Tag Archives: Posing

Information on getting the best from poses and models

1 space remaining – studio lighting photography workshop

Update 16/06/2012: This workshop is now fully booked

My next small group studio lighting workshop for Saturday 7th July has one remaining space available.

All tuition and training sessions offer:

  • A chance to develop your style with John’s technical guidance and tuition
  • Training on how to use lights. Starting with one light. Explore the effects that reflectors, flags, bounces, grids and barn doors have on light
  • Different lighting setups for different effects; soft and hard light
  • Experiment with flash and continuous lighting and ringflash
  • Learn how to work with a model from concept to final shot
  • How to develop ideas, concepts and creativity
  • The use of Elinchrom, Broncolor and ARRI studio kit, inc. ringflash, large lightbanks, softboxes, soft eggbox grids, fresnel spots, snoots and so on
  • The use of a Nikon D3 or D7000 and Nikon pro lenses if required
  • Shoot a professional model in a purpose built studio environment
  • Signed model release for all images if required
  • Snacks and beverages throughout the day and a full sit-down lunch. Learning on an empty stomach is no fun; many delegates say lunch was the best bit of the day!
  • Model for the session it KatyCee
  • Session times 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Maximum of 4 delegates per session giving you time to learn and practise
  • £250 per delegate

Book now

Images from a previous workshop

Notes app on iPhone for collecting ideas

Erotic Pregnancy Shoot – turning concepts into photographs

Initial discussion

I did a shoot with ERosanne recently, who is in the Third Trimester in her pregnancy and she wanted some erotic pregnant photographs taken. ERosanne is an experienced model who has many contacts and photographer friends, so when we discussed the type of shots she wanted, she mentioned she already had some typical pregnancy shots and wanted something a little more conceptual and erotic. In her words, ‘I have some lovely ‘mumsy’ type shots already and was looking for something a little different’. She mentioned that she wanted to do something with eggs and milk but had not turned those concepts into photographic ideas; her underlying concept was a woman is more than an egg carrier and milk producing machine.

How to turn concepts into photographs

Thankfully I had a couple of weeks to think about the shoot and turn those concepts into photographs. When faced with this problem I let the idea circulate around and look for connections in the props, in this case eggs and milk. There are obvious links to the fertilised egg and breast milk, lactating that sort of thing, but I wanted to tie the idea into a stronger theme.

I use my iPhone at lot at times like these, I create a new Note with the idea or theme as the heading and I jot things down as they come to me, often these ideas are triggered by other events, conversations or just by an idea popping in to my head. I guess subconsciously your brain is still working on the idea, even if you are focusing on something else. I do use brainstorming techniques, or ‘Thought Clouds’ as they are now know in these politically correct times we live in, I’ll cover brainstorming techniques in another blog article.

Over the following days I added a number of entries on the Notes app on my iPhone which I’ve reproduced (no pun intended) below. These are just random thoughts as they come into my head, the important thing is everything I think of in relation to the idea gets noted down no matter how obscure, obtuse or seemingly irrelevant it is.

Notes app on iPhone for collecting ideas

Notes app on iPhone for collecting ideas

Refining the ideas

When it gets nearer to the shoot date then I will review the list and decide which ideas to expand upon and remove the others. The ones I remove get moved to another Note which I use for a general ongoing list of thoughts and ideas, nothing gets deleted.

The final ideas list is arrived at by a deciding which ideas I want to shoot, which of those ideas will suit this model and will be enhanced by their posing ability, facial expressions, modelling levels, their own creativity and so on. The important point is that for each entry on the list above I have an idea of how I want to shoot it and light it. I think through the idea and consider what would look best. To help you to understand my thought process [best of luck] I’ve detailed the process on how I arrived at the Pregnancy Triptych show below.

