Early evening photoshoot with Katarina Marie

Shooting with experienced models always fills me with confidence. If they’re also photographers then I know the results will be good. Katarina Marie is one such “modelographer”, talented on both sides of the lens; a true artist.

For our first photoshoot together we decided that we should head up to Largs on the west coast of Scotland. We wanted to capture some of the late afternoon sun, and if the weather wasn’t with us at least there would be ice cream at the world famous Nardini’s. Fortunately we did get some sun, and so here are the photos we created together.

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First look was in the bag, so Katarina did a quick costume change and we walked along the coast a little and found a shelter which we thought would look good.

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There is no point going to the coast if you’re not going to visit the beach, so after getting bogged down in some deep sand we eventually found a nice section of the beach we could shoot at.

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We’ve now got some great images stored, but the sun was starting to set and we were losing the light fast. A quick costume change and a chance to capture the last throws of daylight.

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As the sun set we started to notice some beautiful colour in the sky so tried to record that too.

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I think we managed to fulfil our brief of capturing the late afternoon and early evening sun. This time of day, golden hour and beyond, is a great time to create photographs. There is almost magic in the light, and something I should do more of. Sadly we didn’t get to visit Nardini’s for ice cream, but I am very happy with the images we created together. This would not be the last time I shot with Katarina, but that’s a story for another day.

Danny.

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Review of 2016

What with the planet once again at some arbitrary point of it’s trajectory around the sun we’ve picked as significant, I thought I’d share some of the results of photoshoots I’ve done this year. I was not going to be shooting any more than twice a month in 2016 so there aren’t too many to go through.

Some images you may have seen, but I’ll try to pick ones I’ve not shared before. I will be sharing some of these photoshoots in a bit more detail so won’t use up all of the images here.

January

2016 started as it ended, with a photoshoot with Lillith. This time we were in a studio, and we brought Lydia along too.  I knew these two would get along. I was a little daunted initially, not worked with two models before, but with everybody’s creative input into the shoot all went well.

Later in January I have my second photoshoot with one of models who helped me get started, namely Arabella. Arabella is a load of fun to be around, charming and chatty, and has a great line in what she calls “facial erotica”. I’ve been very lax when it comes to editing these images. They seemed to have been in the queue for ages. Hopefully I’ll be able to edit a few more in the coming months.

February

February brought with it a shoot with Scarlett Fox. When you work with Scarlett three things are guaranteed. 1) A lot of chat 2) plenty tea, and 3) and incredibly productive photoshoot due to her strong work ethic. Scarlett obviously puts a lot into her modelling and this is shown in the results.

March

When I first joined PurplePort, and started my journey taking photos of models, there was one name that kept on cropping up, over and over again, mainly to do with the quality of her work, which was always of a very high standard. That name was Artemis Fauna. I knew that I wanted to work with Artemis, but arranging something wasn’t easy due to her busy workload, and my ability to shoot only at weekends. Still, I persevered, a dialogue was opened, and sure enough a chance to work together appeared when Artemis was at Sandon Studio in March.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about meeting Artemis. I say nervous, it was more awe I guess. Her body of work and reputation in the industry speak for themselves. Why would she want to work with somebody like me?

Well I needn’t have worried. Artemis was a pure delight. Five minutes after meeting we were chatting about focal lengths, aperture values, and shooting modes. I do love it when a model talks nerdy to me.

Later in the month I got some studio time with Purple Princess who had decided that we needed to shoot together. She travelled a long way for the shoot so we made the most of it.

April

April gave me the chance wot work with Sinopa Rin again. I say work, but it never feels like work. It’s always so much fun. No doubt I’ll write a separate post about this shoot at some point, and you’ve already seen one before, so won’t spoil the surprise right now with multiple images, just this one.

Also in April I got to shoot with Harley Monster for the third time. Harley has been a good friend to me, and so she shall remain in my good books for an awfully long time. Harley brought Nina, a whiz stylist and makeup artists along to the shoot. We shall meet Nina’s work again later.

May

May brought with it the spring, and a shoot with Stephanie Dubois. We decided to split out time, half in the studio and half out on location.

This is what we did in the studio.

This is what we did on location.

