hair style


New editorial up! I absolutely loved working with this team to create these images in the parking lot of the studio (haha- location scouting at its best!) I used natural light for most of these images, but for some I erected my gigantic para umbrella, and used the Profoto kit on location. Thanks team for helping me hold it up against the wind!

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Steph Doran @stephdoranphotog
MODEL: Meika Woolard @meikawoollard
MODEL: Kye Wall @kye_wall
MODEL: Lorenzo Sandy @papi.grandee
HAIR / MAKEUP / STYLING: Jyoti Chandra @jyotichandra,
GARMENTS: Myer Melbourne @myer

Human Canvas

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Something that often raises its head in my mind is the topic of personal insecurity. Not in the financial or physical sense, but more in the way of a mindset or mentality. Being a photographer, my work is a visual medium, and therefore every job has infinite possible resolutions and outcomes (rather than one ‘correct’ answer). That makes it highly subjective, and very open to interpretation. I think that many artists are a little insecure about their work deep down, and I am not a stranger to doubting my own abilities or artistic vision. So when someone approaches me with praise for my style, I get very very excited (if not a little “aww shucks” esque.)

One such kind soul was Alex Nixon, a student studying makeup. Alex had seen my work online and asked me to document one of her projects, which involved body painting. She sent me some references, and noted that she wanted to create a piece that was inspired by Chinese and Japanese traditional paintings. This was, of course, right up my alley, so I agreed straight away. We organised a date and time, as well as a gorgeous model – Chervil Tan from Vivien’s.

On shoot day, Alex pre-painted Chervil’s back before arriving at the studio. The references she sent me had been quite well-lit, with a pale grey background, so that is what I started off with. I wanted to ensure that I documented Alex’s work clearly, so that you could see the brushstrokes and fine details.

But after that, I wanted to have some fun of my own.

I thought that the concept and subject would really suit some darker, more moody lighting. So once we had the lighter shots captured, I changed the lighting to something more directional, to really accentuate texture and form. I love the way that the light falls on the body (in the image above), as the physical 3D nature of the back and shoulders blends with the painted landscape. I was also careful to keep the face in shadow, so that the emphasis was still on the painting, and the image had a sense of anonymity about it.

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Of course, I took some portraits as well, and some shots to show the makeup on Chervil’s face (not just her back!) How gorgeous is the kimono? Alex whipped it up herself the night before. So much skill! The colours were also really gorgeous, especially against the hues of the cheeks.

I wanted to capture a quiet, almost still mood for these images, and I think they came out well. Alex was absolutely stoked with the shots, which I was really pleased about. All the best with the folio Alex!

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Ichiko | 衣知子

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged this yet! Here are some shots I took of Ichiko in Tokyo last year. Ichiko is signed with Folio Management in Azabujuban, and she was great fun to work with! We shot in the streets surrounding the agency office, exploring the different textures that Tokyo’s suburban landscape has to offer.

お昨年、私は衣知子さんの写真を撮りました。衣知子さんはフォリオ マネジメントのモデルです。写真撮影とても楽しかったです。会社の近くところに撮りました。私たちは日本語だけが話しました。ちょっとチャレンジでしたけど良かった。どうもありがとう衣知子さん!!

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We conducted the whole shoot in Japanese, and Ichiko was really easy to photograph. She didn’t need any warming up and was able to give off a range of expressions with ease. She also moved so well, creating great shaped with her body. I have to say I was really jealous of her hair- why can’t my hair grow that long!

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We shot for about an hour before returning to the warmth of the Folio office. I love shooting in Tokyo and never tire of the landscape. I just feel very inspired by what is around me- probably because it isn’t the same as Melbourne. The light in Japan is also different; there is just something about it that excites me visually. On the day that Ichiko and I worked together, it was overcast and kind of dull, but that didn’t stop us.

Thank you so much Ichiko for being an amazing model <3

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Ichiko is represented by Folio Management Tokyo

The Worst Time Of Day To Take A Photo


Sometimes spontaneity is best. I was talking with one of my best friends (who also happens to be my go-to talented makeup artist and stylist) Jyoti Chandra, and we decided we should do a random test shoot. We had no model, but Jyoti got in touch with a girl that she had worked with before, Jasmine, and we organised a spur of the moment shoot.

Because of everyone’s availabilities at short notice, we ended up planning the shoot for 11am in the middle of summer. Two things that we failed to consider; a) it’s darn hot at 11am, especially when the temperature was set to hit 30. And b) hard summer light isn’t the most flattering when it’s right above your head.

Time to problem solve!

