Woolacombe photographers get together - 4 Days of Mayhem! | Dorset Photographer Robert Whetton

by Robert Whetton 14. February 2012 16:30

You may recall back at the beginning of January a post on here about the need for models - Well it happened 23rd til 26th January. Eleven of us hit the Seaside town of Woolacombe! I don't think the locals knew what hit them after we left.. Matt Fryer arranged the apartment we stayed in, being a local himself he knows the owner and it seems everyone else there! Nothing was planned on the 23rd, so that was travel day (there was some umming and arring about we could go on the Sunday night, but we didn't have anyone to shoot on Monday so we didn't bother).

I picked up Make-up Aritst (MuA) Sarah Jenkins (she's local in Bournemouth) before heading up into Devon. Stuart Reid made his way down from Scotland for this epic event. Matt Tyler came from Cambridge for this destination. Greg Thurtle drove from Blandford. Howard Lucas navigated from the shores of Swanage and Southampton based Stuart Webster made his way with Kirstie Blake (who brought some Elinchrom studio lighting from Brighton). Two more photographers would join us later in the week Graham Fry and Stuart Moore.

So, what was this all about, why were we all getting together in the same place? Some of us have met before, and the rest we all know though the power of the internet. We are like minded photographers who all strive to produce the best images we can, so we decided to get together and see if we could teach eachother something new. We also have different cameras and got to use those too.

An uneventful journey brought us into Woolacombe for lunchtime, my Google Maps Navigation got us to the address without a glitch and we arrived a little early and had to wait for Matt. He suggested we wait down in The Red Barn, as he had some things to sort and he would let everyone else know to meet there too.

So drinks in hand we waited for the other photographers to arrive, and spent a good couple of hours chatting before heading to the Surf View apartment, which is an amazing place! The rest of the afternoon was spent with camera gear and a Beta copy of FoCal. We also got to play with a new Fujifilm X-10, supplied to Mr Fryer by Fujifilm for testing..

Getting to grips with the Fujifilm X10

Discussing first impressions of the Fujifilm X10

Canon 1Ds Mark 3 and selection of lenses

Camera to Lens Calibration with FoCal

Studying FoCal results


After all the fun of using FoCal to calibrate our lenses and a little messing with the X10, we got onto the subject of off camera flash - with the sun setting Matt F suggested that we head down to the top of the beach and do a set up shot of Mr Tyler, after returning and processing we set off down the road to The Red Barn for some grub and drinks.

Matt Tyler at sunset


Meal out at The Red Barn in Woolacombe

Meal out at The Red Barn in Woolacombe

X10 standing on table

After our meal out we headed back to the apartment for some sleep, an early day on the cards with Milli Taylor and Kirstin Topol, both singer/song writers in the Devon area that Matt F knows.

First up, Milli arrived with her mum and hit the make-up with Sarah. When she was ready we got her outside the apartment in the hallway with Kirstie and her Elinchrom studio lights, she was using Skyport triggers to control and trigger. It was an interesting exercise to watch Kirstie using a light metre to set the lights, not being a studio shooter I usually take a test shot and check the histogram on the back of the camera and make adjustments based on what I see there, and it would seem a faster solution than having to take the light metre into the scene every time.

We all bombarded Kirstie with questions about lighting ratio and why she chose to put the lights where she did etc. Anyway I had a Canon G9 winging its way to me from ebay - but Matt F was kind enough to let me use his for our time in Woolacombe. It has a hotshoe, so I wanted to test its abilities in a studio environment, I'd seen a youtube vid with a similar camera bring used and as it has an electronic shutter wanted to see how far i could push the 'sync' speeds.

Photographs of Millie Taylor

The Canon G9 coped better than I had hoped! onto a winner as far as a small compact camera went! We were trying to use the Fujifilm X-10 too, but couldn't get the hotshoe to trigger.. without a manual we were effectively fumbling in the dark!

Kirstie talked us though some more studio stuff, we hooked up her camera to my laptop and shot tethered so we could see the results on a larger screen.

Photographs of Millie Taylor

After the Studio lights, we headed into the lounge where Howard had been setting a constant lighting rig, he had finished a mentoring programme with another UK photographer who uses constant light and wanted to show us it in use. Kirstin had now turned up and had brought her boyfriend with her, an added bonus he was also willing to model!

It was like having a mini workshop in each room. Millie in the Lounge and Baz (the boyfriend) in the hallway while Kirstin was getting ready.

Baz was a great sport considering he wasn't meant to have been photographed! Kirstie went thought a couple more lighting setups along with making use of a snoot to highlight hair.

So, onto Howards' "hot" light setup and a whole new ballgame. Colour blance was different to Kirsties Elinchrom studio lights so to make sure colour was correct thoughout the set of photos I got a shot of Millie with a colour chart.

Millie Taylor holding colour chart

Because these were contant light, in order to get a fast enough shutter speed, the ISO in camera had to be increased to compensate for the lack of power. Shooting like this reminds me of event shooting and using the available light to capture the moment.

Photographs of Millie Taylor

Millie then got changed into something a little more practicle, and we got some relaxed shots with her guitar on the sofa.

Millie Taylor and her mum on the sofa

Millie Taylor on sofa

Inbetween setups Kirstin sat down for a strum on her guitar.

Kirstin Topol playing guitar on sofa

Kristin posed for us in her evening gown and again Howard used the hot light, but i threw some off camera flash in with the Canon G9.

Kirstin posing in evening dress

Kirstin Topol playing guitar on sofa

All in all this was an amazing experience, we all got to know each other a little more and it overall strengthened our friendships - can't wait for another guys!

