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Make Up Artists..the unsung heros !

23 Jan

The glamorous face, the perfect lashes, the inviting lips…most models believe it or not look like this in reality. Sure they have been blessed with great bone structure, lovely eyes, height and the right curves, but they all still have the same skin breakouts, the pimple, the cracked lips, the dry hair and freckles……do you feel a bit better now? Yes they are human after all.

This is where the make up artist steps in. Layers of secret potions and paints are applied with an amazing array of brushes and sponges, glues and glitter are placed with delicate care and talons are filed down and then buffed up to become the fabulous finishing point of the models delicate smooth hand.

They work in cramped, poorly lit spaces trying not to trip over bags of equipment  always mindful that us photographers are glancing at our watches, thinking of thee next client that is coming in.

Then we take them outdoors and asked them to perform the same miracles with no bench, the wind howling and the model complaining of being bitten by bugs.

Take a moment to thank these maestros, for they add that special touch that lifts a good image into a great one.

Logistics of photography……….

19 Jan

When you shoot in a studio, especially your own, everything you need is usually nearby, as long as the model/s and make up artist turn up most of the logistics are taken care of before hand. Your lights are set up, camera gear in place, screens and diffusers are not being blown away by wind etc. It is pretty comfortable and it allows you to concentrate on creating great images.

Now when you step out into the big wide world everything changes. Firstly you have to carry stuff and most photography gear is heavy or awkwardly sized. Second, regardless of what the weatherman says the night before on TV, Mother Nature will quite often play little games with your plans (note to self – get more sand bags). If your lucky enough to have arranged an indoor location shoot, remember to double-check that the key to the gate or door is the right one.

Even when you have done a pre-shoot check, not all your plans will go smoothly.What you thought was great light isn’t, that great big space to pose the model in is actually tiny and the props you were told were easy to move require a large tractor to budge an inch!!

Working with people you now however makes a lot of problems disappear, just like the shoot I did with another photographer, Squizzy and my mates from DreamSpace Productions. We worked around, over the top and sometimes thru each other shots and captured some awesome images of the models in the vintage Porsches. Dont worry too much about a Degree in Photoimaging just remember to study for your Diploma in Logistics of Photography………..     

Natural Talent…………

14 Jan

I love working with models. They are a slice of humanity, some have the gift, some don’t, some think they do and some just work hard to try to get it. They all share something….the desire to be seen, and there is nothing wrong with that. Their gene make up has meant that they are, in the main, that 10 percent of the population that is….beautiful.

Being beautiful however does not in itself guarantee success in the modelling game, oh no, a model also needs to understand that although the finished image, or the appearance on the catwalk looks to the general public as glamorous, the reality is hard work, in terrible conditions wearing clothes that are too tight, itchy or just downright torturous.

They also have to be able to cope with designers, make up artists ( the most undervalued profession in the world ) and us demanding photographers. You now how location direction goes, ” Bend backwards a little more so that sharp rock stabs you in the back while the freezing wave crashes over you, smile, the image will be amazing !” The thing is the good one’s do it, never complaining, ready to shoot regardless of discomfort and then when reviewing the image the look at us photographers and gush that we are amazing. Its sooo good for the ego !

In the studio, although there are no rocks, waves or insects to distract the model, there are long sessions of smiling, reposing and making minor adjustments to lights, costumes etc. Once again the good ones shine thru, Like Krystal, who I have had the pleasure of working with for a local designer. Happy, helpful, creative and always ready, she is a model model !   And yes she is definitely in that 10 percent of the gene pool .

Another pair of hands….

12 Jan

Assistants…whilst talking to videography guru Nathan Kalisch from Dreamspace productions ( ) today about a fashion project that we will be collaborating on some and the subject of assistants came up. With lights, reflectors, diffuser and all the rest that is needed on most shoots an extra pair of hands came be the difference between a great shoot and a hard slog, however you need the right pair of hands helping.

There are two helpful types then there is the rest, the ones that hinder and slow the workflow down. The first type is the budding photographer, the one that knows the gear, how to change light settings, set up stands and understands the technical terms. They may not read the light or have the creative skills yet, but they are getting there. The second type is the boyfriend/girlfriend, they know nothing about photography and don’t want to, they are just happy to move lights and carry stuff which is great and I love having them help. The model feels that their partner is being part of their art, and the partner is usually happy to be included.

My wife assists me sometimes and that makes my life easy. After 25 years together she can read my moods and although she confesses not to be interested in the “tech” stuff, she understands a lot more than she lets on. The added bonus is that the female models have another girl to help them with that fiddly dress or stray hair.


Reflectors sometimes have a mind of their own or need to be held in weird, hard to reach places, it’s then that the handy assistant is more than just another pair of hands.


4 Jan

So people just carry themselves well, the moment you see them you realise that the have something special, a quality not found in all. This model was a classic example of class, she carried herself with grace and poise throughout a very rushed session, took direction well, remained happy and cheerful, and delighted all at the studio with her sense of humour.

Beauty revisited……

3 Jan

Whilst scrolling thru my past images looking for some backgrounds, I stumbled across some images that I took about six months ago. The model and make up artist got some great shots for the portfolio and these following images didn’t make the cut, but with fresh eyes I noticed something different about these.

Somehow they were more intense, had more emotion, more thought by the model and with a little processing they took on a whole new flavour.

I am shooting two new models this week and look forward to new faces, differing style, and personalities but from now on I will make a habit of revisiting untouched images, you never know a winning image maybe waiting to be discovered.

Fanning the flames…

2 Jan

It strikes me as odd the way our view of life and our surroundings is skewed by our passion, photography. We look at things in a different light (I am not talking inverse square etc), normal shapes, designs and images change in our built-in sensor, scenes of joy, despair, triumph and tragedy are processed and decisions about depth of field, contrast, hue and saturation, crop ratios come naturally. I find that when I talk with others suffering from the same affliction that they too have already put a slant on what ever they are viewing that would not occur to mere mortals that don’t love photography.

Why would someone slow a shutter to create silky water or reduce an aperture to decrease the level of light?, why because as artists we are driven to create and have a need to produce something a little different. I love studio work, but time is money and therefore don’t get enough time to just play with shadow, contrast, pose and light that I would like, but when I am out and about I find myself constantly looking for a different scene to capture. This morning I had an idea about motion, runners and cyclists, but found myself feeling uncomfortably like a voyeur and moved on. Yes I chickened out, perhaps a greater focal length is needed !

Whilst driving home I spotted a music shop that had been gutted by fire in the last few days and noticing that no barriers were in place, went to investigate and spied this…….I wondered if it fanned the flames?



Some models are just naturals……

20 Dec

I recently had the pleasure to work with a young model who is just starting out. She was excited to be shooting for a cosmetic company who are using the images as tagline ads. Nothing was too much bother, she waited patiently, enjoyed the make up artists attention, and happily wore whats she was asked to.

It was when she stood in front of the camera that we realised what a find she is, natural, happy, creative…I could go on.

One thing I particularly liked about this model, was that despite being on the Gold Coast in Queensland where skimpy bikinis are commonplace, she didn’t feel that she had to show skin more than necessary and was aware about posing in a classy way. Nice!

She had a sense of humour and although this next image may have some people wondering, it will be made into a skin cream advert soon.

Merry Christmas all, stay safe and enjoy your family, ….oh yes take some pictures!!