stylist

Fabergé woman

Last year, I shot some imagery for Fabergé's social channels, which was one of the more fabulous experiences of my life! Nothing quite like a table filled with sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds and gold to get you inspired. Of course, I absolutely had to try all the jewellery on in order to get inside the head of the Fabergé woman - all in the name of research! This is what ran through my mind... 

1) Valentine's day is coming up so TREAT YO SELF because you gotta love yourself first riiiigggghht? 

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2) SMILE because, hello? You're dripping in Fabergé and what could be better than that?  

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3) Nothing, nothing is better than that. You're a Fabergé woman. Go forth and conquer the world. 

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It was a real pleasure to work with Fabergé on this shoot with a wonderful creative team: stylist Kristine Kilty, MUA Joanne Reyes Pidlaoan, hair stylist Evan Huang and models Nancy from BMA and Kirsty from MOT. Thanks for having me! 

Shooting for House of Coco Magazine

I'm delighted to share this exclusive editorial I shot for House of Coco Magazine - Blade Runner. I used gels for the first time in my career and loved it, I'll definitely be using them again. They can be tricky to get right but with a bit of trial and error we found the balance. I'm excited to say I'll be shooting again for House of Coco later in the year so watch this space! 

Such a pleasure to shoot with Sarah Obende from First Model Management, her look was absolutely perfect for this editorial. Huge thanks to Smashbox Studio for letting us use their amazing space and their very talented MUA Joanne Reyes for the stunning make up. Art direction by the wonderful Charlotte Lea and awesome, futuristic styling by Karine Jones.  

Dreamingless Magazine cover shoot

I have mentioned before that I started working with model and DJ, Zara Martin last year. Zara and I had said for months that we would like to shoot something more creative together so at the start of December, having put together a damn fine creative team, we arrived at Smashbox Studios for a day of shooting. We had decided to submit an editorial to Dreamingless Magazine, a favourite I've shot with before, which would be coming out towards the end of the month - near NYE. The working title was ‘Last night a DJ saved my life’ (geddit?!) so the outfits were sparkling and we had glitter canons at the ready. The glitter canons actually caused something of a stir in the studio, we had no idea how loud they were going to be. Despite almost bursting everyone’s eardrums/risking cardiac arrest, the canons created a beautiful effect which snagged us the front cover! Totally worth it.

Inevitably, some of my favourite shots didn’t make the cut. I’ve spoken before about the photographer and client having different priorities. So here are some of my favourites, because if I can’t sneak them into my own blog, where can I?! 

Shoot credits

Art Direction by Charlotte Lea

Styling by Daniela Suarez

Stylist assistant Rojan Said

Make up by Joanne Reyes using Smashbox

Hair by James Wilson 

 

Favourite photos 2016

Following a bit of end of year self-reflection, I decided to share my favourite photos I took in 2016. It’s quite exciting to see your style and skills evolve. I didn’t do a round-up of my favourite photos in 2015, but I can see a marked difference in the work I produced that year, compared to this year. On that subject, I recently stumbled across the photos I put into my application for my MA in Goldsmith’s over 8 years ago. I wept with laughter at how appalling they were. But it felt great to see evidence of the huge difference practise, grind and putting in the hours make. I can’t wait to see where I am in another 8 years…hopefully at the start of 2025 I’ll look back at my 2016 work and laugh too.

So without further ado.

My favourite photo taken in January 2016 is from a personal project I’m working on where I photograph legs and shoes. This one was particularly memorable because the legs in question belong to my little sister and the photo could not have happened without the help of my other sister and my mum. The matching shoes, weights and gym shorts were provided by my family and my little sister could only balance on the Swedish ball because my mum and sister held her in position until I was ready to shoot. I would take a couple of frames and then she’d fall off the ball. It’s one of my favourite photos and it was just taken in my parents house with help from my family - I love that!

February’s favourite is from the editorial I shot for PAUSE Magazine - ‘Earn your stripes’. Our model, Freddie Fame from Established, was fabulous and his cheekbones were one of my favourite things about this shoot.

In March, I shot this beauty editorial of summer looks for 2016. The make up trends were interpreted and created by super star make up artist, Gemma Tyler, who I love working with. With looks called ‘Desert Rave Glossy Eye’ - who wouldn’t be intoxicated by that? 