Second shoot for May was with KRG, back up in Scotland once more. Again, I’ve been a bit rubbish when it comes to getting these images ready. They will come, just not right now.

June

Had my third shoot with Lydia in June. Lydia likes to give the impression that she’s the mean and moody type, but when the camera is not clicking she’s all smiles, laughs, and giggles. A real joy to work with.

Earlier in the year Becky Kvittems and I were discussing the possibility of a second photoshoot after the first went so well. Alas it had to be postponed, and was rearranged for June. It was the middle of the summer so we planned an outdoor shoot, summer dress, sunshine, that kind of thing.

July

I’d been admiring the work of a photographer on PurplePort, so we got chatting about photographic styles. It turns out that this photographer is also a model I knew of, by the name of Marianne Di Vine. We arranged a photoshoot, and Marianne allowed me to use on of her lenses that I’ve been lusting after. How nice was that?

August

After my trepidation about shooting with Artemis Fauna earlier in the year, and it going so well, I jumped at the chance to take even more photos of super amazing Artemis Fauna, this time at Hallam Mill, where we created many different looks in just a few hours. Again, more to come later so just a teaser for now.

At this point I stepped back without looking and sat on a bedpost of one of the studio props. Good job I was wearing thick trousers. Artemis was clearly concerned for my well-being.

September

In September I got to work with make up artist and stylist Nina again. this time she brought Kira Dawn with her, and we created some amazing shots.

Hiring out a studio can be a bit expensive. The facilities are (usually) great, but you’re stuck to working at the times you have booked.

I decided to have a go at creating a home studio in September. I had a white wall, some flashes, light modifiers, and coloured gels. All as I needed now was a pretty girls and some props. I send a message to Katarina and she kindly agreed to model for me.

October

Guess who came back to Manchester in October. If you guessed “Sinopa Rin” then you’d be right. I jumped at the chance to create some more photos with her.

I also got the chance to shoot with KRG again, which was nice.

We started off out on location trying to capture some of the autumn colours.

Next was a trip to the studio for some beauty portraits, which with a model as beautiful as KRG is an easy job.

November

For my second shoot with Stephanie Dubois we were planning a couple of different locations. Unfortunately the British weather was against us so out came the lights again and we just went with the flow, creating as many different looks and lighting styles as the time would allow.

Unfortunately none of these images are finished yet. All as I have are a few back of camera screen grabs that Stephanie took as the shoot went on. I love the photos we created so they will be edited and shared just as soon as they’re ready.

December

Alas there were no photoshoots in December. I’m on a short break from shooting models and my photoshoot with Stephanie was the last for the time being. Hopefully it’ll give me time to catch up on the editing and sharing backlog. I’ve also been practicing indoor studio shots, but with more of a slant to still life than models.

If you got down this far, then thank you so much for reading. Hope you liked the pictures.

Wishing you and those you love a very happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2017, especially those you work hard to make happen.

Danny.

Being nice to new people

I’m sure that a lot of us have had the experience of being the new kid. Perhaps you moved schools as a youngster, or have changed jobs recently and need to get to know new colleagues. It can be daunting, and it’s always nice when the people already there are kind and welcoming. When I first joined a photography and modelling website last year I posted a “Hello, I’m new” kind of message. Lots of people very kindly welcomed me to the community and wished me well. This helped me settle in and was a nice gesture. Since then, I do try to keep an eye out for other new members and say hello, give them a welcome, and generally try to repay some of the kindness I was met with.

One such “new starter” was a local photographer who had just opened up a studio. I wasn’t familiar with the photographer, John, but I saw his post about the studio account being new so I wished them well in their endeavours and thought nothing more about it. A few days later John contacted me to express his gratitude on my welcome message, especially as nobody else had done so. 22,000 members on the site and I was the only person to have greeted him. John was grateful for the little attention I’d paid him, and as a thank you offered me free use of the studio, and all as I needed to find was a model to shoot with. That part was easy.

Becky and I had been in touch a couple of times about arranging a photoshoot together. I told Becky about the free studio time and she jumped at the chance. We met at the studio and made some photos together,

Angel Wings
Beauty portrait
Beauty portrait

We then decided to brighten things up a bit. John helped set up a nice bright background, and Becky put her wig on. We experimented with different facial expressions and Becky acted out some emoji style poses.

