Mel Pettit Photography

People photography…and more!

A day with Angela Kate Hudson

Chic Fashion & Boudoir Photography

Sensual Edge – Glamour & Art Nude Photography

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.

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Fashion in Budapest – Day 2

Day one was finished by a couple of beers, a rather nice Italian meal from a restaurant just a few yards away from our Airbnb and an early night.   The reason why I’m mentioning that is because day two was going to be a very early start indeed.  Alarms were set for 05:00, though in truth we were all up by then because the courtyard at the back of the block we were staying in became active even earlier.   There was a shop attached to the building which took deliveries to sell during the day, and they weren’t the quietest at doing that to say the least.

We needed an early start as the first location was at the Fisherman’s Bastion.  It is a big tourist location so we needed to get there before they did to make the most of the views.  Our taxi arrived  on time and we set off, all laden with kit.   Most of the shots in this gallery were taken there, and we got two looks from each model.  It was a very busy morning for everyone, working in a temperature of 27c at the hottest.

My first shoot of the day was with Atalanta Smythe, and I was assisted on lights by my shooting partner Jonathan Hilder and Mark Goddard.  Atalanta wore a long black and sheer dress for the first set, and we shot right at the top of the location with stunning views.

The initial set with Amie-Jayne Boulton was shot on some beautifully lit stone stairs, enclosed by bricks.  By this time the tourists had arrived in large numbers, so we had to wait for bus loads of people to pass on occasion, but that didn’t interrupt Amie’s flow.

From there we moved back outside with Atalanta.   Passing tourists meant that we kept on the move, but parties still formed to watch Atalanta do her stuff dressed in her black halter-neck top and salmon pink jeans.   Our enforced movement meant that it was inevitable that the paths of the models would cross, and when they did we got the chance to do some duo shots.

After spending the whole morning at the Fisherman’s Bastion we went to a restaurant where I sampled an authentic beef stew with noodles.  It was delicious and very filling, so I was glad we got a few minutes of rest before setting off to the Chain bridge, our next location.   We shot on the bridge and on the river bank, again attracting a lot of attention.  Mobile camera phones were very much in evidence.

My final shoot was with Atalanta Smythe in front of the beautiful Parliament building.  I don’t think we could have done that same shoot in front of the UK Houses of Parliament, we wouldn’t have lasted more than two minutes before being moved on.  Things are much more relaxed in Hungary.

Fashion in Budapest – Day 1

Fashion in Budapest – Day 1

I had been looking forward to this shoot for a long time, well before Christmas in fact.    Conrad Webb, the owner of WindmillArt Studio in Cambridgeshire, had mentioned that he was looking to put together a fashion shoot with two top quality models and a fantastic make-up artist in Budapest.   Everything sounded great, and I started making arrangements for my travel.

Four photographers would be shooting together over two days, for us that was a Friday and Saturday.   There would also be a practice shoot at Conrad’s studio, so we could get used to using the lights and become familiar with all of the other gear and photographers as well.   We would be working in teams of two, one shooting and the other talking care of the lights, if needed.   Any other assistance would be provided by Conrad and Mark Goddard, another excellent photographer that I’ve worked with a few times.   The practice shoot went very well indeed, and all four us got on superbly with each other.

The days seemed to drag whilst waiting for the trip to come around.    I packed and re-packed several times, bought a new case that was compliant with the airline’s stringent size regulations packed and re-packed again juggling with different combinations of kit until I decided exactly the lenses I was going to take.  Documents were checked again and again, worries crept in about all sorts of totally insignificant problems, and Google Earth got a hammering.   My car parking site was scrutinised at the airport, as was a large chunk of Budapest, our destination.

Finally the day arrived and the plan dropped into place.   All four of us met at the airport and we found ourselves sitting on an aircraft for Budapest.   For one of us it was a big day as it was his first time on an aircraft and his only trip out of the UK.

In no time at all we had arrived at our destination which was very warm at 27c.   We met our taxi driver after clearing customs, and he took us to our lovely AirBnB.   We settled in quickly and headed into the city which was right on our doorstep and found a fantastic bar where we could relax and mull over the coming days.  During the evening we met the advance party and had a very enjoyable meal, and we got our timings sorted out for the first day of shooting.

The images in this gallery are all taken from day one and the models are Atalanta Smythe and Amie-Jayne Boulton.   The shots were taken at the Budapest Spa, Vajduhunyad Castle and around Hero’s Square.

