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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.

 

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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


Modelling Portfolio – Expert Advice

Modelling portfolio London

Expert Advice – How to get it done – A Perfect Modelling Portfolio in London

Over the past few years I had a pleasure to work with some of the top London’s agencies and modelling schools.

I am also being regularly invited to various seminars and modelling courses where I try to help those beautiful and ambitious young people to get on the right path to successful modelling career.

I guess I have become kinda known for it so I receive a lot of questions in that matter but one particular question comes over and over again: “How do I build my professional, modelling portfolio?

So lets start with the definition.

Modelling portfolio or model portfolio (also simply called “book”) is a book that should present the model and showcase model’s work.

It is collection of high quality photographic prints (no smaller than 8×10 inches and no larger than A3 size) presented in elegant sleeve or case (London Graphic Centre carry good selection of decent and inexpensive portfolio books).

It should contain somewhere between 10 and 24 images but remember, always put QUALITY OVER QUANTITY! Five great photos will get far better response than twenty average ones.

So what kind of shots do you need? The answer is all kinds. You should include at least one headshot, one “polaroid” (unretouched, full length picture in bikini or basic underwear on a clean background), couple of studio shots, couple of indoor location images, couple of outdoor location images and your best commercial work.

The most common mistake that beginners make is filling up your book with images from one photo shoot. Even if you plan to start your portfolio with only one session, make sure each image looks different (different outfit, hair, make up, different photographic style, location etc.).

No one will hire a model that has only done one photo shoot so you need to create an impression that you were building it for some time.

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Now, if you reading this article you probably just starting out and don’t have anything to show, right?

There are two ways to build your portfolio from scratch.

First: You can ask your friend to take couple of pictures for you then sign up to one of the websites that bring together models, photographers, make up artists and other people from within the industry (Model Mayhem and Star Now are both good place to start, at least here in London). Once you get your profile up and running you look for photographers that would be willing to cooperate with you on TFP basis. TFP stands for Time For Prints, which is slightly archaic because most likely you will only receive images on CD rather than prints. Anyway you both invest your time for mutual benefit, you learn how to pose and your photographer learns… well, photography, but there is no money involved. Following this long and winding path you sure saving money but risk wasting countless hours with unskilful, unexperienced photographers resulting in images that will rarely be on acceptable level to be included in your portfolio.

Second: The other way can kick start your career and get you paid jobs within weeks rather then years. It will require some investment but hey, that’s how the world works. If you wanted to be successful musician, doctor or lawyer you wouldn’t expect to get there without an investment. Same applies to modelling. Basically you need to hire someone that has knowledge and experience to help you achieve your goals – professional photographer. I feel obligated to give you a warning here! These days every guy that owns a camera and likes to look at pretty girls calls himself “professional photographer” and that’s definitely not what I had in mind! I mean working full time commercial, fashion or portrait photographer. So please take great care when choosing one. Check his work, website and credentials or you will end up wasting your money on images that will be too low quality to be accepted by any serious modelling agency. However if you hire good photographer not only you will have fantastic images that you will be able to submit to agencies but you also acquire tones of skills and knowledge like posing techniques, styling advice, casting contacts etc.

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I hope I have answered most of your questions and cleared some of your doubts. If there is anything else please do not hesitate to ask me in the comments below.

All of the images in this post are of non professional models and were taken during portfolio building sessions.

More on this topic in my article Model Portfolio – How not to get scammed

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Model portfolio London, modelling portfolio London, portfolio book

Modelling portfolio London