30 September 2010

Shooting a fitness model in a nice hotel room

I don't like to do shoots in hotel rooms often, but sometimes circumstances force my hand.  By the time Cheri and I decided to shoot (just a few hours after we met at Marc Thyssen's Planet Muscle group shoot) it was dark out.  Marc kindly let me borrow one of his lights, and while he was shooting his own pretty girl in another room, Cheri and I shot.

Cheri was in amazing shape for the shoot.  I love working with models in such great shape.  My favourite photo (above) makes her look so much bigger than she really is.   Working with one light means you can create some quite dramatic lighting, which I find really helps to capture "muscle".

Below is a fun snap I took to show the issues involved when shooting against floor to ceiling windows at night!  The light makes them look like a near perfect mirror, but really these were the windows in the Mandalay Bay and outside was an amazing view all the way down the Las Vegas strip.

Leigh Brandt shows off our latest tearsheet

A few days after shooting with Leigh in Las Vegas she sends me this photo of her with our latest tearsheet, a 4 page feature in South African magazine Muscle Evolution Magazine.

29 September 2010

A couples photoshoot in Las Vegas

Finally I get to do something other than a fitness photoshoot in North America!

Thank you to Terra and Henry, and for all the insults we traded throughout the morning.  It was fun!

28 September 2010

Olympia 2010 Expo opens

Just a little bit of fun.  I filmed the first three minutes of Saturdays Olympia 2010 Expo as it opened its doors.  Here, sped up 10 times, and miniaturised, is the video.

Tech information: Filmed with a Canon S95 camera.

26 September 2010

Shooting on a Dry Lake Bed

One of my favourite locations near Las Vegas is the dry lake bed a few minutes south of the city.

I was there with three fantastic models, Dan Hill, Veronica Yoo and Visnja Luetic, earlier in the week, and this is my favourite photo of the three of them.

Wet wipes are the answer

To a question like "how do I clean the mess that is above off my camera?"

This is what happens when you leave your camera in the open boot of a car, while shooting in very strong winds at dusty dry lake.   I was shooting Dan Hill, Veronica Yoo and Visnja Luetic at the dry lake just outside Jean some 25 minutes down the I-15 from Las Vegas.  I was shooting with my other body, and had left my camera in the back of the car.  I came back to it 20 minutes later to this.  Eeek!  I didn't even try and clean it at the time, instead I bought a pack of wet wipes and carefully cleaned it back at the hotel.  So far, somewhat surprisingly given the mess, it's still working perfect!  I guess Canon 40D's are more dust proof than I thought.

Shooting big Dan Hill

A few weeks before travelling to Las Vegas I was contacted by German body-builder and the youngest IFBB Pro ever, Dan Hill.  It's quite rare that I'm contacted by a male body-builder, so I was keen to see what we could do together.

Although he wasn't competing at Olympia this year, he was in top photoshoot shape.

We ended up shooting on the dry lake bed 30 minutes south of Las Vegas.

Thanks Dan for a cool shoot!   I bet the all you can eat sushi place is glad you don't live in Vegas coz you'd probably put them out of business!

22 September 2010

Shooting Allison Moyer

Today I had the pleasure of working with fitness model / athlete Allison Moyer.  We did most of the shoot around the pool at The Orleans, but towards the end we ventured into the parking garage.  Although we'd asked security on the way to the pool if it was okay to shoot there, a jumped up security nazi stopped us 15 minutes into shooting in the car park.  We were disturbing no one, had permission, but apparently we had to talk to Lieutenant Buttwad (that may or may not have been his name) to get his approval before we could continue shooting.

I wanted to keep shooting a bit longer to catch some of the amazing late afternoon light, but with the security nazi stopping us, and with neither of us having a car to go elsewhere, we were forced to finish the shoot there and then.  Thankfully we had some pretty good shots in the bag, and more importantly Allison was happy with what we'd done.

21 September 2010

Shooting pretty girls in Las Vegas

I'm going to try and update with photos and words throughout my trip.  As I get busier this may or may not actually happen, but I'm going to try.

