How I plan photo shoots on the Isle of Wight
Sam got in touch after seeing her friends’ photos taken over the summer in Ryde (SEE HER FULL STORY HERE).
We’d waited 3 months to get together.
And I’m so glad we did.
I’d been saving this location for over a year, waiting for someone with the right kind of vibe.
And then I found Sam – bright, fun-loving and generous. Even in the cold and the wind.
Here was my plan …
I always visit the location at least twice to test out the light. I’ll take lots of photos and share them on instagram (click here to see the rest of the collection). It helps me visualise the light, the backgrounds and the possibilities.
It means I’ll know exactly where I want the model to stand and which direction to face to find the most flattering light.
Colour is a large part of my photography. Especially red.
I waited until autumn to use this area to take advantage of the rusty leaves.
I compose photographs to create diagonals, triangles and leading lines. I knew the sun would shine on Sam’s hair and the fence would act as a gobbo to block out some of the light. Creating all important shadows on the cheek bones.
I’d planned to use the wall lower down the path. When the winter’s sun came out unexpectedly, I worked quickly.
Asking Sam to crouch down I took the shot facing into the sun. Shooting downwards towards the model can be flattering if you get the right angle.
Looking into the sun is risky. It can cause squints and watery eyes.
People were also starting to take notice of our antics so I made sure I caught Sam laughing before we moved on to an outfit change.
Always be open to new ideas. My favourite location wasn’t available and I had to pick a different spot.
As is often the case, I have a sneaky feeling it’s better than my original choice.
Steps are my ‘signature look’. I could do a whole session just in one spot. You’ll see a lot of ideas collected on my posing guide (pinterest link).
This little spot was warm, out of the wind and bathed in softer light.
Once I find a spot that offers comfort, privacy and flattering light I tend to stick to it. Like glue.
The results are always worth it.
Here the light glanced over the trees and created a lovely halo effect around Sam’s head. A reflector at my feet bouncing light back onto Sam’s face, creating a beautiful glow on her skin.
This location is a mere 5 paces away from the photograph above. The strong mid-day sun is starting to cause problems and my luck is about to run out.
Notice Sam is now wearing her coat. Close fitting clothes that follow the line of your figure are the most flattering. However, if the model is cold or uncomfortable it’ll show in your photographs. Put the model first, always. It’s the decent thing to do.
See my advice for posing people using this portrait session in Ryde.
A little bit of magic happens in this location. My reflector broke. I was struggling with the wind. It was getting cold. But something about this doorway made me pause.
Sam is a great sport. I joked, “jump in that hole” and she did.
The broken reflector was leaning against the stand and the wall, angled to bounce the mid-day sun into the dark entrance. Sam is placed just on the corner where the light can still find her face.
My enthusiasm inspired confidence. You can see my infectious laugh reflected in Sam’s smile. Especially when you look at the opening images.
Photography is about passion, fun and silliness. Not perfect poses and rigid smiles.
We’re at the end of my session. I’d found a lovely floor with beautiful moss that I’d planned to use.
But it was wet. Damp. Muddy. And plain messy.
Sam is sat on a large stone with the sun shining through her hair.
A quickly composed shot. Once I’m confident I’ve found a flattering angle, I ask Sam to drop her coat one final time.
The final shots are always the best – we’ve spent two hours together, discovering a new friendship. Excitement is high. Relief that the photo shoot was a success. Tiredness because modelling isn’t as glamorous as it first appears.
Beauty is created. Because of Sam. Because she gave me permission to reflect the beauty I see in others.
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