studio photography

XY: Blake

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Last week, Blake from the newly founded XY Management visited my studio for a test shoot. XY, despite being quite small, have a great range of talent on their books, so I was excited to begin working with some of the boys. As the name may suggest, they only represent males.

As this was my first test with the agency, I thought I would do a range of lighting setups in the studio, as well as a few natural light shots outside, to give diversity to Blake’s book.

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Blake was very serious, but could definitely do the ‘smouldering model look’ well. He mentioned that he was always asked to do a serious expression in front of the camera, so it came naturally. Getting a few lighter, more ‘smiley’ expressions out of him was a challenge, but we managed a few.

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It was one of those horribly hot, still Melbourne days, but we did go outside for a few moments to snap some shots in the sunshine. Full marks to Blake who even wore long sleeves for the shots. What a trooper. Thanks Marta from XY for organising the shoot, and Blake for making it down to the studio.

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Finally Getting To Work With Jimmy

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I’ve been meaning to work with James Ford for a while now, but our schedules have never aligned and he is often out of the country. But last week I had the pleasure of having him come into the studio for a test shoot. I’ve worked with Jimmy’s sister Peggy a few times, and we had spoken via social media, but it was great to finally be able to meet in the flesh.

I could tell right from the beginning that Jimmy was a seasoned professional. He knew his poses, had great expressions, and got straight into it without needing to warm up at all. The frame above on the right was literally the second frame I took all day.

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I got all of my garments from H&M this time, so we had a few different outfits to work with. I find it hard to source quirky, interesting pieces for males, as there seems to be a lot less available (on the mainstream market) than for females. Luckily Jimmy’s strong expressions and great posing easily carried the frames. Because of this, the shoot was over really quickly. Thanks Jimmy for finally getting in front of my camera, and good luck in Asia!

Fresh Face: Sam Kieseker

 

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I always love working with new faces, especially when there isn’t an elaborate concept behind the shoot. I find that this really allows me to develop the expressions of the talent, and get them feeling more comfortable in front of the camera. Because there is no background or context, the model’s ability to emote and have something going on in their eyes is really important.

A few weeks ago, I had Sam come in to the studio for some new folio images. He had recently been signed with GTR, and was even off to Hong Kong the following week. Sam was a little nervous at first, but really enthusiastic and willing to try anything I threw at him. He took direction well, which I think is particularly important for new faces.

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As the shoot developed, Sam became more comfortable in front of the camera and relaxed a lot. This meant that I was able to capture a range of emotions, both light and serious, which added extra diversity to his book.

A quick venture outside the studio ended the shoot- I never tire of the textures and shades of the walls nearby the studio, but I think I’m going to have to come up with some new locations soon so that my folio doesn’t look too repetitive!

Thanks Sam for coming down to the studio, and best of luck in HK!

Sam is represented by Greg Tyshing.

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Why I’m Always Laying On The Floor

This month has turned out to be quite a busy one, but I’ve been lucky enough to get a few tests in to keep my motivation up. I really love testing out ideas and working creatively, so I think it’s important to keep pursuing personal projects and shooting for fun occasionally too! I often work with Marlene Olsson, who is an amazing hair and makeup artist, so when she suggested we do a shoot together, I jumped at the opportunity.

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Always on the floor…

Marlene had recently done some hair styling classes to improve on her already huge knowledge of hair, and had some ideas she wanted to test out. We put together a rough mood board, and got Erin from GTR in as our model. But our stylist unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute, leaving us with no garments.

Luckily, I was ready to improvise.

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I have a few go-to garments that I keep in my wardrobe for such occasions. Lots of kimono and flowey pieces, which can be adapted to many different shoots. I had also been to the Japanese festival the day before, where I picked up a few other vintage kimono. So I wasn’t worried.

Going in with no real plan was kind of good, as it forced me to be creative with my set, garments, and lighting. I usually gravitate towards darker, shadowy lighting that is moody and has a high level of contrast, so I wanted to create something entirely different with this shoot. I wanted to keep it light and high-key, and very soft.

Hair and makeup took about 3 hours, so I had time to build my set slowly. I wanted to work with texture, so I draped and hung various fabrics and paper form around the studio. It’s amazing what you can create out of nothing.

Above: final makeup checks, and me posing for a lighting test. (haha!)

For garments, we improvised as well. Without giving away too much information, I want to say that my favourite outfit of the day was a vintage kimono worn inside out, teamed with a bed sheet that was used as a maxi skirt. Like I said, improvisation.

Not having a set plan ended up being a great thing, as the shoot developed and changed organically, and we got some amazing results. Also we got to use the smoke machine, which is always a bonus in my books!

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A behind the scenes shot of Erin doing her thing. Courtesy of Marlene’s instagram.

 

So, this begs the question- why am I always on the floor?

I’m always trying to look at things from different perspectives and try to capture my subjects with different angles. I often find that a low angle can be more dynamic. But some subjects don’t photograph well from below. On this occasion though, I ended up laying at Erin’s feet and looking right up at her. Often not a very flattering angle, this just worked. But you’re going to have to wait to see the results :) I’ll give you a hint: there is a David Bowie reference.

Also a huge thanks to Josephine for coming along to hang out and assist. I hope you learned a lot!

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