Monday, 31 May 2010

An interview with Ben Adams

Last week when Ben Adams was home in London having a few days break from his touring and writing of the new a1 Album in Norway, I thought I'd do my first ever attempt of doing an interview.

Filming with one hand and reading my carefully planned interview questions on my blackberry with the other whilst he was driving - needless to say, Ben wasn't actually in a lot of the video but at least I got the audio. As bad as my attempt was, hope you enjoy this little moment of question time we had. It was a beautiful moment.......

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Thought I'd give you a little sneak peak from my beauty shoot with model Hayley McCourt and hair & make-up artist Samantha Hosker.

Next to doing some classic beauty shots, we also had fun with feathers! It's exciting to work with models that can carry off any make-up that is thrown at them and model to suit it. More pictures and looks to come from this shoot once I've had a chance to edit.

In the meantime I'm off to Norway for the weekend to see if the summer has arrived there yet. Not having high hopes, but should be a fun bank holiday weekend anyways.


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Amongst fairies and opera heroines

I recently had the pleasure of doing a photoshoot with the English Touring Opera.

English Touring Opera takes their productions to a variety of locations across England, with known opera's such as "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Don Pasquale" and "The Marriage of Figaro".

Shooting for their Spring season next year, I was so excited to work with this talented and lovely group of people. When you're taken into a huge warehouse of opera goodies and get to point and pick what to include in the shoot, you know it will be a good one.


Working with a big group of singers in extravagant costumes was inspiring, and everyone got into the vibe of what we were trying to capture. There were singers, props, costumes and crew everywhere in a wonderful chaos. I did manage to trick a few of them into singing a bit for me whilst shooting, getting a special preview of the evening performance. Nice!

And even though I wasn't able to steal with me any of the super cool props home, I was still happy to have captured some images of them all. Looking forward to it coming together on the final poster.

You can find out more about English Touring Opera on their Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

In the studio with Chloe

I work a lot on location when I shoot, but here are a couple of images of Chloe taken in my studio. I have another studio shoot booked in for tomorrow doing creative beauty, so should be interesting and fun!

Gonna make this a super quick post as there is playing in the sun to do today..... :)



Hair & make-up by Elbie van Eeden

Model: Chloe May Farnworth

Thursday, 20 May 2010

It's oh so beautiful

I want to start sharing more wonderful photography and things to inspire you, so I want to start introducing a few guest bloggers! My first guest blogger is wonderful photographer RVDS Photography. I admire his beauty photography a lot, so I asked him to write a blog about his beauty work and thoughts around this. Hope you guys enjoy this entry and want to see more guest bloggers so I can provide diversity and inspiration to you :)

When Cecilie asked me to do a guest blog post I was like..."really... me? Why?". Of course feeling honored, and since asked to share my thoughts and experience around beauty photography, thought I'd share a few bits with you.

To give you a bit of a background, I am a London based Photographer originally from South Africa. I picked up my first camera about three and a half to four years ago, and since then my life has completely changed for the better. I am now a total camera geek and love every second of it! This is a tough industry, and without absolutely loving what you do, you might as well not do it. Photography is a passion, and one of those jobs that can be (and almost needs to be) an obsession in your life to become successful at it.


Anyways, have you noticed I talk too much already? So let's talk about beauty photography. It's something I'm very passionate about and am fortunate to do quite often.

Some of the key things for me when shooting beauty are:

1. Be very selective when it comes to choosing your model. I know this sounds obvious but a beauty model should have good strong features.

2. Making the most of your available light. I mostly do indoor, studio based beauty and I prefer being inside where I can control the light, have music and a kettle close at hand.

3. Keeping it simple, even with post production I try to keep it as clean and simple as possible. I then also really take my time in post production, looking at every detail. I can sometimes spend up to 4 hours retouching one image.

So there are 3 simple things I think about when doing a beauty shoot. I know they are all a bit obvious but sometimes things are a lot simpler that you might think.






Your can check out more of RVDS Photography's work on his website, Facebook, Blog and Twitter.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

I am photographer

My photographer friend Jay McLaughlin is doing this cool personal project at the moment. His goal is to turn the camera on all the interesting people behind the camera.

