When I got interested in photography as an enthusiast, group shoots and model days provided me easy access to excellent models, so I knew I would get great shots, unless I as the photographer made technical errors. It was a great way to learn, with each of those type of shoots having their own pros and cons.
It has to be said that group shoots can turn into something akin to a Rugby maul or ruck. Not all by any means, but it does help to know who your shooting partners are so everyone gets a fair crack of the whip. Another problem is that you generally work on one set with one costume, which means that the scope to produce a unique image is virtually non-existent as images will be duplicated by your shooting partners. Add to that the shooting over your shoulder brigade and thing can be very fraught indeed.
Model days are better as you get to choose the model and studio that you want to work with, and you work one to one with her. There’s no interference, and you can take your time over each set. If your pre-shoot communications with your model were good you’ll even have her wardrobe sorted out and you can light the set to suit the look. That’s a much better state if affairs.
Lately, I’ve stopped doing group shoots and cut down on studio days, preferring to organise my own stuff. As a photographer I believe that I need to take responsibility for all aspects of a shoot and organise it the way that I want it to be. It forces me to push my limits and to learn new techniques quickly and apply them. That’s something I’ve recognised I need assistance with, so I’ve asked to be mentored by an expert photographer, to get me to the level that I want to be at. There will be another blog about that soon!
An opportunity to put some of my knowledge into practice came recently at an outdoor summer shoot. The event was hosted by Conrad Webb, the owner of WindmillArt Studio in Linton, Cambridgeshire. Conrad provided the venue, 7.5 acres of beautiful grounds surrounding his lovely house and the windmill. The rest was down to the participants. Photographers could choose their models, and vice-versa. I was lucky to be in a conversation with him at the time and heard Angela Kate Hudson was looking for a photographer. She had been on my want to work with list for a long time, so I asked and was very pleased to be accepted. The shoot was on.
The day was gloriously hot and sunny, though did mean that I had to deal with harsh shadows. We took cover wherever we could and got on taking pictures. Angela can model excellently across many styles, but I’ve always been a fan of her art nude work, so that is the genre that we shot most.
Here are a selection of shots from the day. They cover all of the genres we covered during the shoot, hence they sit in the NSFW category.