Pretty In Pink – Wandering around the park with Senade

A fortnight ago I had my third photoshoot, a few hours in the park with a model named Tiger Hula Hula Lilly, or Senade as she is sometimes known.

The reason I contacted Ms Lilly about the shoot was the comment “This for me is not a serious career, I’m more curious and interested in getting some nice photos done if anything” on her portfolio. Perfect model for me. Contact was made, and the shoot arranged. I’d been to the agreed location the week before for a little scout around. Very pleased I did this as it gave me ideas for the type of shots we’d get, and the look and feel of the entire photo shoot.

The day came, Tiger arrived, pleasantries were exchanged, coffee was consumed, snacks and refreshments proffered, and we got going.

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Yes, I’m starting off safely with a head shot. Readers of previous posts may have guessed this. Hula Hula has the most incredible pink colour in her hair as you can see. So of course I’ve created a load of black and white images. Stupid man.

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We wandered around the park and found a nice bench.

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And then a bridge.

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Hula Lilly (still not sure which name to use) was really helpful, keen to get some good shots, and was playing around with some different poses. We were both a bit inexperienced if I’m honest but she took my inexpert direction well. Then as THHL was leaning from a nearby prop her hair fell down. A switch went off in my head.

“Stop. Stay there. Lean back. Tilt your head again. Look to me.”

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This is without doubt my favourite image from the set. It also made me feel like a “proper photographer” for spotting the opportunity for the photo and giving direction to my model. I’m pleased with this image.

And this one too.

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And of course we have a couple more head shots to finish.

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I had a really lovely day, and found out something new. It turns out that not all models like Jaffa Cakes. Good job I’d brought shortbread as an alternative.

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for any comments you care to make.

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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.

Taking action

For a while now I’ve wanted to take more portraits. Regular readers of my blog will of course notice that most portraits I post are self-portraits. Whilst this is ok to practice lighting techniques this way it is rather limiting for me, and dull for you to say the least. I’ve been considering joining one of these collaboration websites where photographers, models, make-up artists, and the like can get together to produce images. Whilst careful consideration is never a bad thing, it never actually helps you achieve anything. For achievement, action is required.

Rather than sit around and wait for opportunity to come looking for me, I joined PurplePort. This was the start. I took a couple of days to get to know the site, and how the groups and casting calls work. Deciding that the best action to get me started would be some time with a professional model; somebody with experience who knows the score and can show me the ropes. Fortunately for me, a very talented and beautiful model, Sinopa Rin is touring my local area, and will be having some time at a nearby studio. We got in touch and I’ve booked some time with Sinopa at the studio. I’m absolutely thrilled by this. Sinopa is not only a tremendous model, but also has experience on the other side of the camera. She’s offered to help me out with lighting and how to direct a model, getting good poses, and image selection. This is going to help me enormously.

I can’t expect that any of the photographs I take will be up to the standard of some of her work with other photographers, in fact I know they won’t be, but to have all that experience and knowledge available to me is just far too good an opportunity to pass up. The shoot will take place some time next month.

This isn’t where my story of action and PurplePort ends however. I have a month to wait until the planned shoot. Perhaps I could get some practice in. What, I wonder, are the chances of another amazing model crossing my path like this by chance? Slim. More action required. I found the account of a beginner part time model who lives in the same city, and was looking for some decent photographs to boost her portfolio. She wants photographs, I want to get more practice at taking them. A perfect opportunity. I took action and sent her a message, introducing myself and suggesting that we could help each other. The basic gist being that he stands in front of my camera and I press the shutter button. She gets the pictures she needs for her portfolio, and I get practice and experience directing a model and actually taking the photos. I was delighted beyond belief when she agreed. We are yet to arrange a specific date and location, but soon I will get the chance to take some portraits and you, dear reader, won’t have to suffer another self-portrait.

Action produces results. If there is something you have always wanted to do, then take action and start doing it.

In the meantime here is, yes you guessed it, another self-portrait.

Mmmmmmwah!

Mmmmmmmwah!