Nikita is a flame haired Yorkshire beauty who recently celebrated her 18th birthday (see full slideshow video at bottom of page) – and for a ‘present to remember’, her family asked us to do a very special ‘Teen Elegance’ photo-shoot. In preparation for a full Sunday photography session, Debbie and I arranged firstly the indoor venue; the interesting and rustic surrounding’s of Hull’s latest, and now very popular, restaurant, ‘The Laundry’.
Antique Surroundings for Portrait
Sunday morning at 10 a.m. was when we all met up at this first location of the day. Along with myself and my ever faithful light-stand, Debz, was friend and hair stylist Daniel (from local salon, ‘The Fringe Hair & Beauty‘), young Reece assisting and Nikita’s Grandma and Grandad, Maureen and Bob (being the appropriate adults, as we laughed about all day). We picked two parts of the venue to use as a back-drop for Nikita – the first was a large, well stocked cabinet full of antique books and topped off/surrounded by other interesting paraphernalia and the second, The Laundry’s unique spiral staircase – decorated with various sizes and colours of ladies bra’s (honestly!). The bookshelf area really set off our first imaginary theme of a young lady, perhaps sat waiting for a train to depart, luggage by her side and reading a book to pass the time. Of course, flicking through ‘The A~Z of Modern Manners’ is what every young lady should read whilst in a waiting room.
Next up then was the setting of the stunning spiral staircase. I’d previously lit Nikita with a single Bowens monolight/beauty dish plus an amber gelled speedlight as a hair kicker. For the staircase, I first tried an available light shot using the morning light streaming in from the window behind (exposing for my subject and letting the rear light partially blow out). This worked ok, but left Nikita with little contrast in the resulting image so we used a white reflector to punch some of the natural daylight back into her and got a couple of keepers from that method. After this, I quickly flicked back to the first lighting set up, changed my angle to the subject a few times, which gave a few ‘wow’ moments happening thereafter. We had a time window of two hours before the restaurant opened for Sunday lunch, so as midday approached, we packed up the gear ready for our next, outdoor location.
Although it was a brisk September day, we were blessed with some sunshine and a blue sky – this was great because we had chosen the beautiful East Yorkshire village of Bishop Burton for Nikita’s outdoor location photo shoot. That’s part one of something special, but the icing on the cake is that we had arranged for our birthday girl to be posing in and around a classic, 1950s red VW Beetle (kindly supplied by ‘Volksmeister’ Robert from local company ‘C&R Entertainment‘). The sight of a team of people with photography gear, a vintage car with a redhead sat inside and all bang, slap in the middle of the village green certainly got a few heads turning and passing car horns tooting. Prior to set up however, I did of course knock on a couple of nearby doors of the surrounding (again, beautiful) cottages and chatted with residents to see if they were ok with what was about to happen outside their front room windows – they were all fine about it thankfully and actually, quite interested.
Hollywood Style Photography
Whilst Reece and I set up the lighting, changed lens and got the Lee filter system in place (that blue sky was just asking for a polarization filter), the girls got to work firstly getting Nikita into her lovely, cream vintage dress and accoutrements, shortly followed by Dan who set up an impromptu hair salon in the village green’s bus stop (I kid you not). Again, the sight of a six and a half foot hair stylist grooming a young girls hair and adding daisy chains, nearly caused a village centre pile-up. Onward and upward then as Robert and I negotiated the vintage VW into place – under tree shade, out of the sun so we had no overly-specular lights on the vehicle. I would then expose to control the background (the Lee ND filters helped do that and get good bokeh), then set the Bowen’s main light (now sat in a Photoflex small octabox) for our subject. Use of reflectors and the SB900 as bounce and rim lights respectively helped create the light I needed too.
With Nikita sat in the VW driving seat, on the rear hood too and adopting various poses against or near the red classic car, we were all knocked out at the sense of ‘Hollywood’ that seemed to appear on the camera’s rear screen. Our model looked every inch the movie star (a testament to the styling she’d received from the team) and the drop dead gorgeous VW made the most awesome prop this particular photographer has ever used for sure. Wrapping the day up by grabbing a few shots of said classic vehicle for Rob, we packed up the gear and headed on home – everyone exhausted but excited at the days results.
Please check out the full hi-res images from Nikita’s, ‘Teen Elegance’ photo-shoot, which can be seen on our ‘Looking Glass’portfolio page