So for the project he's doing a series of portraits of as many photographers as want to take part. These are combined with a quote, story or first memory in relation to their life as a photographer. In his words "Photography isn't something we do, it's who we are".

So of course I wanted to take part of this, and headed to his studio last Saturday to have my portrait taken. Check out my entry by clicking on the image below.


Note. If you're a photographer and want to take part, email to register your interest.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I wish I could be it all for you

I wish I could feel it all for you

I wish I could be it all for you

If I could erase the pain

And maybe you'd feel the same

I'd do it all for you

I would

...sometimes we just gotta keep dreaming.


Take me to a place.....

I love shooting on location! It brings something interesting to an image that makes me go oooooh. I get this question a lot from people: "How do you find all your locations?"

A wise man once told me the answer this: "Ask, beg, steal, borrow". This is unless you have lots of money to pay for expensive, fancy locations of course. So I've used this wonderful advise where possible. I ask friends, people I know and people I don't know very nicely if I see something I think will work as a location. I also use a lot of public spaces where it's ok to shoot. And only once did I make a model and make up artist climb a fence to get to a location (we humbly apologize to any security camera that might have seen us).

I also like to go location hunting. I take my car and drive around London or other places, and stop when needed to walk around. This is much more fun to do with other people, so when new photographer in town Ben Lee (he's from Canada, speaks with a cool Canadian accent and takes awesome pictures) didn't take that much convincing to come with on a location hunt day I was all over it. Heading out in the morning we drove away like Thelma and Louise (only he is a guy of course and also we weren't escaping anything) to find cool spots to shoot. While I was driving, Ben had his camera ready to capture any potential hot spot or that might inspire us. His super quick reaction to any of my sudden points was impressive, and apparently I brought out the paparazzi in him. Fun day!


Thursday, 13 May 2010

Shooting blonde in the sun

For anyone that has REALLY studied my portfolio, you'll know that I have a thing for brunettes. Also big lips and long legs while I'm sharing things I'm photographically obsessed about.

So I've made a point lately that I wanted to work with more blonde models that also inspired me, so I found Chloe May Farnworth. With her big lips, long legs and hair I'd give my left arm to have, she provided some perfect commercial fashion photos. Elbie van Eeden did hair and make-up for the day.

Another thing I often shy away from is shooting in the sun. With the amount of sun we had, bounced back on Chloe with a reflector, it nearly gave me lighting orgasm when looking in my camera.

I'd really like her hair and lips please......!


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Are we there yet?

I'm starting to feel like I almost live here now in my little blog spot. I've been trying a few different designs on this blog to get one I'm comfortable with. Hopefully this new version is one that will make me feel at home as well as you guys who come visit here every now and then.

This is slowly turning into a diary of my photography work and thoughts, things that inspire me, music stuff, fashion stuff and random ramblings, so thank you for visiting and leaving your thoughts every once in a while. I've discovered so much inspiration through other blogs and use Bloglovin to visit tonns of other blogs each day, and it's really inspired me to keep blogging myself.

So take of your jacket, hang your hat, and get comfortable in my little world of blogness :)

New Blog Banner

Monday, 10 May 2010

The social networking effect

When it comes to status updates on Facebook and Twitter, this is the sad reality of what kind of status updates people seem to be responding to. This very scientific analysis I'd like to call "The social networking effect".....

This is how the wonderful world of Facebook and Twitter responds:


So for anyone building a social networking business plan, I totally recommend including status updates about sausages and Justin Bieber. It gets people talking :P

Note. This does not apply to blogs so much

Sunday, 9 May 2010

See you down by the river

What a lovely client shoot I had yesterday! Redmann Neale had booked a shoot a while ago wanting to build his model portfolio. With a full day shoot we planned to do both studio and location shots.

Braving the rain (booo, where did spring go!?) we captured some lovely images in my secret covered outdoor location. Sometimes as cool as posed pictures are, I love even more the ones where models are captured off guard. So I tried to capture some moments while Sandra Bermingham who did the grooming on the day was talking to him. Two of the images below are some of these out-takes. And except turning the images into black & whites, they are still unedited.

