This was a shoot I had planned for a while but my workload and that of Jerry & Annabel my models seemed to hinder things.
My fab studio base at The Monks Yard was also a factor as the site was moving a short distance to a larger and even more beautiful location at Horton Manor.
The image assets I planned to create were to be composite images (backgrounds & models captured separately) so ideally, I wanted to shoot in natural soft light and add the sunlight where I needed it with my own lighting for complete control.
I did say I didn’t want any rain but the fabulous sunlight we received on the shoot day was also unwanted (yep no pleasing me) so shade was required to get the lighting as I needed….but no problem.
Shooting images this way can solve many problems one being the costs & logistics for the client taking a large crew and models abroad for long shoots.
It’s not that I’m against jetting off and shooting models in situ I have shot this way for many years it’s simply about providing alternative solutions and getting the images the client needs.
I have to admit I do love the freedom shooting this way provides me both creatively and being able to move quickly from location to location without the logistics of moving so many people.
Being in a beautiful country and heading out (often on my own) at dawn to capture backgrounds for a lifestyle concept I have is wonderful.
Capturing the model images to blend into the location images requires some pre-planning to match not only the lighting and perspective but several other factors too for the image to work seamlessly.
For this reason and the fact I enjoy the process, I always like to shoot all my own image elements needed but occasionally I have no choice as with the ship images here to use stock shots.
Isn’t compositing cheating?
I do admit to having moved the bay of Bodrum and surrounding mountains a few feet for a better composition in one image many years ago but then the image was a personal shot and not used to sell a visit to Turkey.There’s definitely a responsibility to be truthful when shooting to sell a holiday location and you always have to consider that on every image created this way as it’s easy to seek perfection.
The locations you see here are as I captured them with nothing removed from the scene…honest!
A few weeks leading into Christmas assignment work quietened down enough to catch up on some long overdue personal work.
Shooting a summer themed Travel Lifestyle in December is not ideal for summer clad models for obvious reasons but needs must.
I prefer when compositing images of natural daylight lit scenes to use daylight as my main source if possible and add any other strobe lighting to this.
In short, if I need to replicate daylight on my subject to match a scene then I use daylight rather than try and recreate it in a warm cosy studio!
Great for the integrity of the image not so great if your a model being asked to pretend it’s 32 degrees and it’s actually minus 2 and wearing a slinky evening dress.
Needless to say, I worked quickly (in my thermals) to avoid too much discomfort for her.
I have to say Lilliana my model did not moan once and was fabulous to work with and I think the final images work beautifully.
Have a great Christmas everyone.
It’s been a another busy year shooting assignments especially video work.As a result fitting in shoots and producing new work for my book has had to take a back seat.
Finally this last few weeks I’ve had a break from commissions and produced a shoot with a couple of models, stylist and makeup artist for my travel lifestyle work.
Ive also had time to commission a complete rebrand and update the website to reflect the changes.
Also coming shortly are some beautiful custom promotional packs that will be sent out early next year to individual clients.
So this shoot was shot in two stages.The backgrounds were shot on location in probably my favourite place the Greek island of Rhodes.
My love affair with Greece goes back many years and taken me to many parts and this was my 3rd visit to my favourite place of all.
I had planned to shoot some Aerial work but decided against it as to do what I had planned legally was going to cost a lot of money to get permissions needed so maybe that’s a plan for another visit.
I planned the locations I wanted to shoot before leaving England and once on the ground set out before dawn to get the best light and of course avoid the bloody tourists !
Rhodes did not disappoint I was rewarded with some incredible views and gorgeous light and my job of capturing was easy.
Once I had returned it was time to edit my collection and create several backgrounds to which I planned to place the models.
The image below of Lyndos was created with 18 images.The reason was I wanted to use a longish focal length lens rather than a traditional wide angle that is often used for landscapes.
This would allow me to capture my interpretation of what Greece is all about, historic temples, mountains and of course the sea.
The longer lens would compress and bring all these elements closer together creating a softer more tranquil look that helps make up my style of work.
The second image below is captured at Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes town and was a multi image composite.
I was around 22 years old when I came here for the first time and spent the night at Mandraki harbour while waiting to catch the early morning ferry to Kos.
My memories of the place where of the statues at the entrance to the harbour and these distinctive arches.
Memories are a funny thing and the image below fits perfectly with that but the reality was that the locations were not as close together.