Pregnancy Triptych

Pregnancy Triptych

The Pregnancy Triptych shots is derived from idea three on the list:

  • holding eggs one side of tummy, baby in middle, bottle of milk

I wanted to depict the passage of time, the 9 months of pregnancy in a time-line which can be difficult to depict in a single shot, so the idea of two or more images came into my head. I could visualise the eggs in the model’s hand to start with as the first image, the early stage of pregnancy and the fertilisation of the egg. When we came to shoot the idea we also tried some shots with ERosanne holding a dildo in the same hand as the eggs, but that didn’t really look right as it tended to look like a dildo with a massive pair of testicles attached to it. I wanted to keep the first items of the idea on the left-hand side of the frame to help portray the passage of time across the frames, so didn’t want to use ERosanne’s left-hand for the dildo, so we settled on the glass of milk which depicted the change in the woman’s body and the start of milk generation. I understand that one of the earliest clues you’re pregnant is the woman’s tender, swollen breasts, caused by hormones surging through her body. Notice also that we started with two eggs in ERosanne’s hand and then swapped to a single egg for the remaining shots which is intended to show the percentage success rates involved with getting pregnant during ovulation.

In the next image I wanted to show the idea of the egg multiplying and we decided that breaking the egg was the best way to show this as it demonstrated the contents expanding and growing. I asked ERosanne to break the egg in her hand, but it proved rather more difficult, try it, it was quite difficult to crush an egg in your palm with one hand. In the end I pushed my thumbnail into the egg to crack the shell. We also tipped the milk glass more to show the build up of milk and the fact it was almost lactating.

In the end I settled on three images as I wanted the milk dribbling out of the glass on the final shot, so a Triptych it ended up as. The final shot was the egg was dripping more form ERosanne’s hand while she poured milk from the glass in her other hand. Notice too the slight change in hand position, the milk hand is higher, showing a higher milk yeild, whilst the egg hand is lower, showing the turning and dropping of the baby before birth. The last stage was to combine the three images into a single image which was done in Photoshop.

Finally, below is a gallery of the edited shots from that 2 hour session, note the gallery only shows two of the three images used

Lit by 2 Elinchrom softboxes

Implied can be sexy

I set myself a little challenge the other day. I booked a model called Roxy whose maximum levels are implied nude. So armed with this information I wanted to see if I could still shoot around my normal style and still create some erotic, sensual and provocative images. I hope you’ll agree we managed to do this and we had a great session. Most of the images are taken using 1 or 2 Elinchrom softboxes fitted with soft egg crates from Lightools in Canada. Others were taken using ARRI 300 head with a fresnel lens fitted.

ERosanne Pregnant

20 ways to develop creativity

20 ways to develop creativity and inspiration

We are all creative; it can be developed, amplified and honed because we all have the ability to be creative. Some practise it more than others so find it easier to be creative. Below is a list of 20 things you can do to develop and encourage your creativity. Don’t do them all at once, pick a couple at a time, then add more as you progress.

  1. Believe that you are creative
    Everyone has the potential to be creative, the difference is that some actually believe it.  Pay attention to self–commentary, “I’m just not creative.” Years of this, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  2. Do new things – create stimulus opportunities
    Is this you?
    Do you do the same things every day? Take the same route to work, read the same newspaper and listen to the same radio station? You rarely go out of your way to try new things, meet new people or go to new places?
  3. Break habits
    If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Our own habits often keep us from being more creative, the more you follow a set pattern the less opportunities you have to improvise. You are responsible for your own experience.
  4. Make time to be creative
    Grow your creativity; sleep on ideas, take time out from work, home or your busy schedule to allow yourself to be creative.
  5. Create the right environment
    Quite, noisy, busy, peaceful find out what works best for you to stimulate ideas and your imagination.
  6. Stretch your comfort zone regularly and deliberately
    Push your limits and your personal development.
  7. Observe what’s around you
    Look at marketing campaigns, other photographers, model’s work, buy magazines on high fashion or house and gardens or similar high end magazines to stimulate your thoughts and ideas.
  8. Experiment
    Try new photographic techniques, if you do glamour mostly, try some still life; read up about it, research it. There’s many ideas that come from cross-pollination.
  9. Have an open mind
    Don’t dismiss things or think negatively, it’s self-defeating and infectious. Surround yourself with positive people, distance yourself from negative people.
  10. Learn from failures
    Why did it fail, what aspects did work, why did they work. What could be improved, adapted, changed to make it better? Wrong is a step closer towards the right.
  11. Be collaborative with other creative people
    Creativity is infectious; surround yourself with like minded people.
  12. Make things fun
    Shoots should be relaxed and fun, put on music, make time for chat, inspiration and ideas come from a fun and stress free environment.
  13. Find a mentor
    Find someone you admire and/or is good at what they do, whatever their chosen field.
  14. Be reflective
    What’s working well with your photography, what needs improving? What’s working well with other people’s photography, what needs improving?
  15. Enrol on courses, workshops, self-development
    Study not only the things you like, challenge yourself to discover things about subjects you don’t want to photography. I hate photographing weddings, so I go and learn about weddings, it’s surprising what tips, hints and ideas you pick up.
  16. Don’t follow the rules
    Tear down the often arbitrary rules that others impose, such as don’t chop off tops of people’s heads, the rule of thirds, set the white balance to the light source.
  17. Find a new prop every week
    Car boot sales are the king of props! Very soon you’ll be doing your own car boot sale to sell back all the props you’ve purchased and used.
  18. Impose a self-limit or theme
    Set yourself a theme or limit. Walk 5 steps and shoot a single frame, walk another 5 steps, shoot another frame and so on. Look for a chosen colour and shoot it wherever you see it, choose a shape and shoot it.
  19. Write things down
    Carry a notepad and pen or something to capture your thoughts and ideas. I use the notes facility on my iPhone and then email them to myself from my phone to pick up at home later.
  20. Start a scrapbook
    Create an ideas file, either electronically or on paper. Review it regularly and combine ideas, styles and themes to evolve new ones.
  • Adopt at least two or three of the ideas from the list above and put them into practise, then adopt a couple more and so on until they become habits.

