Photography studio, gallery and training complex

What A Difference A Day Makes

Any photographer will tell you that it’s important to continue shooting personal work, even if for no other reason than to flex your creative muscles, try out new ideas, new models, new lighting, new locations, new equipment, or just to inject a bit of excitement into the workaday week. I try to do this at least once every few weeks if my workload allows.

A couple of weeks ago, regular Fotofilia model Katie-May O’Hanlon asked me to provide some different images for her portfolio (I think she felt she needed to try some new directions) and I was happy to oblige. Katie is always a pleasure to work with – a confident look, dancer’s poise, and an inveterate giggler of the first order.

Katie had arranged a make-up artist (MUA) – Shabana (Shabs) Dhadda – and had a number of looks in mind. We’d discussed a couple of these ideas in advance but on these occasions I (perhaps quite strangely) like to be surprised, forcing me to think on the spot. One thing we had agreed on from the beginning was that it should be a mixture of studio and location shots. We decided to start with a very natural look, minimal make-up and subtle lighting. I shot a few images using a simple one-light-plus-reflector studio set-up.

Then, with the same make-up, we moved to the lobby of the studio – the only place where we can access enough natural light – and shot a few “morning” shots with light from the door bounced using a silver reflector.

While Katie and Shabs worked on the next look, a 1940s, Elizabeth Taylor-inspired look, I set about finding a suitable location. I had an idea about again using natural light but this time in a cafe or restaurant setting so I put out an appeal via Twitter for such a venue in the Jewellery Quarter area. Before long a response came back from David and Kate at Brewsmiths cafe, a 5 minute walk away. I could see from their website that this was a venue that was bathed in natural light, and so it proved – but just as importantly, the coffee and cake was excellent!

After shooting inside for a while, we headed back to the studio, stopping off to capitalise on the great light and locations we encountered on the way.

Once back, Katie and Shabs returned to the dressing room for the final transformation, emerging some time later suitably attired for a Nicki Minaj-inspired set. Here, Katie could really let rip with her repertoire of poses. Not especially demanding technically or creatively from my end, but great fun nonetheless, and an ideal way to end the day’s shoot.

I thought you might like to see the range of looks that were achieved in a comparitively short space of time, transforming Katie from fresh-faced beauty to saucy pop diva – all thanks to a great model and talented MUA.

Sincere thanks to Katie and Shabs for a fun shoot, and Dave and Kate at Brewsmiths for their generous hospitality

Katie-May –


One response

  1. Great shots. She is so photogenic. Like the Liz Taylor look the best!
    I came to your class on Saturday. I had to rush off at the end sadly and didn’t get a chance to say how much I enjoyed the day. Thank you so much for a really inspiring lesson! Am going to try to come to the exhibition tomorrow evening.

    September 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm

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