebook? So now let me ask you again why would you do it to one of the most important tools you have in hand, your casting photo?

The answer I often hear is “This is industry standard”. So I argue even further. What is the worst thing that can actually happen if you submit the Hollywood style headshot? All of the sudden you are one in a thousand instead one of a thousand.

Could that possibly be a bad thing? Has your acting career been extremely successful? No? Maybe is time to try something new… before everyone else will start doing it.

 

Acting headshots London

Acting headshots London

Acting headshots London

Acting headshots London

Acting headshots London

Acting headshots London