An unseasonably hot April meant shooting against a brilliant blue sky on the roof of the Bussey Building was an option - huzzah! I get asked a lot if this editorial, for Sukeban Magazine, was shot against a painted background. Nope, it’s all real baby. Sukeban Magazine runs a section called ‘Girls by Girls’ which only publishes photos of girls taken by girls (or women, in my case). I like this idea. The majority of fashion photographers are male so it’s interesting to see more focus from a female perspective. Incidentally, if you haven’t already checked out Amanda de Cadenet’s initiative #girlgaze, which champions young female photographers and their perspectives, then get on it post haste. 

In May, I was thrilled to shoot the look book for incredibly cool, modern, Scandi jewellery brand Coco's Liberty. It was one of the best shoots of the year, we all got on so well, ate cinnamon buns, drank coffee, had lunch in the sunshine and sang ‘Formation’ approximately 1,000 times. It’s a wonder we got any work done. Happy days! (I made a BTS YouTube video about this shoot, check it our here)

June brought another opportunity to shoot some more personal work, so I sought out another pair of legs and another pair of shoes. This shot was my favourite.

I shot an editorial for Dreamingless Magazine in July and wrote a blog post about it at the time, here’s the link. In the post I talk about the paradox within fashion, shooting summer clothes in winter and vice versa. This shoot was no different. On the hottest day of the year, I think I did a fine job of making this shoot seem a bit darker and more autumnal than it was!

Speaking of the fashion paradox, another beauty editorial I shot in August was finally published in Xiox Magazine in November! I loved working with Jesse from M&P, she was great fun and has a wicked laugh. My wonderful assistant Charlotte developed biceps of steel (or perhaps she had them already) by fanning a reflector to get the right kind of movement in the hair. We had tried a fan and hairdryer and neither gave the desired effect. I didn’t inflict the pain without checking it was absolutely necessary first!

In September, I did something a little different. I was invited to take part in a TV pilot called ‘Glam Squad’, a competition based programme about the fashion industry. It reminded a bit of the Britain’s Next Top Model format, challenges are set and a winner is declared. Except instead of models, the contestants are stylists, hair stylists, and make up artists. I was asked to be involved to give opinions and to take photos of the challenges. (See one of my interviews here!) It was really exciting to do something so different. Styling the band ‘Running with Wolves’ was one of the challenges and this photo of the lead singer is my favourite (probably because it involves a leg and a shoe).

I shot the main fashion editorial for the December issue of Debut Magazine in October. The magazine’s theme was Celebration and we shot a Christmas party style editorial at the fabulously kitsch Bodo’s Schloss in Kensington. This was my favourite shot. It looks exactly like the kind of night out you should be having at Christmas.

In November, I was chuffed to be booked again to shoot the look book for Coco’s Liberty. We had just as much fun and just as many cinnamon buns as the last time. I can’t wait to work on the next one!

And finally, in December, it was my privilege to shoot for Dreamingless Magazine again, this time the cover! Myself and the team shot Zara Martin at Smashbox Studio. There were glitter cannons (that made a LOT of noise), a wind machine, metallic trousers and sequinned dresses. What could be a better cover for a December issue? And what could be a better way to end 2016?!

Shooting for Dreamingless Magazine

 

Last month, my editorial for Dreamingless Magazine came out. As is fashon’s fickle nature, spring/summer stories tend to be shot in the winter and autumn/winter stories in the summer. With the collections shown a few months previously, this is so the stories are ready to publish in the relevant season. However, catwalk-to-shop retail models are slowly emerging, with big players such as Burberry, Toyshop, and Ralph Lauren at the helm. What the implications of this will be for shooting timelines and the fashion industry as a whole, remains to be seen. We are in the midst of a frenetic change so we’ve got to ride the tide and see how it all pans out. But I digress. My point is, I shot this dark AW16 editorial at the height of summer, on a sweltering hot day in July. My challenge was to control the light in such a way that it looked nocturnal or wintry…or at the very least, not the heatwave we were experiencing. Using flash and shooting on a small aperture always helps…as does Photoshop. 

I was so excited to book Lexi from M+P for this shoot. Lexi got down to the final five in the most recent series of Britain’s Next Top Model and has a girl-next-door-gorge look. Lexi was energetic, versatile, full of creative ideas and possessed a steely determination to do anything to get the shot. Ideal! I'll definitely work with her again in the future.

Natasha Freeman styled up some amazing looks for this shoot and make-up artist Erica Schlegel created some smokey eyed deliciousness for us. Both Natasha and Erica have seriously impressive client lists so I was thrilled to have such a brilliant creative team on board. Here are some of the tear sheets plus a selection of some of my favourite shots that weren’t published. Hope you like them!