After getting ready in Jyoti’s apartment, I brought the Profoto B2 kit on location with me to try to add some light into the deep shadows that the sun was giving us. Unfortunately, that particular kit isn’t powerful enough to overpower such strong sunlight. So I had to change tact. Instead, I worked with pockets of shade, keeping Jas a little more evenly-lit, and avoiding the horrible shadows that were otherwise forming under her eyes.

The shoot was over in about an hour, as Jas had to go to work. But as she was leaving, she put her glasses on and I knew I had to get a shot of her with them (because they were super cute glasses!) This ended up being my favourite shot of the day, I think because of the colour in the background, and the side light (which was just the apartment door being slightly open; so complicated!) Thanks team for a great shoot!

MODEL: Jasmine Geen
HMUA / STYLIST: Jyoti Chandra


“Changes” Editorial

It seems like a long time ago that I worked on this collaboration with Marlene Olsson and Erin Tunn, but its finally allowed to be shown to the world. We photographed this collaborative piece around the time when David Bowie passed away, so there was a little bit of an influence in that respect. We also had no stylist on the day, as our scheduled stylist unfortunately fell ill. So the styling was all up to me, and therefore ended up featuring such designer garments as a vintage kimono (inside out), and a queen size bed sheet. Going to be all the rage next season, I hear.

Read about the shoot in an earlier blog post here.

Steph Doran
HMUA: Marlene Olsson
Model: Erin @ GTR Global
Assistant: Josephine Tut

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Snap Snap Braid

Behind the scenes of a test with Lara de Koster. This amazing hair was done by the ever-talented Marlene Olsson. What did we do with this look? You’ll have to wait and see :)

S xx

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Glam Rock [x] Pivot Point

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It’s getting close to the end of the year now, and I’ll admit I’ve been very slack with my blog posts. There has been a lot going on, and I’ve done numerous exciting shoots, and it’s not even winding down yet. Currently, I’m booked all the way up until Christmas, at which stage I’ll take one week off to visit my family in Tasmania, before coming back and facing a January that already has numerous appointments. Exciting times ahead!

In any case, a few weeks ago I shot some editorial-style images for the graduates of Pivot Point hair academy in the city. I shot their final collection last year as well, in the studio, but this year, we decided on a location shoot.

The students had to come up with a theme, organise models, outfits, and decide on a location. They decided on the theme of ‘Glam Rock,’ and wanted to shoot it in an alley way nearby to the school. I had gone in to meet the students a few weeks before the shoot, and discuss any ideas or concerns that they had. They seemed stressed about it then, but on the day they were all very focused, and once they began styling the model’s hair, they seemed to be doing ok. Of course my knowledge of hair styling is very limited (I can do a ponytail or a bun, and that is pretty much it), so anything they did looked impressive to me.

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The students had a timeline and schedule of who was shooting when, but they ran behind time (as I suspected.) But eventually the first person was ready, and so the shooting began. The lane way the students had chosen was quite good, because it had lots of different colours and textures, not too far apart. That meant the shots wouldn’t all look the same. I had two battery heads, with a softbox and a shallow dish, so I was able to move around quite easily. I decided to make the images a little punchy, to go with the ‘attitude’ of the models and their look. So I used the softbox as a key light, with the dish as a hair light from behind.

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I photographed each model for about 15 minutes. There were 7 students to get through, so we didn’t have that much time. But they only needed 2 shots each, and I work quickly when I have to.

It was really interesting to see how each student approached their shoot. Last year, everyone was in the studio together, and the students’ tutor was also there watching. They seemed a little timid and unsure then. But this year, the students had a bit more of an idea of what they wanted, and how they wanted their image to look, which was great. I’m not sure if this was because their ideas were clearer, or they weren’t being scrutinised under the watchful eyes of their tutor and peers.

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The shoot went pretty smoothly, aside from the times when trucks wanted to drive down the alley, and I had to move all the gear into a side street and squish up against the wall. Lots of people walked past all the time and thought that we were doing something really flashy and important. Some tourists even wanted to be in the shots.

There was one group shot to do at the end, which required a bit of shuffling around. I really had to think on my feet here, because everyone was down on location at that stage, and looking to me for direction. So I arranged the models in mini groups, and had them posing like a kind of tough girl motorcycle gang. Obviously the shot below does not convey the feel and mood of the series.

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Once we were done, the students all looked very very relieved. I went with them back up to the classroom where they had been doing their prep, and we were faced with a scattering of brushes, bobby pins, and hair spray cans. They began tidying their stations whilst I loaded the images onto my laptop. I didn’t bother shooting tethered because I was moving around a lot, and I didn’t want to have too many valuables down in that street without an assistant/ second pair of eyes.

Well done to all the students! The shots look great, and they are in the process of being submitted to a few magazines. Keep an eye out!

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