Bournemouth Portrait Session with Body Paint Artist Pixie Lawrie | Studio and Location Shooting

by Robert Whetton 1. February 2012 16:48

Before Pixie set off to France for her season of Body Painting, she wanted to spend some time having her photographs taken professionally for her and her portfolio. So she contacted me and we talked about her needs and threw some ideas around..

We arranged a time for her to come down from London and spent the time being creative in the studio and out on location.

The morning was out and about in the woods near Wareham forest getting Pixie warmed up to the camera because she told me that she hadn't done anything like this ever!

Pixie warming up to the camera - Professional Portraits Dorset

Pixie warming up to the camera - Professional Portraits Dorset

Pixie comfortable in front of the camera - Professional Portraits Dorset

It didnt take long for Pixie to become comfortable infront of the camera. Shot after shot was a 'keeper'.

Stunning shot of Pixie with her coat around her arms - Professional Portraits Dorset

With Pixie warmed up we headed to the studio for some more controlled lighting and to get the shots that Pixie had talked about during the consultation.

Pixie blowing dandy lion on the way back to the car - Professional Portraits Dorset

I grabbed this candid of Pix on the way back to the car.

Studio head shots, with a hat! - Professional Portraits Dorset

Starting with a head shot and a simple 2 light set-up, I got Pixie to sit on a stool and shooting tethered we started to capture shots and getting the instant feedback of seeing herself on screen we were able to move quickly though getting the shots needed.

Studio head shots, with a hat! - Professional Portraits Dorset

The next part of the session we had to think about carefully, Pixie wanted to do some Face/Body painting for some of the shots.. she also wanted to be in a sink full of bubbles.

But first on the list was an implied nude. So this shot was taken with bikini top and bottoms with body parts and hair used to hide any sign of clothing making Pix look nude in the shot. Again shooting tethered we were able to assess imediately if the angle was right, the body parts were in the same place etc. and it pretty much matched the photo we had seen and talked about. Lighting on this was a little more complex and also took some time to get just right.

Pixie seeming to be naked, but in fact in a bikini - Professional Portraits Dorset

Next on the list, Bubbles in a sink! This idea came about from a photograph that someone had taken of Pixie while she was studying at university and she wanted to re-inact the shot, but with a little more shazam.. So half a bottle of washing up liquid later and we had enough bubbles to sit in and cover the important parts.. Again this was an implied nude shot with Pixie still in her bikini.

Pixie sits in a sink of bubbles - Professional Portraits Dorset

Next on the cards.. Some body painting, after drying herself off Pixie went to work on a background for the shot, and then painting herself.

Pixie paints herself with body paint - Professional Portraits Dorset

Pixie paints herself with body paint - Professional Portraits Dorset

The afternoon was running away with us and we had 2 more locations to hit before we were finished. Pixie had an amazing hoddie with Disney characters on, so our next stop was one of the only places that still has graffiti in the area.. While Pix washed the paints off, i packed up the studio lights and backgrounds and we hit the streets once more.

Pixie leans against a graffiti'd wall - Professional Portraits Dorset

Wide angle of Pixie against a graffiti'd wall - Professional Portraits Dorset

The light fading fast, I wanted to try one more thing with Pixie at this location before moving to the beach. A jump shot!

Pixie jumps though the air - Professional Portraits Dorset

Pixie used to work for the BBC props department, working on Eastenders and picked up a wedding dress in one of the auctions they have. So with a quick costume change in the car we were onto the beach to finish the days shoot.

Pixie posing in an Eastenders wedding dress against a blue beach hut door - Professional Portraits Dorset

We had some amazing light to work with that evening, timed to perfection.. The sun was setting and there were wispy clouds in the sky, couldn't have asked for better!

Pixie poses on the beach against the settnig sun - Professional Portraits Dorset

Moving down to the sea was to be the downfall for my flash.. I hadn't anticipated being so close to the sea for shots, and didn't put a freezer bag into my lens bag to put the flash in (I carry freezer bags in my main bag to protect my flashes and triggers from rain and water). I figured it would be ok to put my light stand on the sand for a couple of shots, but the sea came up and the sand gave way.. The light took a tumble into the water and died... But, I managed to capture this before it did!

Pixie poses on the sea front against the settnig sun - Professional Portraits Dorset

After kicking myself for not bagging the flash, I turned everything off and broke out the Sigmalux (50mm 1.4) and went for some ambient light shots to finish off the session.

Ambient light head shot of Pixie using the Sigmalux (50mm 1.4) - Professional Portraits Dorset

Thank you Pixie for choosing me to be the photographer to capture your beauty and spirit. Hope we can work on some projects again in the future.

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by Robert Whetton 6. January 2012 12:30

Looking for Models for a North Devon UK shoot

 At the end of January (23rd to 26th) a collective of professional photographers are gathering in North Devon for a 4 day photographic event and we are looking for 3-4 models to work with.

Ideally you will have some experience in modelling before, but not essential. If you have any ideas / themes you would like to shoot then please let us know from the outset. If it is a little out there we want to hear from you.

Each model will be used on a Time for basis but fuel costs might be able to be meet if you have something special to offer. We can certainly make sure you are feed and watered throughout the day / evening. We also have on-board a professional MuA to take care of hair and make up.

If you are interested and available please contact me direct either through twitter, facebook or e-mail.

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About Me

Robert Whetton
Dorset Photographer

Dorset Events Photographer in the UK. Portraits, Weddings, Events, Gigs, Sports and Photo Re-Touching.
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