Genesis Hair Company for MAGPAS

It’s been a while since I’ve covered a charity event, the last time being the Square Peg fashion show a couple of years ago.   I like shooting at them, especially when they involve fashion, so I was very excited to be selected from a casting by Ruby from Genesis Hair Company to work at their event in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.   They were supporting MAGPAS Air Ambulance, a charity I already donate to.

 

MAGPAS (Mid Anglia General Practitioner Accident Service) provide an emergency service around the east of England and they are based at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire.   I drive past that airfield, where I served for 18 months in the 1990s whilst in the RAF, nearly every day and regularly see activity there.   Fast response vehicles are frequently doing blue light jobs, and the air ambulance is often flying.   They are a busy bunch of people who are funded the donations, not by the Government.

 

The event was popular and a good sized audience were treated to a fashion show put together by the staff at Genesis Hair Company.   Before the show started a member of MAGPAS explained to everyone there exactly what their role was and how important fund raising was to them.   One of their most popular ways of raising funds was their weekly lottery details of which can be seen here:   http://www.magpas.org.uk/lottery/welcome-to-our-lottery.   If you live around the east of England I’d urge you to take a look, after all you’ll never know when you might seed the services of MAGPAS.

 

My brief was to capture some editorial, hair and beauty and runway shots from the event.   This mini gallery shows a selection of images from the event.   The shots are a small selection of the evens of the evening and show stylists from Genesis Hair Company in St Ives in action, working on models who gave up their own time to support the event, as well as some head and shoulders portraits and the runway segment.   The show was very well run and displayed the creations of the hair stylists perfectly in some clothes lent by Town Row, Newlook, Cream Rose (Prom) and Shades of White (Bridal)..

 

There are three larger galleries from the night that you can see by clicking here.

A touch of fashion with Saffron Jaye Richardson

Early spring weather in England is very unpredictable.   Occasional warm and sunny days can be followed by long periods of cold and rain, accompanied by horrible flat grey skies that do nothing to add background interest to a subject.   So it was when I arranged a shoot with Saffron Jaye Richardson.

The weather on the day before the shoot had been lovely, but the forecast for the day of the shoot was poor at best.   I live in one of the flattest places in England, so you can see the skies for miles around and you know when it’s going to be bad, and when the same greyness can be seen from horizon to horizon you know it’s not going to change quickly.   The omens were not good for shooting outdoor fashion.

The drive from my place to meet Saffron was made through driving rain and fairly strong winds.   Either of those elements makes using location flash difficult, both together virtually impossible.   40 minutes after leaving and arriving at Saffron’s location things were no better.   Plan B was the order of the day.

Saffron is an experienced model, has a good knowledge of lighting and angles which has allowed her to create a little studio in her bedroom.   I was able to shoot from a number of angles, and use ambient light from a well-placed window, as well as using one of my Profoto B2 heads to add a bit of fill whenever it was needed.   For this shoot I used a white Profoto OCF beauty dish.

Saffron’s entire wardrobe was readily to hand, so we were able to get through a number of outfit changes in our allotted time.   Four hours flew by very quickly indeed and I ended up with some fashion and portrait shots that I was very pleased with.

 

Angel White at Studland Bay House

Chic Fashion & Boudoir

I recently got the chance to work with Angel White at Studland Bay House, down on the beautiful and affluent Dorset coast.   It’s a four hour drive from home for me, and I had to use a chain ferry to travel to the peninsula that the house sits on.   The building is Edwardian, faces the sea, is wonderfully restored and has large gardens.   It’s a photographer’s dream location.

I knew exactly where I was going on the day of the shoot because I had been to the same place the weekend before.   Annoyingly I had mixed up the dates.   You can imagine my disappointment in arrival at the house, after a four hour drive, to find nobody at home.   I couldn’t even take advantage of my error to go shooting around Bournemouth and the surrounding area, due to horrible weather giving me virtually no visibility.   To say it was cold and wet that day is an understatement.

The day of the shoot was slightly better in that it was dry and not quite as grey as the weekend before, but the wind was bitingly cool.    That meant that we shot inside the house only, but given the size of building and the rooms available that wasn’t an issue at all.   We had four hours to work together, but we could easily have run to eight and not exhausted the location.

The brief was to shoot some fashion and fashion nude, and leave the final hour for some lingerie and art nude.   I took along my Profoto B2 heads so I had plenty of fill light to use for the shots where windows were being used as part of the background.   With everything ready and Angel made up, we headed for one of the sitting rooms for our first set of the day.