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All in all it was a fun shoot, and I’m delighted with the images that were created.

Moral: Be nice to people. Sometimes it pays off.

 

No update

One of my biggest concerns when I started this blog was about me not updating it. I have a reputation, deservedly so, as somebody who is good at getting projects started, but not so great when it comes to finishing them. I didn’t want this to happen with my blog, but with no update for two months it would appear that I’m dangerously close to having another unfinished project left by the wayside.

I don’t want this to happen. My photography has come on leaps and bounds over the past 12 to 18 months, and I have created some wonderful images I’m really proud of.

A little bit of real life has cropped up n my personal circumstances recently which means I do not have a huge amount of time to keep updating this blog continually, but I am determined to keep it going and for it to be a record of my photographic journey. With that I shall upload a few recent images, just to get me back into the swing of things.

Paul
Paul

 

Artemis Fauna
Artemis Fauna
Cinnamon Gaze
Cinnamon Gaze
Harley Monster
Harley Monster
Fat lad inna hat
Fat lad inna hat

Christmas Market with Harley Monster

Slightly out of order with my blog posts, but this has to come next seeing as it’s Christmas week, and the photos are all from the German Christmas Market in Manchester. This photoshoot was arranged by the fabulous model Harley Monster who I’ve been lucky enough to work with before. As previously Harley and I didn’t have much of a plan, we just met up at the market and had a mooch.

I wanted to get some wide open aperture shots, hoping to catch a bit of bokeh from the lights on the market stalls. I also find markets a great place to capture some candied street moments, so this was my first combined model shoot and street photography session. Hope you like the results.

Bokehlicious
Bokehlicious
Harley loved this bear
Harley loved this bear
Trying on hats
Trying on hats

The guy working on the hat stall was a real character. Earlier in the day he’d cycled to the clinic to get some injections ready for his upcoming trip to India. The story of his immunised wobbly ride home was hilarious, and more than a tad dangerous. He was kind enough to pose for a picture, but I was too scared to ask if he’s be a part of my 100 strangers project. Guess I’m out of practice.

Hat Seller
Hat Seller

It wasn’t all about Harley and hats though. I did get the chance to capture a few candid moments of the other stall owners and their customers.

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But of course if you have a wonderful model in tow it would be a shame not to take some more pictures of them.

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I would like to say a big thank you to Harley for dragging me around the streets on Manchester once more. Having such a beautiful model really does help bring out the best in my pictures. Thank you.

Thank you all for reading this, and hopefully enjoying the images. I wish you and those you hold dear a very Merry Christmas.

Danny.

Six month review

Last week saw the six month anniversary of my very for photo shoot working with a model. I have been somewhat lax in creating posts for each shoot, so I thought it would be fun to include some images from each of the shoots since the last one I blogged about so you can see if I’ve made any progress. I do hope to catch up with a post about each shoot with more photographs, but for now here’s one from each. Hope you like the images.

Pooley Bridge, Ullswater with Bryher.

Bryher
Bryher

Mooching about Manchester’s the Northern Quarter with Harley.

Harley Monster
Harley Monster

Spiers Old School with Sarah

Sarah Green
Sarah Green

Quarry Bank Mill with Ella

Ella Kehoe
Ella Kehoe

Home shoot with Vivian Blue

Vivian Blue
Vivian Blue

Out on location with story teller Amber

Amber Castle
Amber Castle

Fun studio shoot with Becky

Becky Kvittems
Becky Kvittems

Second shoot with Sinopa Rin, this time in Scotland

Sinopa Rin
Sinopa Rin

Trip to Largs with Katarina

Katarina Marie Mannequin
Katarina Marie Mannequin

In the woods with Meg Sarah

Meg Sarah
Meg Sarah

In the park with Louise

Louise Pierced
Louise Pierced

Pretty portraits with Enna Victoria

Enna Victoria
Enna Victoria

Back to the studio with Sinopa Rin

Sinopa Rin
Sinopa Rin

Freshfields with Lydia

Lydia Lawton
Lydia Lawton

Autumn shoot with Kes

Yes Wild
Kes Wild

On location with Leanne

Leanne
Leanne

Dance shoot with Amy

Amy Stout
Amy Stout

Rainy day indoors with Lucifera

Lucifer
Lucifer

The most beautiful of all the models I’ve worked with, my rock.