Not a problem I removed the car park and positioned my tranquil memory of the harbour entrance in position.
I also replaced the rather plain floor with something more elegant.
I realise none of this is something that would be tolerated if shooting to promote the location for a visit but hey it’s how I remember it !
Below are a few behind the scenes images shot here at our studio base. Not as glamorous for the models as being in Rhodes (or as warm as it was late October).
The location was perfect enabling me to concentrate on capturing the correct light quality, shadow quality,perspective etc to blend the models into the backgrounds.
A great team is vitally important to to pull everything together.I called upon Natasha Musson who I have worked with before to organise the styling and makeup artist Suzanne Peppard.
The models were supplied by Gingersnap who Ive also worked before on many Business Lifestyle shoots over the last few years.
Our models Katie and Sal were great professionals even when the cold took it’s toll.
This image was the first I produced in my project Life In A Somerset Landscape.
It was inspired by fascination with Maize fields and I wanted to create an image set around one.
I decided rather that capture a person within the scene I would approach local bird sanctuary Sharandy’s Bird Of Prey who had a lovely barn owl called Breeze who they kindly allowed me to Photograph.
All composite image throw up surprises and this one was no different. It wasn’t shooting the Owl or masking the fine details of the Maize heads although this was a challenge and I had to combine several techniques to solve it.
No the main issue was finding a rustic looking fence which living where I do I did not anticipate for one minute having a problem finding.In the end I found a fairly new fence and had to age it in post production and add extra foliage to create the vision I had for it.
The final image came together well complete with Glastonbury Tor and mist that can often be found on the Somerset Levels around September time.
Behind The Scenes Video
While on assignment in Rotterdam Holland last year I had a day spare to explore and take in the sights of Amsterdam.
Only having less than a day mean’t priortising what to take in so I decided to explore the old part of town along the canals and take a boat trip before heading to the airport and home.
Even though I knew Amsterdam was renowned for it bicycles (amongst other things) it was still a sight to see so many being ridden or parked up up on every corner.
This image is a composite using images captured just a few feet from each other.Shooting this way allowed me to create a cleaner more uncluttered composition will a slightly more compressed look which suits my vision.
It’s hard to believe that only a few weeks ago I was with the family sunning ourselves in 24 degrees in sunny Spain.Although a family holiday I as always took along my cameras,tripod etc and ventured out several times at dawn during the week to capture some images that represented the location as I was experiencing it. The Costa Del Sol is a lovely area of Spain with beautiful beaches and people out enjoying the warm climate either cycling or running often with their dogs in tow.The image I created below shows the beach,palm trees and one of the several lifeguard towers that occupy the beaches. The final element was to photograph the lifestyle image upon my return to the UK which completes the outdoor family lifestyle of the Costa’s.The final image shown here ended up combining 11 separate images and retains details as fine as dog hairs which is always a time consuming but hugely important element in all of the work I create.
One of the benefits of personal work is that unlike commercial assignments you have no deadline to adhere to so can pick up the project when inspiration takes you.
This particular image was an alternative set up from a personal shoot I did a while back with the final image being titled “Chiron Of Thessaly”
I never used the alternative image here until now probably because I did not have the urgency too or more likely simply had not been inspired by the correct environment for it.
This all changed while in the Algarve last year when I captured these wonderful porous cliffs at dusk and for some reason felt they would be a perfect partner for the rear shot of the Centaur.
Some images are highly planned down to the finest details while others simply come together and just work like they have when the time is right.
Time lapse Video Of The Post Production
I’ve lived by the coast pretty much all my life and as a result it has featured in much of my work over the years and still inspires me to create new work.
This beach scene was captured during a visit to the Algarve in Portugal last October with the model being captured last week at the beach in the south west.
This week the weather finally looked perfect and we got to shoot the old Cider Orchard I mentioned in a previous post.
I arrived on my own at the orchard just after sunrise and spent nearly two hours in the beautiful autumn light capturing all the images I would need ready for the composite.
I should explain again that the plan was to capture the orchard now while full of Apples and then photograph the guys from Richies Cider when things quieten down for them after the harvest.
The shoot was pretty simple and most the time was spent trying to create nice clean compositions as there was just so many trees full of fruit close to each other that it was a little too much !
We now have to create our backdrop from the images captured and arrange to return to Richies Cider Farm in a few weeks to capture the images of the guys to complete our vision for the final image.