Shoot at the old Brick works with Samantha

Samantha-7In Palmerston North there is an old brick kiln that I was shown a number of years ago, and which I have always wanted to shoot in. I had a shoot set up about 2 years ago but the model flaked. Back then the site was fairly open and as a result there was a bit of graffiti and vandalism to it.

So when Whanganui model Samantha wanted to do a lingerie shoot I suggested the venue. As it turned out access to the site is now a lot more restricted, however I was able to track down the right person to contact and access was arranged.

Unfortunately when I turned up at the arranged key collection place at the arrange time, no one was home and I was unable to raise anyone on the phone. So I drove back to kiln where I was meeting Samantha and her boyfriend Ben, who I had been assured was well versed in the fine art of holding reflectors.

Samantha-6Samantha-8Samantha-9Samantha-10Samantha-12Samantha-11Samantha-13We waited around until the schedules time for the shoot hoping that the key would show up. However when it didn’t we made our way through a hole in the fence as I figured that I has permission to be there. Unfortunately once inside we discovered that steel bars had been installed on all of the entry points into the structure.

Rather than the whole shoot turning into a bust we decided to use the building and accompanying area for the shoot. While it did not have the same impact as the look I was going for I am still pleased with the resulting images.

We started with simply lingerie looks and then built them up with masks, capes and lengths of fake sur. In the end I tried a drape of material.

Samantha-15I received a text later in the evening apologising for the muck-up with the key which was caused because the guys wife had forgotten to put it outside when she left the place. I hope that on the third attempt I will manage to shoot in there but that won’t be until next year now.

Sunday Morning in the country

The old style letterbox really added to the location.


Tricia lives and works on a dairy farm just outside the small township of Apiti which is 45 minutes north of Palmerston North. She has been keen to take part in one of my shoots for a number of years but we have never managed to time it right.

So when I booked the shoot at the kiln in Palmerston North I made contact with her to see if she wanted to get together in the morning. I left it totally up to her as to what she wanted to shoot.

It ended up that Tricia wanted two looks. The first was a country & western look. The second involved a sequinned dress and a local bridge. She hoped to shoot the first look inside of a shearing shed but had not been able to get permission to do so as many people now are over cautious sighting new health & safety regulations. So we opted for shooting on a gravel road not far from her house.

Lonely road

Now normally I shoot in the studio which means I have full control over the lights. For both of these shots I would be shooting outside. In my opinion shooting in a studio is considerably easier than outside. The morning was a mixture of blue sky and dark clouds which meant that at any time was light was changing by several stops. I did not want to overpower the natural light with strobes so ended up using a large reflector to add in a little light in the shadows. Fortunately I packed a reflector holder as I did not have anyone else to help hold it.

The arrangement seemed to work reasonable well especially as I knew that with shooting in RAW I would have some margin of error when it came to both the shadows and highlights.

Tricia is very proud of her tats

We then went back to her home and Tricia put on a black sequin dress and we headed to the local bridge. We had initially thought of shooting on the bridge but Tricia decided that she would like to shoot in the river itself. I was a little reluctant at first, as there was only the two of us, as for shoots involving dresses and water I tend to like having other people involved should the model get into trouble in the water. The dresses are often heavy when they are dry and triple their weight when wet.

This part of the shoot was really fun and the images came out really good.

Fortunately the water was not too deep or fast running

Tricia-5It was quite a fun shoot and I look forward to do others with Tricia in the future.

A little fun at the end. Tricia shows off her pasties.

Getting the light right (Sort of)- NSFW

In an earlier post I wrote the failed attempt with Sian to recreate the images of Mayer George that involved shadows and light on models. By the end of the shoot we had concluded that the shapes had been projected onto the model using a data projector rather than a gobo on the studio lights.

Image by Mayer George

Sian was willing to give it a second go so I designed a series of shapes in photoshop. We had a lot of fun with the shoot along with a few challenges, with the first of them getting the images to display.

