Monday, 16 July 2012

Kiera Gould: A Firefly-Inspired Shoot

The idea of a 'Firefly' themed shoot had come up a couple of times with Kiera Gould (Stunt Extraordinnaire) and we ended up finally fitting this in on the 15th July, the day after shopping for Kiera's wedding dress.

Kiera, Matt (Matt "Reluctant Photography Assistant" Evans) and I met up and Matt's house and then left for the location early in the morning.

The location (be warned) is fantastic, beautiful and pretty darn unique but I am afraid I can not tell you it's location for various reasons. Some of you may recognise it but I'd like to ask that you keep it to yourselves and not mention it in any comments you may leave. Thanks.

Right then. Moving on, let me explain that the majority of these images have been post-processed with the 'Overlay' blending option (previously described in Yvonne Gumbere's shoot) as I love the dirty feel that it gives these images.

For example:

<- Here it is without the 'overlay' effect... 

... and here it is with the 'overlay' effect -> 

I just think it makes this series 'pop' nicely...

So these were the images in the first 'area' which I was hoping might look somewhat like a Firefly-esque engine...

... along with Kiera and her 'engineering' get-up.

This next room/area is my absolute favourite with literally the sexiest damn door I've ever seen in my life. I could quite possibly live here.

(All but one taken using natural light.)

Here's Kiera sat in the 'sexy door'. It was actually once in an episode of Red Dwarf, this door.

Like... made a cameo appearance...

... It's not crazy to be in love with a door, you know. Especially when it's so damn fantastic.

Plus if you think I'm crazy, you should meet Kiera...

She's proper mental...

Right, this next bit's pretty damn cool as well. Get a load of this sci-fi scene. All shot with natural light again but without the overlay effect...

Pretty cool.

And finally, this last one was taken in a pitch black tunnel with 6 tiny holes of light peering in (not that you could tell whilst in there) so to achieve this, I popped the camera on the tripod and set the shutter speed to 30 seconds...


So that was our awesome trip to "miscellaneous location" with the Kierabeast!

Or "Kierannosaurus 6" if we go by her new Roller Derby name...

Interesting fact: Kiera is a member of the Surrey Roller Girls roller derby team along with "Kerosene"... also known as Ceri "Diva" Williams (who also has her own blog now too. So you can read all about her opinions on life, skating and other humans. Figures). Small world!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Ceri Williams: Mad As A Malkavian

Ceri Williams, the girl with the face, had an idea for a shoot that we'd put off for a really long time because we didn't have the necessary equipment or location.

Eventually, we decided we were going to give it a shot anyway and use what we had.

The original idea came from a character that Ceri played a long time ago in a popular roleplaying game called "Vampire: The Masquerade".

I asked Ceri to sum up what was the concept for this image and here's what she said...

"Summer was originally a character from a Vampire: The Masquerade game. In life she was introverted, socially detatched, curious in a child-like way, until she was kidnapped and killed by a Malkavian vampire. The vampire made a practice of scarring his clan name into the skin of his creations, but unlike most 'sires' he then abandoned Summer. She was later found and taken in by another group of vampires, and one among their number was able to remove the scars from her arm. But later she became terrified that her unknown sire would discover this betrayal, and she took a knife and inscribed the letters back into her arm."

So here we are.

Now then, Summer actually initially was a blonde, child-like, tie-dye wearing, tom-boyish type but for the sake of turning this into a more generic vampire image that people could better relate to, we decided to make her a bit more girly and a bit more obviously vampiric. To get this look, we roped the wonderful and very talented Hannah Lonergan on board for the make-up.

Now Hannah has already done some amazing work, including turning herself into the Corpse Bride and Edward Scissorhands flawlessly and so we also knew that, above and beyond her normal beauty make-up, she would be able to create the scars and handle the bloody task at hand.

We headed to Raven's Nightclub (the same location as the 'Destruction' shoot) and Hannah started working her magics on Ceridwen.

Ceri was getting all made up here and I was fretting about lighting in there...