My Rock
My Rock

Fun studio shoot with Beau

Beau Divine
Beau Divine

Which brings us right up to date. My shoot with Beau was last week, and is pretty much exactly six months since my first shoot.

I have noticed the change within myself. The stuttering, nervous wreck, too afraid to shake the model’s hand is gone. I’m back. Me. The man I was a few years ago. I’ve also noticed an improvement in my photography. I feel I’ve learned more in these six months shooting with models than I have in six years of watching tutorials on YouTube or reading how-to blog posts. There really is no substitute for experience.

Can you see an improvement? I know I have much to work on, but I feel that my photography is heading in the right direction, and I’m thrilled with it.

If you like my images I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to write a comment.

Danny.

Drinking all of Arabella’s tea

Last few posts about my photographic journey have of course all been about working with models ever since I found the PurplePort website. This post is no exception, and is all about my shoot with Arabella.

When I first joined the site I knew I was going to need some help getting started. When you create an account on PurplePort, they create a list for you called “People I’d like to work with”, and you can add people to the list with the click of a button. Not keen on the name so I decided to create a new list called “Models who could help me get started”. A much nicer name I felt. So I set about the task of searching for some help.

This is a fairly short list, and the models were chosen because they were either nearby, mentioned on their portfolio notes that they would work with beginners, had an outstanding portfolio – images and notes, said nice things in the groups, or, let’s face some facts here, I had a little crush on. Arabella qualified for the list on all counts and was instantly added as soon as I saw her portfolio. Thinking nothing more about it, I continued my search.

A short while later I received a flashing red notification. I had a message. I didn’t get many messages at the time. I wondered who it could be. It was a message from Arabella. I panicked. Models didn’t message me other than to keep their reply rates up with a “Thanks but no thanks Mr No References”. This was a different message however, a nice message thanking me for adding her to my list and would I like to arrange a photo shoot? My hear skipped a beat; several in fact.

I sent a very direct and succinct reply to Arabella, stating …. oh who am I kidding? I prattled on and on about me and Lego, and how I’m new, and how I’m a complete nervous wreck, and who pretty she looks, ladies underwear, and just a whole load of nonsense. Awful message! I pressed send, started looking for the Recall Message button, realised there wasn’t one, had a little cry, and then got back to counting my no references.

A short while later Arabella replied and ACTUALLY AGREED TO DOING A SHOOT WITH ME! I couldn’t believe it! Mad woman!

I was of course overjoyed. I did a little happy dance around the room, got back to the keyboard, and tried to act cool. More messages were sent, a mood board created, and a date arranged. Before I knew it, the date came, and here’s what happened.

Arabella says that she likes to drink a lot of tea. This is good. I love tea. So to get things started we had a cuppa,  had a nice chat about photography, drink some more tea, bit more chatting, and a final get-read culpa, and then we got started.  We began the shoot indoors with a portraiture session. I wanted to practice using my speedlites so we tried some head shots. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get one of the strobes to fire. It would work for two shots then stop. I would like to say that this is the first time I’ve ever had an equipment failure in front of a beautiful woman, but alas that wouldn’t be true.

Me: “This has never happened to me before”

Arabella: “It’s ok, it’s not important”

Me: “But it was all working fine last night when I was practicing on my own”

Arabella: “Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal. It happens to lots of other men. I have a solution …”

Fortunately Arabella took the matter in hand – now now – and provided some lights and soft boxes of her own, and we got down to creating some photos (at last).

I’ll be honest here, most of the shots from the first session are not my best work. Arabella was great, and had lots of props, hats, nets, and all kinds of things, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Studio type environments are quite alien to me and that’s somewhere I really need more practice. After a quick cup of tea we decided to head outside to a local beauty
spot. I’m much more comfortable in this sort of environment.

There was a nice bridge.

And then we found a bench

I really was starting to feel much better about the photo shoot now, and I think it’s showing in the images.

We wandered over to the bandstand an Arabella stared doing her stuff.

