Waterfall shoot with Sian (NSFW)

The second shoot at the waterfall for 2015 involved Sian as the model. I have shot Sian twice before and so I knew she was very comfortable in front of the camera. The shoot happened earlier than the previous one as she wanted to go house hunting in the afternoon.

While these waterfall shoot are intended to incorporate drapes or nudes we actually started with Sian fully clothed as I have had this dress in the cupboard for a while and I wanted to test out shots closer to the top fall. As this part of the location is fully visible from the track I tend the ensure that not to much skin is on display from this point.

I have wanted to use this dress in a water shot for a while and given that this part of the fall is fully visible from the path made perfect sense.
I have wanted to use this dress in a water shot for a while and given that this part of the fall is fully visible from the path made perfect sense.

We then moved onto using a length of a satin type material on the large rock and around the top of the second falls. This material is nearly 5 metres in length and when it gets wet becomes fairly heavy. As such I impressed to Sian that she was in a secure position on the rock before she let the material go anywhere near the water.

This length of satin is about 5 meters so it was able to stretch a long way. We had to be careful though because when it got wet it became very heavy.
This length of satin is about 5 meters so it was able to stretch a long way. We had to be careful though because when it got wet it became very heavy.

We then moved down to the pool at the bottom of the lower fall. Sian was willing to go into it and so we used my monopod as a gauge to work out how deep it was. Once it was determined that the pool was not too deep Sian took a position by the falls. I wanted to try a longer exposure but there was no place to mount a tripod so I attached the monopod to the camera instead. The shot is not completely sharp but close enough for essentially a hand hold at 1/6 of a second at f13.

SIan was willing to go into the pool and go without the  drapes. Her we tried a slower shutter.
Sian was willing to go into the pool and go without the drapes. Here we tried a slower shutter.

We then moved out of the pool and Sian wrapped a length of red organza around her. The shot is nice however the material in the water does not have a lot of live to it unlike the blue organza used in the previous shoot. This was totally due to the angle of the sun not directly lighting up the material.

This red organza spread out great, however where it went into the water falls a little flat.
This red organza spread out great, however where it went into the water falls a little flat.

Sian then agreed to lose the drape and we would slow the shutter down. This image was essentially hand held at 1/13 second at f22. The shot is virtually straight out of camera. I would have to say that it is my favourite image of the shoot. It has a very classical look to it.

My favourite shot of the day.
My favourite shot of the day.

I was relatively pleased with the results of the shoot, however when Sian looked at them she thought that she could improve on some of her expressions so we are planning another visit to the falls. I also still have a list of other models who want to take part so this series will run for a whole yet.

Pre-shoot with Chloe & Hayden

Next weekend we are shooting the wedding of Chloe & Hayden which is being held in a small church in Pauatahanui and in planning for it I met with the bride & groom and carried out a small pre-shoot with them starting at the church and then moving onto some of the locations that i have planned to use for the formals.

Now some photographers refer to this as an engagement shoot but personally I clearly state that it is a pre-shoot, because I believe that they are fundamentally different.

To me an engagement shoot  happens as soon as the contract to do the wedding has been signed which may many months before the wedding. The purpose is solely to allow the photographer and couple to get comfortable with each other. as such the location is irrelevant.

A pre-shoot has a similar goal to enable a rapport to be established between the couple and the photographer plus to plan for the actual shots on the day. When I book a pre-shoot I try to arrange it for a location close to the where we will be shooting on the day and if possible shoot at the same time. That lets me determine where the light is coming from and what issues I am likely to run into.

It is also a good opportunity to try out poses with the couple, and to see whether they like the locations your are thinking about. It is also a great opportunity to sort out transport issues on the day, rather than when you have a large wedding party in tow.

The shots below are a selection from the pre-shoot and in captions I have outlined what the situation I was looking for.

While the B&G do not want a photo of all the people at the wedding, the largest family group shot will have 25 people. We determine that this lawn area in front of the church will be fine for that. While it is in front of the graveyard the people will cover those.
While the B&G do not want a photo of all the people at the wedding, the largest family group shot will have 25 people. We determine that this lawn area in front of the church will be fine for that. While it is in front of the graveyard the people will cover those.
The day of the pre-shoot had little cloud and that enabled me to determine that the bride's eyes are very susceptible to light. We will have to watch shot taken facing the afternoon sun.
The day of the pre-shoot had little cloud and that enabled me to determine that the bride’s eyes are very susceptible to light. We will have to watch shot taken facing the afternoon sun.
Same location but this time the couple are being shaded with a diffusion panel.
Same location but this time the couple are being shaded with a diffusion panel.
This walkway will be used in the formals. The couple loved it. The road beside it can be quite busy and those timing will be needed to ensure no cars in the shots. There is also a real estate sign on the fence that needs to be eliminated.
This walkway will be used in the formals. The couple loved it. The road beside it can be quite busy and those timing will be needed to ensure no cars in the shots. There is also a real estate sign on the fence that needs to be eliminated.
Finally a macro shot of the ring. Chloe wanted to see whether a clean would be in order to get the best sparkle out of it
Finally a macro shot of the ring. Chloe wanted to see whether a clean would be in order to get the best sparkle out of it

Back to the Waterfall with Grace

Last year I took a series of images at a local waterfall with models in fabric drapes (which you can read here) and decided that this year I would work further on the series. So I posted a casting call on Facebook and got enough interest for a whole series of shoots. One thing that had disappointed me about the images from the previous series was that the underwear the girls was wearing showed through and disrupted the flow of the fabric. So this year I made it quite clear that no underwear was permitted.

The first shoot in the 2015 series took place last Sunday with Grace (who had been a make up artists on a number of my shoots as well as being my book queen). Her mum Caroline asked to come as well and I was only too happy to have her along as a extra pair of hands.

On the Saturday I went up the falls and checked that nothing had changed significantly since last year. It also gave me the opportunity to scout out the area and plan where each shot was to take place. The little falls are down a slope from the main track which in summer is very popular. Given the lack of clothing I wanted to work out how much of the shoot area could be seen from the track.

Sunday dawned beautiful and we went through three drapes for the shot. We started on the main rock with a multi colored silk. Then we moved slightly down and shot a white lace material and finally with a blue organza that I ordered specifically for this year.

Green silk on the top rock
Green silk on the top rock
White lace
White lace
Caroline helping out
Caroline helping out
The blue organza took on a plastic look when wet
The blue organza took on a plastic look when wet

The area is quite slippery in areas and as cameras and water don’t mix I tried to particularly careful.

Light was quite an issue in that in some areas there was not enough and in other too much. For some images a flash was used to add a bit of fill and in some cases it was bounced off a gold reflector to add a bit of warmth.

The next shoot in the series is tomorrow.