The problem we were having was that we wanted to shoot indoors here but we had no lighting. Slow shutter wasn't much of an option for it and we were concerned about how the images would come out.

Now, at the time, I didn't have a flash gun, something which has since been remedied but at the time, I had to try with the built-in flash without getting a 'snapshot' style shot. I took a few pictures and played around with the settings a little before going back to find out how the girls were getting on.

Hannah had found a dandy place to hang her bag:

...and Ceri was looking much paler and in need of blood. Which was good. :)

 Now it was time for some bad-ass scarring...

Look at those welts! I was very chuffed at these. I think Hannah did a bloody brilliant job of it...

... Now then. Following the make-up job, we got Ceri into position and effectively covered her in fake blood from the forearm down.

As this was being done, we all had this Malkavian vampire in mind and were running with it. We wanted a modern gothic looking vampire scene but actually, we almost didn't post this at all.

Here is the best image from the shoot:

After seeing the images in post-production, I already knew that we'd come far from the original concept and I wasn't sure actually whether Ceri was going to consider it a successful shoot or not. It occurred to both of us that actually, the image was a lot darker than we had initially anticipated and without the concept, it did just look like a very young girl self-harming and I know, certainly Ceri, was actually quite saddened by that. Especially as the character that this was based on was in fact pretty happy-go-lucky for the most part.

I actually asked her whilst writing this blog to describe how she felt seeing the final image for the first time for you and here's what she said...:

"Chloe sent me the final image before posting it anywhere to ask what I thought. That alone should have been a warning, because Chloe typically likes to keep things as surprises. I opened the picture on my phone and genuinely stared at it for a good few minutes. Normally I do this anyway in a "How amazing does Chloe make me look" sort of way. This time it was more, "...oh. Wow. That's frightening." I really wasn't sure if I wanted it to go online. Without context (and of course I knew the context better than anyone) it seemed very stark and real. In a strange way, it made me see the character very differently. She was fun to play, cute and funny and a bit sad. But seeing it, even in my own face, was something else." 

We did decide to share this all the same as we do still like the image but we have decided to give this another go when we have some time but this time, sticking to the original character concept.

We'd be interested to know your thoughts all the same...

A Year Ago Today!

Well, here it is, folks!

2nd July 2012. My blog's birthday! Happy Birthday Blog!

I've had a wicked year personally, as you can probably read back (if you have a lot of time!).

In the past 12 months I've:
- bought a new camera
- bought a new lens
- acquired a portable(ish) studio and lighting
- exploited my make-up brush wielding genius of a friend.
- worked on films
- assisted other shoots
- worked with various models, MUAs, artists, actors, designers, film crew, authors and a director!
- executed several personal shoot ideas and concepts
- shot live gigs
- taken stills for film
- made some moolah doing what I love
- filmed someone on fire with my camera (no, I didn't put them out either)
- forced Ceri Williams to pose for me.
- painted Ceri Williams
- exposed Ceri Williams sexy shoulders on camera
- worked with THE Ceri Williams
- turned Ceri Williams into an unforgiving diva
- shot some gangsters
- won a (reasonably dodgy) competition
- been in other blogs
- cut off nearly all my hair to raise money for the Little Princess Trust
- shot my brother... O_o
- time-travelled
- let a stunt-woman (notorious for making things go boom) ride my beloved bike, Angus.
- shot too many weddings!
- gotten a lot of people half-naked
- received fan mail \o/
- made some clothes?
- climbed trees
- acquired a cat
- shot a rather iconic dress
- found a ghost
- broken some houses
- had photography assistants
- avoided security guards like a ninja
- been gifted with new studio-lights, filters, a new lens, a VERY EXCITING piece of kit that I can't tell you about as it'll ruin the surprise and a VERY good tripod all by amazing friends. Thank you millions.
- turned a boy into a maybe-girl
- taken pictures of myself (*sings* "you're so vain.... you probably think this... blog is... about...")
- run two competitions
- bled a vampire (to come)
- shot catwalk
- stalked someone at a train-station
- been interviewed
- set myself some targets for 2012
- posed topless! :o
- achieved all but one target so far (and the last will be happening in Oct!)
- scared some locals in Hindhead
- shot a bald princess (to come)
- started my lovely new business
- made lots of lovely new friends (models, MUA's, designers and the like!)
- taken on several regular business clients
... and posted (now) 42 posts all about it all!