If I look back at the images I’ve taken since starting to work with models, oat are head shots. I like them. The reason I started this little journey was to get better at portraits. So, I moved in a little closer …

And closer …

And even closer …

It was around this point in the shoot where Arabella told me a funny story about how when out on another photo shoot her and the photographer met another middle aged man out with a beautiful young woman and realised they were out on a shoot too. They waved to each other in a photographer-and-model-comradery sort of way. I laughed, but all I was thinking was “Oh no! I’m a middle aged man chasing after young women with my camera. Talk about mid-life crisis!”

So for pointing out the obvious I made Arabella lie on the freshly cut grass as revenge. Wink

We wrapped things up, almost a full hour over time, and headed back to Arabella’s, bu alas she was out of tea bags.

The three models unfortunate enough to have worked with me at this point will have noticed me saying “May I?” whilst gesturing with the camera moving towards my eye, in a may-I-take-a-photo kind of way. This is something I’ll need to get over. As we parted I did ask Arabella “May I?”, but was with outstretched arms in offer of a goodbye hug. I couldn’t even shake the hand of the first model I met, just left her stood there with an outstretch hand for far too long. This I think is personal progress for me.

And that’s the end of the story … almost.

Perhaps I should’t share this with you, but after returning home Arabella and I exchanged a few messages and appropriate feedback was left. She then told me that she’d only recently heard news of a tragic event involving somebody dear to her. She thanked me for a nice shoot. I was utterly gobsmacked that she’s gone ahead with the shoot. I’d have cancelled. Arabella honoured her commitment to a complete stranger, a middle-aged GWAC (Guy With A Camera) she’d never met. This I think speaks more about her professionalism and honour than my words ever could.

Thank you Arabella. x

Wandering around the Northern Quarter with HannahLee

Flushed with enthusiasm and rebuilt confidence, make that Rinbult, after my first photo shoot I was ready to take on the world. Ok, not quite the world, but certainly Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

HannahLee and I arranged to meet at Piccadilly Gardens and the plan was simply to “Mooch around the Northern Quarter, and look for some interesting backgrounds and graffiti”. I arrived at the rendezvous point early, but it wasn’t long until Hannah arrived. I approached her:

Me: “Hello, it’s Danny.”

Hannah: “Who?”

Me: “The photographer. For the photo shoot?”

Possibly Not Hannah: “I have no idea what you’re talking about?”

Me: “Are you Hannah?”

Definitely Not Hannah: “Ermmm, no. I think you have me mixed up with somebody else.”

I sheepishly returned to my waiting point, and eventually the real Hannah arrived, looking particularly splendid. We got to have a bit of a natter whilst walking to the area, and seemed to gel well.

Before long we saw a wall with some graffiti and got started.

Now I already know what my biggest issue when photographing models is going to be. I’m going to want to take head shots. Lots and lots of head shots. I have to break out of this framework. So, let’s try something a little more full length. Hannah bravely climbed up a small wall and sat there looking pretty. Very pretty actually.

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Ok, what next? I know. Find a different background and take another head shot.

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I’m going to have to watch this. Can’t be taking head shots all the time. Got to try something different. On Hannah’s suggestion we popped into Affleck’s, a department store that sells different and alternative styles of clothes, fetish fashions, piercings. You get the picture. I decided to try something a little more edgy, so used a bare flash, hastily attached to a handrail on the staircase, and we came up with this.

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My creativity no knows no bounds. I am a master of lighting. No. Not really. Too far outside of my comfort zone. I’ll retreat back to the safety of the headshot.

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These images represent a landmark moment for me. I’ve been carrying around a five-in-one reflector with for five years and this is the first time I’ve ever actually used it. I like it, especially on the second image. I shall do this more often. It is also the first time I’ve ever asked a young woman to accompany me down a dark alleyway. Ok, that’s not true, but it is the first time in 20 years.

How about a bit of flash and the reflector? That sounds advanced. What’s the worst that can happen?

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Looks like I’ve reverted to type. Head shot bonanza. I understand I need to show a little more variation, but you need to answer this question: How am I not supposed to take head shots when the model looks this good?

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5T5A3784It’s not possible! Hannah is simply beautiful and I have to try to capture that.