My first shoot in Las Vegas came less than 24 hours after arriving.   My subject was Alana, a British girl over in the USA on holiday.

We started shooting in her room at one of my favourite Las Vegas hotels,  The Hard Rock Hotel.   Since I stayed there a few years before they've done so much work to the place.  It has a whole new concert hall, the pool area was at least twice as big, and they have two new tower blocks full of rooms.  Shortly after we snuck into their pool area to shoot by the palm trees and the water.  We ended the shoot over the road at the Rumor Boutique Hotel where we shot the last couple of outfits by their pool.

20 September 2010

My little black book goes to Toronto

I may have not made it to this years WBFF fitness extravaganza this year, but my Little Black Book made it across the pond in the hands of London based fitness model Alexandra Wilson.

Thanks Alex! :)

If you've purchased my book, please send me a photo with it, and I'll feature it on my blog!

13 September 2010

Cat portrait photography

They say never work with children or animals.  I say ignore that advice because both can give you some amazing photos.  You may have to have more patience, and work a little harder, but the results are often worth it.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing 5 cats.  Well, at least I should have photographed 5 cats, but 2 of them weren't playing our game, so we only ended up with photos of 3 of them.

Cats might be very cute, but they're a bit of a bugger to get them to do what you want them to, where you want them to do it, for a photoshoot.  The easy way would have been to chase them around the room working with natural light and a flash, but no, I decided to set up a mini studio, which meant they'd have to come and sit in the right place.

With a little bit of food, a fluffy bird on a stick, two helpers, and a bright green laser pointer pen we just about got them to do what we wanted.

It was my first time doing cat photography like this and I'm rather pleased with the results.

Update:  The cats are both Maine Coon cats.

12 September 2010

Cat portrait photography outtake

No more pussy related gags, just my favourite outtake from my cat photoshoot in London earlier today.  The proper photos will come tomorrow.

11 September 2010

Fire performers in Bournemouth

Last night I ventured into Bournemouth to take a look at the "Bournemouth Lights" event that was being promoted by my friend Suzy from Strawberry Fields.

The highlight of the evening was the fire show put on by Simon Chainey's Flame Fire Shows.  If you've not seen one of their shows, basically they play with fire while trying not to set light to themselves.

Fire is a fascinating subject to photograph.  Often you see things in the photos that happen too quickly to see normally.  The opening photo shows just that, it looks like Simon has set himself alight, but its just a trick of the camera.  It's a tough subject, even more so when you're shooting it as part of a performance.  One day I'd like to do an actual fire shoot.

08 September 2010

You’re fired – A photo from the Bournemouth Echo

A little birthday tearsheet to help me celebrate!  One of my favourite ever fire photos is published in today's Bournemouth Echo.

The subject is Simon Chainey at his Southern Lights Festival back in June.

03 September 2010

Photographing a wedding in London

Two weddings in three days is a record for me, and they couldn't have been more different.  I was a little worried about traffic and parking, but I need not have been, traffic was light, and I was able to find "rock star parking" everywhere I had to go.

This was a much more traditional wedding, a few photos of the groom preparing, and then a few more of the bride, before heading off to Chelsea Old Town Hall for the ceremony.

A much more intimate affair this was than the Indian wedding a few days earlier, with maybe 35 people to see the couple wed.  The big difference for me was witnessing the raw emotion.  Seeing the groom cry, hopefully because he was stupidly happy rather than "oh shit what have I done?"!

The wedding lunch was at the lovely Aubergine restaurant in Park Walk, Chelsea.  I was treated to the same menu as the wedding guests, although I had a special table of one, all to myself.  The food was great, as was the service.

After doing a few photos of the happy couple in Battersea Park there was a brief lull in proceedings before the evening celebrations at Mare Moto on the King's Road.  Sadly I wasn't able to sample the food there as I left with a hot date shortly after the cutting of the cake.