I work on a Mac but have an older laptop that I recently updated to Windows 10. That was the one to be connected to the data projector. I do not know why Microsoft insist on making things harder to do when they update their software, but that is exactly what they. Try as we may we could not get the screen to display the image full screen without toolbars. In the end I went back to the mac and using Fotomajico created a quicktime movie of the images. That at least I could display as I wanted it.

The second challenge was to get the image into a portrait orientation rather the natural landscape. The answer was to put the projector on its side but this meant holding it rather than having it on a stand. So once again I was like a one-armed paperhanger with the projector in my right arm and firing the camera with my left.

LR_SHadow-4LR_SHadow-2LR_SHadow-3The results this time were much better than the first attempt however we still had the issue that the image was spilling from the model onto the backdrop. This does not occur in the ones that I was trying to replicate.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that images were produced by having the model go into a position in front of the projector and then the shadows are drawn so that they only fall on the model.

Maybe next time I will give that a go.

Trial, Error and Failure (NSFW)

Sometimes you think you know how something is done and then discover that you are completely wrong. This was certainly the case with a photoshoot that happened a couple of weeks ago.

It started when a model posted the image below on Facebook  from Mayer George and said that she would love to do something similar.

Image by Mayer George

I looked at it and thought that it would be relatively simple to replicate as I was sure that the photographer had used Gobo’s on his lights. A Gobo is simply a mask that you put in front of the light causing it to create patterns on the subject being illuminated.

So I set about trying to replicate it with the assistance of Sian. I produced a number of modifiers with varying size cuts in them that I planned to put in front of a single strobe fitted with a seven inch reflector.

I had thought that it would be a simple task but it turned out to be anything but. I am not sure whether it was a lack of distance to the subject, or something else but no matter how hard I tried I could not get clearly defined edges. I thought that maybe the light source was too big so change the reflector to a snoot with only a small opening.

This meant that I had to hold the gobo in place rather than tape it. As there was only Sian and I in the shoot it created a comical dance where I had to press the timer on the camera (which was on a tripod) and then quickly place the gobo.

It produced some interesting looks but again nothing sharp enough.

20151019In the end we decided that maybe a different approach had been used and then I remember a shoot I had done two years before using a data projector, and how it had given me reasonable sharp lines.

The next post will cover the second attempt at the project.

Fitness Shoot with Simon

LR-Colour-60While I have been photographing portfolio sessions of people for a number of years, if you look at my work, you will see that the vast majority are women. So when a friend suggested me to her friend I jumped at the opportunity.

Simon is a personal trainer who operates out of a local gym. He has a background in marketing so when we initially met he had some very clear ideas what he was after, and also what he did not want. We agreed to do two separate shoots, one being in a studio and the second in the gym.

For the studio shoot I had originally booked a place in Upper Hutt that is set up as a full photographic studio. Unfortunately it is based within one of the grandstands at Trentham racecourse and on the Tuesday before the shoot I discovered that another event being held that weekend would make access to the studio virtually impossible.

I then reached out to Freya who runs in Wellington. I had shot in her place a number of years ago. While the space did not have all of the gear of my original choice it had large spaces as well as large area of natural light which I ended up utilising for the shoot rather than relying on the studio strobes.

We finished the shoot in an alleyway behind the studio for a completely different look. Simon had asked for a quick set of images for social media so that night I selected and processed 7 images to send him.LR-Colour-34

For impact I decided that most of the images from the first shoot would be presented in Black & White.


The second shoot took place a fortnight later in a central gym. We scheduled it for late in the evening to ensure that less people would be around. For this shoot I initially started using a single speedlight with an umbrella, however that started to give me some issues in that it would not recycle quick enough. Eventually I ditched the light and cranked up the ISO and shot with the available light knowing that as the images were being shot in RAW I could correct the colour cast that the fluorescent lights would introduce. This worked out quite well.

LR-Colour-55 LR-Colour-46

Simon appears to be very pleased with the images that he received.