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Just as the session was drawing to a close I finally had a creative idea. Something a little different to try, other than the beauty portraits. A flash of inspiration and I suggested Hannah should “Sit on the floor”, so you know, it’s not all just head shots.

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Thanks to Hannah for a lovely day. It was great trying to capture your beauty. You’re a delight to work with and I wish you all the very best of luck for your future.

First photoshoot. A day in the studio with Sinopa Rin.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter, @computerdan for those that don’t, will know that for the past four weeks I’ve been in the process of arranging some studio time to photograph a professional model who’s arranging a tour of Manchester. You will also be aware that I have been a compete bag of nerves about the whole thing. Emotions up and down like a yo-yo, so far outside of my comfort zone I needed a compass and map to find my way back.

Well Saturday was the big day. Was I nervous? Of course I was.

I arrived at the studio 20 minutes early. As it turns out I was actually an hour and 20 minutes early due to a slight miscommunication issue. The studio owner let me in, and let me have a look around whilst I was waiting. So what to do to amuse myself for 80 minutes? Yup, start taking selfies.

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As it happens the time alone in the studio was invaluable. It let me get used to the environment, figure out how to make the lights work, attach and detach the different light modifiers, and just generally get into the swing of things.

Then Rin arrived. I was polite and courteous as always, but more than a little terrified. I told her. No point pretending that I’m Mr Cool Photography Man. Well I needn’t have worried. Rin was an absolute delight. Charming and amusing, she poses with grace and elegance.

Here are some of the results.

"The years will never take awayOur chance to start anewIt's on Push up the level the heavens will fight for me "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily ... is wasteful and rid

I had a session booked with Rin in the morning, and some more time in the afternoon. I’d already written of any chance of getting good images in the morning session. Just use it as a learning experience, getting used to the environment, trying not to drop my camera, remembering how to breathe, that sort of thing. I needn’t have worried as you can see from the images above.

Our morning session finished all too soon. Time for me to return home, calm down, take a valium, and gather my frayed nerves. I downloaded the images from the first session to have a look. Hey, not bad. Not bad at all. There were some good ones. Some really good ones. It turns out that all the money I’ve spent on photography books, time spent reading blog posts and articles, and watching instructional videos on YouTube were a waste of time. The way to get good photos is to get Rin in front of the lens and press the button. Easy.

Time came for the second session. We decided to try some more head shots and fashion images. Like this.

Between the lines of fear and blame you begin to wonder why you

Here she comes now arms dance together in the fall

We spent some time in the “infinity room” at the studio getting these and other images. There was chatting. Lots of chatting. Rin really did put me at ease with her relaxed conversation and the photos I think are great.

We finished off downstairs and headed back up to the main studio area. I had taken the head shots and full length fashion portraits I was after, but we still had time together. I was completely out of ideas. In a desperate attempt to appear creative I said “Girl in a chair?”

... and if I show you my dark side, will you still hold me tonig

... and if I open my heart to you, show you my weakness, what wo

Rin did her stuff and created some incredible poses, always adding that extra touch of dynamism to the images. But now I really am running on empty, creatively speaking.

This is when something magical happened. I found out just what it was like to spend some time in the company of a true creative. Rin took control of the session and idea after idea just flowed from her imagination. Things I would never have thought of, outside any perceived framework I had in my mind.

Me: “Piano?”

Rin: “I’ll climb on top of it.”

Implied piano

Rin then walks outside of the designated studio space and into the reception areas and starts rearranging the furniture, sits on the floor.

Me: “Are we even allowed to be here?”

Rin: “Blow the background out and take a picture.”

The sparkle in your eyes  Keeps me alive

Between the lines of fear and blame you begin to wonder why you

 

Rin: “Do you have a 50mm lens?”

Me: “Errrmmm, yes ….”

Rin: “Get under the net.”

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Rin: “This will look great in black and white”, as she lies prone on the floor, head hiding behind a wall.

Push me to the floor, don't give up until I'm begging you for moI thought that I was going to be spending time with a model. I had no idea I’d also meet a muse, therapist, and a really genuinely lovely person. I would like to thank Rin for helping me create some beautiful photographs, some of the best I’ve ever been involved in capturing, for a wonderful day, but mostly for opening my mind to possibilities.