With perfect weather I thoroughly enjoyed shooting my first wedding in London.  Thank you to Marita and Jakob for allowing me to be a part of your very special day.

PS. The pigeon was eating the rice that had been throw over the couple.  :-)

An Indian Wedding in Southampton

I've never photographed an Indian wedding before so when I got the last minute call to be the photographer for the grooms side of the family last week it peaked my interest.

I wasn't familiar with the Indian culture, so I had no idea what to expect.   All the weddings I've shot before I've been there on one day, and that's it.  This one I was there on and off over 4 days, including from 9am thru till 1am the following day on the actual wedding day.  Not quite my longest day of photography ever, but close.

For most of the time I didn't have a clue what was going on, there were ceremonies and traditional stuff happening, so I did my best to get good photos.  Most of the ceremonies took place in the grooms and brides house, and that normally meant as many people in the room (small rooms at that) as possible.  Photographing wasn't easy.

There were coach rides, two white doves, a horse-drawn cart, lots of colours, a marching band, lots of alcohol, and the loudest DJ ever entertaining 500 people at the Southampton Guildhall.  If I had to sum up the wedding, it would have to be that Indians sure know how to party!

Congratulations to Gurpal & Sukchan!

02 September 2010

Shooting a pretty girl in Southampton

August Bank Holiday Monday in Southampton might have been a bit of a gamble with the weather for a location shoot.  However it worked out perfectly.  After a slightly cloudy and slow start to the shoot we were treated to some perfect afternoon sun.

It was my first time working with Czech Republic model Eva, and also my first with my lighting director (big shiny silver thing holder), Pete K.

We started the shoot with a chat over drinks at the Holiday Inn hotel in Southampton before heading out to shoot.  As I said, the shoot started slowly.  This is fairly normal when working with a model for the first time, but the long breaks while the sun was hidden behind the clouds weren't helping matters.

Having run out of locations to use in the centre of Southampton (it's hard doing sexy swimsuit stuff when there is people around), I decided to move to a location in Nursling that I've used a couple of times previously.  The location, down a back street is quite industrial and dirty, but I knew it would be quiet.

A couple of "lads" arrived in a van shortly after, and they offered to let us shoot inside the scrap yard that had previously been locked.  They were making a few inappropriate comments towards Eva, but their goodwill gave us access to a fun location so we had to grin and bare it.  In the end I decided it was best we vacate the scrap yard, so we packed up, I drove around the corner, waited for a bit for the lads to go about their way before returning to the road to finish our shoot.

It was quiet a challenge choosing the photos from the shoot for this post, I've made a concious decision to keep the more raunchy images off the blog, and finding my favourites from the less sexy images was hard work.

The shoot was for a submission to American Curves, and as always it's bit hit and miss, some you win and all that.  Fingers crossed Bob & Rico like Eva's photos.

01 September 2010

Worst weather I've ever had to shoot in

Last Wednesday I had a fitness photoshoot with Henrik scheduled.  The day before I checked the weather forecast, it looked bad.  I gave him the chance to re-schedule, but he'd been dieting and training hard for Wednesday, and was travelling at the weekend so re-scheduling wasn't an option.

The day came, and the weather was indeed awful.  Cold, wet, and windy.  It's at times like this I wish I had a studio.

So to plan b it was.  We started the shoot in the Bargate Centre multi-storey carpark in the centre of Southampton.  This time instead of holding a reflector, my assistant was holding an umbrella over the camera.  A couple of outfit changes later and we were ready for a hot cup of tea.

Next location was under the car park at the East Street centre.  It was a little odd for me because my Gran used to live right opposite, and I can imagine her looking out of her kitchen window and enjoying the sight of Henrik!

The last location, and the coldest, wettest and windiest of all was near the Itchen Bridge.

Shoot over, we battled through the worst than normal traffic to the DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel where all three of us enjoyed a big fat burger!

It was easily the worst weather I've ever had to shoot in, but strangely I still enjoyed the challenge, and I really rather like some of the moody photos.