Redmann was such a lovely boy, and the kind that will hold doors for you. Yes, they do still exist. He had perfect hair, perfect stubble and a perfected body. Hard days work for me obviously haha. Looking through his film I can easily see him do a campaign for jeans and similar in the future. No Redmann, it's not just your mum that thinks you look attractive! Hoping these images will help him on his way of achieving cool stuff. Sometimes you just want good people to do well.

Note to self. Shoot more boys


Friday, 7 May 2010

Why I love Black & White images

I love black & white images! I'm not sure I can explain exactly why, so I though I'd show you with some music and inspirational pictures.

Black & white seem to bring out the emotion, mood and story in the picture There are no colours to take focus away from what you're looking at and it just gives a cool feel to it. Would love to hear why you like black & white images :)













Thanks to Drea for explaining how to include the player part with audio visual only.

Note: These are not my images and belong to other photographers that inspire me. All images are from my inspirational folders so I can't remember where I've downloaded them. If anyone would like credit and link added, let me know and I'll link images to relevant pages.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Walking in the footsteps of beauty...

I'm surrounded by beautiful people. In my personal life, as a photographer... beautiful people are all around. They model. They sing. They act. So what's it like to be the one on the sideline that is not admired for their looks?

Does it make me feel a little insecure sometimes? That I'm not beautiful enough, tall enough, have nice enough lips, hair, legs etc? Absolutely! I think we all have self doubt sometimes no matter how we look and who we compare ourselves to. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one with these kind of thoughts, and I'm writing this blog because I've talked to so many girls who feel they are not good enough and seen so many girls blog about their insecurities. Girls that are perfectly lovely looking, but still start to doubt themselves and how they look. And this probably counts for guys as well.

I'm a firm believer that beauty comes from within. Someone that's beautiful on the outside, may be far from that on the inside. And someone you wouldn't turn your head after at first, may have such a beautiful spirit that will shine through and when you look at them again will become more and more beautiful for you. I notice this when I shoot as well. It's not always the obviously pretty models that takes the most beautiful pictures. It's all about what comes from within and what's in the eyes. This counts just as much in every day life.

So to all you boys and girls that feel you will never be good enough or beautiful enough.... believe in yourself and be happy with who you are and your inner beautiful and confidence will make you beautiful to the world. Ok, so some of us will never be models no matter what, but being confident with ourselves will definitely help make us more attractive to people around us and happier with ourselves.

To answer my original question... Although I have small moments of self doubt like everyone else, I'm quite happy to let others worry about presenting that perfect image to the world. Does it make them happier than me? I doubt it, and I find that life always brings me the best things when I'm happy with who I am.

Cecilie Harris

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Thought I'd do a post about retouching as I'm not sure I have before, and it's something I feel quite passionate about. I'm a total photoshop retouching geek, I raise my hand loud and proud.

The secret for me is editing an image so it looks perfect, but so that the image doesn't look that edited. I prefer that the end result has a natural feel to it. One of the comments I tend to get on my work is that my images look "clean", which is probably because I edit out all imperfections, and tend to leave some natural elements.

I recently did a beauty set, so thought I'd share some of the editing on one of those images.


This is the process I went through for this image:
  • Removed unwanted hairs sticking out from head
  • Re-adjusted hairline, so the shape looked more even
  • Slightly lifted the right eye
  • Removed unwanted blemishes
  • Went through with healing brush to reduce poors (not remove!). Varying zoom level from 100%-800%. This is the time consuming bit........
  • Removed red lines in white in eyes and sharpened the eyes slightly
  • Reduced lines in lips
  • Brought in a curve level to give a slight contrast
  • Brought in another curve layer to even out a few unwanted shadows
  • Dodge & Burn layer to lighten a few areas (under eyes, next to nose)
  • Added a slight skin smoothing technique. This is very subtle and keeps all poors
This next images goes a little closer, so you can see more of the skin detail:


As you can see, Martina already has really good skin. It still took me 3 hours to retouch this image so I got a beauty image I was happy with. Doing beauty with someone with bad skin would potentially take much more time using the techniques I do.

Every photographer retouches differently and find a technique that works for them, and also helps give a stamp on their work. Some images you can tell is a specific photographer just by the way it has been retouched. I find that quite fascinating, so thought I'd share at least how I go about it with you :)

Model: Martina
Hair & make-up: Elbie Van Eeden