 

PAUSE magazine - Earn your stripes

Last month I shot an editorial for menswear magazine, PAUSE. I've been a big fan of PAUSE's cool, edgy, and youthful aesthetic for a long time so I was thrilled to be commissioned by them. PAUSE came to me with a really open brief, simply asking how I would interpret the big trend for SS16: stripes. I played around with a few concepts (the go-faster stripe was one idea, no joke) before finally settling on 'Earn your stripes' - exploring the idea of having to prove yourself. Within that concept, I thought it would be fun to play around with the clothes, maybe the more you have to prove yourself, the stripier the clothes get. 

The first thing I do after I've brainstormed the initial concept and mood board is to put together a creative team. Daniela Suarez is a fantastic stylist as well as the fashion editor of Jungle Magazine. She's young and edgy so a perfect fit to style this shoot for PAUSE. Dani and I talked about how a sporty and tailored aesthetic would fit well within the concept. 

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For grooming I was delighted that MUA extraordinaire Gemma Tyler came on board. I've worked with Gem several times before and as well as being a fantastic MUA, she's also a very calming, reasoned voice on set. She has no problem calling bullshit and kept her cool when I once had a rather dramatic accident on set. But that's a story for another day. Gem thought a slicked back look for the model's hair would suit the clothes and concept and I agreed.

And what luxurious hair it was! Freddie Fame at Established was our model for the shoot. A fantastic model with a great look and a heart of gold. Freddie was an absolute delight to shoot and chat to off camera.  

For the location I wanted to shoot somewhere graphic and linear as a backdrop, naturally occurring 'stripes' within the urban landscape. Taking a walk through Bermondsey Square one sunny Sunday, I thought it would really work as a location. From the electrical wires running overhead to the corrugated exterior of the buildings and the linear pattern in the pavements, it was perfect (and about 10 minutes from my apartment. I love me some proximity).  After completing a risk assessment form and providing my public liability insurance the management of the square very kindly allowed me to shoot there. 

We needed a base for the shoot though, somewhere to hang and steam the clothes, for the grooming, somewhere for the model to change, somewhere to keep warm etc. I'm not going to pretend I've gone through my career without doing all of those things behind cars on the street or the loos of Pret, but it's not ideal! Thankfully, the wonderful staff at the Bermondsey Square Hotel came to the rescue and provided us with one of their beautiful terrace suites overlooking the square (and with complimentary hot drinks all day!)

Next, I needed to think about how I was going to light the shoot. It was a beautiful, sunny day so I wanted to expose for the sky to capture its colour and fill in the model with light. I used my Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT to achieve this but crucially I needed to get the flash gun off the axis of the camera to get creative with the light. I hired a Plus III Pocket Wizard set from my good friends at The Flash Centre (the best place for equipment rentals in London) so my assistant Leanne could hold the flash off camera. I also hired a Canon 85mm f1.2 L lens (aka 'the God lens') so with that and my Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L MK II lens I was, at last, ready to get shooting!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am committed to getting the shot! See Gem's shadow bottom left. Always capturing my finer moments...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am committed to getting the shot! See Gem's shadow bottom left. Always capturing my finer moments...

I wanted to use this blog post to give more insight into the practical side of producing a shoot as well as the tools I use to create the shots. Being a photographer involves a lot more than just taking photos - which is what I'm going to write about next. If there are any topics in particular you'd like me to cover - holler at me in the comments below.

My sincere thanks to the management of Bermondsey Square, the Bermondsey Square Hotel, the Flash Centre, Established Models, PAUSE and my creative team, especially my assistant Leanne. 

The LBD through the decades

Ahhhhh the Little Black Dress. The wardrobe stalwart that has filled column inches in fashion magazines for donkeys. The old reliable, nothing new here. However, when stylist extraordinaire, Laura Puddy, came to me with a concept of shooting the LBD and its evolution through the years, that piqued my interest. To examine the reinvention of a classic over the course of 6 decades also involved recreating the mood of each decade, taking inspiration from its muses and of course, its style. I used the lighting conceptually, to reflect (geddit?) the mood of each decade, prim for 50’s, grunge for 90’s etc. Muses from Audrey Hepburn, to Edie Sedgwick, Debbie Harry, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss and Alexa Chung inspired us as did the playlists from each era created by our make-up artist (slash DJ) Gemma. Good times.