 

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.”
– Pablo Picasso

“Innovate don’t imitate.”
– John Tisbury

Roxyanna

A collaboration shoot

Don’t you just love it when people pull together and everyone puts in some of their time and effort for the benefit of all involved. Well that’s exactly what happened last weekend when we did a collaboration shoot.  One photographer, one make-up artist and hair stylist and two models. The session came about because Jo who I use for all my MUA and hair styling jobs wanted some new shots for her website. I suggested doing a collaboration session and asking a couple of models so we can all get some new shots for our portfolios and Jo gets some images she can use on her new website.

During the session one model was having their hair and make-up done whilst I was photographing the other one and that’s how it went on for the whole session. We ended up working our way through three different make-up and hair styling looks and about 5 different lighting setups. Below are pictures of our two models EmmaB and Roxyanna.

The shots below have been placed in the order that they were taken, so starting off with a light natural looking make-up and hair style, and then moving onto more of an evening make-up look and changing the hair style to add more volume and curls. Jo wanted all the shots to be photographed in a very similar style for her website, so apart from a couple, they have all been taken landscape format and very centrally placed in the frame.

Shoot with KatyCee and Iveta

I like working with creative models, but when you get the chance to work with two creative models the shoot steps up another gear and you get work together to get some wonderful, fun and memorable shots. I love working with both these models, they are fun, creative and above all committed to putting in 100% to get great images. Enjoy the shots from this shoot.

Shoot with Raphaella

I’ve not shot Raphaella before, but I’m so glad I did, she was a joy to work with and photography, will certainly be working with her again in the future. A trained dancer and certainly knows her body, its centre of gravity and her poise and grace are superb.

Lighting the Nude book published

A new and updated version of Lighting the Nude book is out and features 11 of my images with supporting lighting diagrams. Picture below courtesy of Amazon
Lighting the nude book Vol 3

Lighting the Nude

Price: £15.49

Product details

Two new books available soon

I’m just towards the end of editing images for two new books that will be available in time for Erotica 2010, the adult lifestyle show in London Olympia at the end of November, 19-21 November. Erotica 2010 link

Triptych

The first book, titled Triptych, will be a collection of images from a trip to Spain with three models; Iveta, Roswell Ivory and Anita DeBauch. The book will also feature the work of John Evans and Gregory Brown who where the other two photographers on the trip. Each photographer has featured 40 images from the weeks trip making 120 image in total.

Cover of Triptych Book

Triptych book

Triptych book

I will also be updating the popular book of Joceline that I published for last year’s Erotica. This will feature new work that we have done since the initial book was published.

Cover of Joceline Book

Joceline Book

Collaboration – dancer & artist

The second new book, titled Collaboration – dancer & artist, will be a collection of the photographic work I’ve done with KatyCee. She is a wonderful model to work with; I’ve included a few images from the book below:

Some recent headshots

Been using a ARRI light with a fresnel lens on it, which produces a wonderfull Hollywood 40’s look to the light. The fall off from highlight to shadow are is gradual and devine.  Model in these shots is ERosanne.