All this while, you brilliant folk have followed it all on Facebook, Twitter and on this wonderful blog.

I have, in that year had 11377 views on my blog which is about 270-ish views per post! So thank you all so much for following my progress (at least I hope it's progress)!

I can't believe that it's been within just one year that all of these things have happened!?

Though it would explain why I've not slept much. :)

Post-wise, I have coming up to start off the new blog-year:

Post-shoot, now editing
- A Little Princess Trust shoot
- A 'Vampire'-related shoot (non-glittery)
- Live bands
- Me again! (*sings* "You're so vain...")

To shoot soon!
A sci-fi themed shoot, to put it vaguely...
... and many many more left to do (but if I told you, I'd have to kill you).

Anyway, I can't stop... apparently I've got some editing to do (see above) and I have private work to finish before I get to do mine!

Cheers for sticking with me and thank you all so much for all your support so far, you guys! Ahhhh!

\o/ *in happy place*


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Anthony Jones: Working on "Hood"

So I worked on this project for a writer called Anthony Jones who needed some reference images for his new upcoming graphic novel, "Hood"...

... you can read his hilarious blog here at which is essentially a web of darkly humoured comments on his work and upcoming projects.

For an example, his 'About' page alone is more than ample to give you a taster...

So Ant sent me a breakdown of a series of scenes that he needed images of and a summary of each of his characters. Shortly after, I also received a 'call sheet' from our 'shoot co-ordinator', one very familiar, Kiera Gould and then, a few months later, in June, we herded a group of willing 'spares' to a park dressed in an assortment of hoodies and suits.

This is what happened next...

Priorities were getting some harsh natural lighting...

 Some bitchin' angles...

... and some other activity references...

NB: I've put one of these funny Photoshop default effects on them seen as these edits aren't really required of me per se to save me having to muck around with them too much (genius, I know).

 So without ruining anything because naturally, you will all read it when it's 'out', the images above are from the introduction and start off the story of 'Hood', the badass motherlover, Prince of Bleeds.

 The rest of these images, I'm not going to tell you much about plot-wise... but I hope you enjoy them all the same!

 We had serious pose-offs:

<- Serial Poser.

"Come at me, Bro!"

'Mr September'

We had cunning stunts and sweet jumps:

 Significantly funnier if you know how this one was shot...:

... XD Gets me every time...


Eek. Unfortunate, Bill.

We had girls being shot:

 ... a fantasy for many (married) men.

Some l337 angles:


... taken from such places as this:

(check out my Gollum)

"The rock and pool... is nice and cool... so juicy sweeeeeeeeeeet!
Our only wish... to catch a fish... so juicy sweeeeeeeeeeet!"

Some real life injuries:

N'aww, did Ant get a boo-boo?

There, there... 

Kiera will... prod at it...


We had some dramatic and tense moments:

Plenty of fighting:

^ The gingers beating on an unconscious 'Hood'...

And... when they thought no-one was looking, we had Matt and Bill doing some dancing:

  Matt the pirouette, we call him...

...Or Swan Lake Evans...

Night fever, night fevaaaaaahr....

 Boogie nights... 

Bill there dancing like a Dad at a wedding... ^

Well... finishing on that note, read on for the necessary shout-outs!

Special thanks to:

Adam Gould
Andrew Cunningham
Anthony Jones
Bill Thomas
Ceri Williams
Fran Green
Gabriella Howson
Kiera Gould
Martin Hulley
Matt Evans
Matt Strange
Robin Gould

Yvonne Cunningham