Angel is a great model to work with.   She has a fantastic look and has tons of experience so needs very little direction.   Her wardrobe is extensive, she has loads of outfits to suit all types of shoots and she knows how to get the best from them.   We set about our task with a great deal of enthusiasm.

There are a variety of shots from the day included here, but my favourite is the set using the horizontally striped dress.    The material was black and transparent, and was shot using natural light only through a window.   I love the results that were produced, whether in colour or black and white.

Fashion

Integration……

Search Engine Optimisation – what a nightmare!

It means that it’s time to stop posting here and move all of my blogs to my my own websites.   Google is king, and they’ve dictated that I need to do that to get a reasonable search index, so I’ve got to go.

The change means that I can no longer publicise my posts on any social media, so if you want to take a look at my meanderings you’ll need to go to either – or all – of these three places:

Weddings, portraits and family shoots – http://melpettitweddingphotography.proimageblogs.com/

Fashion and boudoir shoots – http://chicfashionandboudoirphotography.proimageblogs.com/

Art nude, glamour and all other genres where there is a degree of nudity – http://sensualedgephotography.proimageblogs.com/

I hope to see you on the other side.

Sitting in my hotel room

Here I am, sitting in my hotel room in Hounslow on the outskirts of London, the night before my first wedding shoot of 2016 and I’m feeling kind of happy.  It has nothing to do with the rather nice pint of  Boddington’s draught I hasten to add.

It’s nothing to do either with the fact that I got here safely, despite my satnav’s mean and nasty trick of getting me to the hotel via the North Circular road.   I knew it was up to something when it told me not to take the A421 to Bedford, and I was more than a little surprised when it totally ignored the M25 junction.  I decided to play its little game and see where it took me, as it has loads of smart technology to guide me around roadworks, earhquakes and plagues of locusts.   Little did I know that it was going to take me on the A406.  The last 18 miles included passing the RAF Museum at Hendon and the mecca of football, Wembley Stadium.  Each mile passed was a target, as were a load of other cars on the road, but I missed them all.

So, why happy then?  Well, I get to have a relaxed evening in my hotel room before the wedding shoot starts at 13:00.  I can have breakfast, walk around the venue, take some test shots and get to meet and chat to the very helpful hotel staff before I get a suit on and start doing the business stuff.  That makes my first shoot of the year so much easier.

All of that is down to the bride and groom.  I’m not going to mention their names to save their embarrassment, but for the first time ever I was told that they were getting me a room at the wedding venue to make it easy for me, so I’ve not had to arrange anything.   Kind and thoughtful brides and grooms, you’ve got to love them.

Two minutes with Carmel Yasmin

Chic Fashion & Boudoir Fashion Portfolio
Carmel Yasmin Full Gallery
Carmel Yasmin Video Slideshow

Just before Christmas I got the opportunity to do a fashion based shoot with Carmel Yasmin, a model I had seen before on a previous group shoot.  I knew then that I would like to do some work with her and finally the chance came around.

Winter in England meant that there was little chance of shooting outside on this occasion.   Unusually it was nothing to do with the cold, we were going through possibly the warmest December on record, but it was down to the rain.  It was far too risky to set something up in the streets and have the shoot disrupted by the weather.

A studio shoot it was then.  Three hours were booked at Studio One in Peterborough for a Sunday afternoon, and after a short trip from the train station to collect Carmel we arrived at the studio, ready to go.

Carmel brought a large selection of clothing with her so we were able to get through a Carmel Ball-4771number of changes in our time together.  I’ve chosen a number of my personal favourites to show here, the shot on the left being one of them.

Carmel is very good at her work, and she hit pose after pose.   Sadly there was no music in the studio so there was nothing to work to for her, but we coped and managed to talk quite a lot throughout the whole shoot, and the short tea-breaks we took along the way.

Changes of wardrobe followed rapidly, and we ended up shooting a total of five different looks.   It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon and it’s something I hope to repeat again soon.  I have a lot of ideas running amok in my head for some outdoor shoots.  Anyway, here’s a few more images from the day.   There’s links at the top and bottom of the page to take you to my site where you can see full size shots and a link to my YouTube channel where you can you the shoot on a video slideshow.

Carmel Ball-4987

Chic Fashion & Boudoir Fashion Galleries

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