I had a fantastic day last Tuesday, at a styled photoshoot hosted at the Proud Ballroom in Brighton. The shoot had been organised by Melissa Love, with props and services provided by a host of local businesses, and the performers/models working for their portfolios (see credits at the bottom of page). The opportunity to shoot Burlesque performers and boudoir settings, along with some vintage-themed wedding scenes had attracted around 40 photographers from far and wide, and I think everyone found the day as much fun as I did. I have to say the models all looked amazing, and the props, clothes, styling and everything else really made the whole thing come alive.
Fun, but also hard work and I felt as tired at the end of the day as if I had been shooting a wedding! Part of that was probaly because it was my first boudoir shoot and I was out of my comfort zone with a steep learning curve. However, I got some fantastic images and would definitely want to do more boudoir-style work.
The day was divided into a number of mini-scenes, with 4 groups of photographers rotating between the sets and getting about 30 minutes with each. I can’t share all the shots just yet, but will include two or three from each scene to give you a taste, and hopefully post more in the future to really do it justice.
The first task was to divide the photographers into groups, and we then got a briefing from Melissa on what to expect. This was followed by a quick demonstration of posing and shooting by acclaimed burlesque photographer Tigz Rice, and international burlesque star Missy Fatale. I was able to get just a few quick shots from off stage, but there would be more opportunities later.
After getting organised my group, ably led by Dade Freeman , headed down to the seaside with our 3 “groomsmen” – Andy, Ziggy and Will. We were belessed with some quite golden sunlight, although a little harsh at times. There are loads of interesting places down on Brighton Seafront, and we quickly got into the groove and had fun with the guys, directing them in various ways, as ideas occurred to us. It was a bit chaotic at times, as there were 8 or 9 photographers all shouting instructions and trying to get into the right position for the best angle:) I think we managed to learn to work together though.
Some of my facourite shots involved using the interesting architectural features such as benches and arches to add interest and perspective to the shots. I also tried a number of different feels in post-processing. These are fairly straight mono conversions, but I have done some in a cross-processed style which gives them more of a 60s/70s feel (like all the shots of me as a kid in my mum’s albums). Here’s a little taster:-
For the second scene we had the use of a vintage Rolls-Royce, supplied by Simon Ross of Vintage Wedding Cars, and our two wonderful 40s-style (30s-style?) models Meredith Hepner and Matt Keller. Meredith and Matt really looked the part, and were rocking the whole look & feel. We tried a range of shots in and around the car, and I’ve processed them with a vintage feel which I am lovin’ :-) More from this shoot another time.
This is where I had to work really hard, as it was totally new to me. We had moved indoors now, into a small dressing area with a couple of dressing tables set up (and with some studio-flash units) to give mini-sets for us to work in. There was also a leather sofa that we could incorporate and at one point there were 5 or 6 models there, plus us photographeres, so it really was a challenge just to keep out of each other’s way at times – especially when working with mirrors. The girls were great to work with, and looked fantastic in all their lingerie and corsetry. As I gained in confidence I got better at directing the poses and I think this was actually the most rewarding part of the day for me as I learned a lot in a short space of time (and a confined space!).
For the final scene we moved down to the main stage for some burlesque shots. This set-up also presented some challenges, but was rewarding. We had a series of models to shoot, including a bit of story-telling with Kitty and Ziggy, who played their roles excellently. Last but not least, there was another appearence by Missy Fatale, who moved through a huge range of poses in just a couple of minutes. The lighting here was lovely, and I the results are perticularly opulent. All the while I was thinking how her sultry look reminded me of Jessica Rabbit:-)
After a well-deserved glass of champagne for everyone it was then time for a bit of a show, and we were treated to two different performances. I was struck by the confidence of the performers and the buzz they generated, and it was a great way to round off the day.
Well, that’s all for now, but I have plenty more I could share once I have finished the editing. All in all it was a great day in many ways – I learned a lot and met some great fellow photographers. Big thanks to Melissa Love, the stylists, clothing and prop providers - and of course all the models and performers:-
MODELS & PERFORMERS
Scarlett Cuffs / Charlie Knight
Miss Phoenix / Hazel Goodman
Kitty Devine / Rachel McVay
Melissa Love Design – www.melissalove.co.uk
Props etc: The Tea Set – www.the-tea-set.co.uk
Venue: Proud Ballroom – www.brightonballroom.com
Lingerie & Accessories: She Said Boutique – www.shesaidboutique.com
Dresses & Accessories: Joanne Fleming Design – www.joanneflemingdesign.com
Menswear: Gresham Blake Tailors – www.greshamblake.com
Decorations & Accessories: Velvet Lifestyle Store – www.velvetstore.co.uk
Tigz Rice Burlesque Photographer – www.tigzrice.com
Studio Flash systems: The Flash Centre – www.theflashcentre.com
Vintage Wedding Car – www.vintageweddingcar.com
Hey Day Honey Vintage Hair & Makeup – www.heydayhoney.com