Mel Pettit Photography

People photography…and more!

Posts from the ‘Fashion’ category

Scarlett Fox at ‘Ginger’ Cottage

Fashion, Portraits and Boudoir

I’ve been wanting to work with Scarlett Fox since I saw her profile on a popular portfolio site.  Following a recommendation from a friend of mine who had worked with her previously  I got in contact with her.   We booked four hours together to shoot some fashion, portraits and boudoir at a location in a small town just outside Doncaster, in South Yorkshire. I had a two hour drive to look forward to, so it was going to be a long day for me.

Remarkably I found the location without taking my usual twenty minutes searching.   Sat navs are wonderful devices, but they don’t seem to be able to take you right to the door of your destination.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case this time and I was able to pull up right outside the cottage.   That’s always good for me, as I invariably have to lug my lighting case around.

We hadn’t worked together before, so we talked over the shoot with a mug of tea.  That’s always a great way to start any work, especially when the tea was as good as it was.  Scarlett was very easy to talk to, and it was obvious she had bags of experience.  With the shoot parameters set, we got on with the job in hand.

The cottage we were working in had lots of rooms and space in which to work.  We did most of the fashion using a mix of natural light and my Profoto A1.   I love that light, it’s so portable and good both on and off camera.   Once again, the B2s and my B1X didn’t come out of the case, but I didn’t need the power.

We started with the long green dress on the window ledge, then moved to the green top and jeans.  Most of the shots in below are fashion, but there’s more here on the fashion galleries page.  We changed the style after that, and did some boudoir in one the upstairs bedrooms.   The natural window light suited black and white, which I love.   I’ve included a couple of shots from that set here, but you can see more on the boudoir gallery page if you want to take a look.

Time was moving on quickly, so we grabbed some portraits , then moved to the bathroom for a few more fashion shots.  The final set of the day was my favourite. We used natural light on Scarlett, with the A1 placed behind her.  This had the effect of separating her from the background which clashed with her hair.  I love those shots.   the silver of her jumpsuit complements the red of the wall perfectly I think.

Suddenly it was all over and I had another 2 hour drive to get home, but I had a big smile on way face all of the way back.




Jessica’s Project – Genesis Hair Company

One of the things I love about my job, now that I’ve gone full time, is the freedom to do work that I wouldn’t have been able to do in the past.   After working with the lovely Genesis Hair Company in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, on a charity event earlier in the year, I was contacted by creative stylist Jessica Harvey with a view to photographing a project of hers.

The theme for the shoot was mermaids and woodland, and it was to be shot over two days.   The mermaids session was first and after selecting a suitable location Jessica got to work very early in the salon on the morning of the shoot.   Whilst Jessica was working I made my way to the location to await her arrival.   That gave me plenty of time to assess the weather conditions, although most of the photography was planned to be done in a disused and run down swimming pool.  Thankfully the weather behaved and we were able to work in and around the pool and outside too.

The woodlands themed shoot followed a week later.   The lighting was interesting, most of the shoot was done with natural light in the open areas, but the woods were very sheltered so I had to break out my Profoto B2 location kit to add the punch that was needed.   I was pleased that the winds were light, as keeping hair in place when there is a strong breeze is problematical to say the least.

The hair and make-up work carried out by Jessica for both shoots was very intricate and detailed and I think she did a magnificent job.   The models were her friends and had little experience in their roles, but they did all that we asked of them splendidly.   Photographers can take professional models for granted occasionally, forgetting how hard it is for those not used to having a camera in their face and lights going off all around them to relax and produce the looks that are needed to fulfill the stylist’s brief.

There’s a selection of shots here. but you can see more at

2017 Road Trip Days 1 and 2

The Swiss and Italian Lakes

Twice a year or so, Appleton Photography Training run road trips to various parts of Europe.  This time around, I got the opportunity to go on a trip to the Swiss and Italian lakes, and what a journey it was.

The reason why days one and two of the trip are combined in this post is because the Saturday and Sunday merged.  Let me explain.

The group, with one exception, met at a location in Milton Keynes.  Making up the party was Andrew Appleton, photographer and organiser, together with his wife Helen, who is a superb stylist and make-up artist.  Steve was the assistant and driver, an expert luggage packer who no doubt does Tetris in his sleep.  One model, Sharon, and one dancer, Alexa, made up the business end, leaving three photographers, James, Colin and myself.  The fourth photographer, Mike, was collected from Slough station en-route to the Eurostar.

This trip was my first experience of the Eurostar, but sadly I didn’t see much as we had the late train over, departing at 23:30 or thereabouts.  We had arrived at the terminal in good time, where I discovered France starts as soon as you get through the security barriers.  That was a bit bizarre.  After some refreshments and a little shopping expedition to get some snacks to tide me over the crossing and the initial stage of the journey in France we boarded the train.  Some 23 minutes later we were out the other side and disembarking at Calais.

The first leg of the trip was an overnight drive to Colmar in France, just short of the Swiss border.   The total length of that stage was 638 Km, around 7 hours travelling time, but it was broken up by stops at service stations for fuel and food, and a longer break at Epernay in the Champagne region to do some street photography of the buildings belonging to the various champagne houses.   There’s some photos below of those buildings.  All of the structures were very symmetrical no matter who they belonged to.   We got something to eat and drink in Epernay, and then set off for the second leg of the day to Colmar.

We stayed at the Hotel Roi Soleil Prestige in Colmar, arriving there in just enough time to grab a shower and get ready for an evening shoot in the town centre, around an area known as Little Venice.  There’s shots of both Sharon and Alexa in the gallery, doing their stuff.  They both drew a bit of a crowd, but we were able to carry on without any unwanted interruptions.  It was all over very quickly,  and we returned to the hotel before going to the next door restaurant for a steak and a beer.    Bed followed, as we had to be ready to leave at 08:00 the following day for the next leg to Lake Lucerne and then onwards to Colico and Lake Como.

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:   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.


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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