12 April 2014

Olympus Magazine

These are the final photographs from my shoot for Olympus Magazine, which can be viewed online here.              

This photo shoot was possibly my most challenging to organise yet, involving a much larger team and tight deadlines.
Last year I entered a competition to win a fashion shoot commission with Olympus, to be able to do your 'dream shoot' with a £1000 to spend. Months passed and I'd forgotten all about it when I received an email from the team at the magazine telling me I'd won the prize and to get planning! I was amazed I'd won and then it dawned on me that I needed to make the idea I proposed a reality.
Anyone who knows me will know that I love animals (if I could spend all my days cuddling cute animals I would!) so of course my 'dream shoot' would involve them in some way.
Deciding what animals was a hard decision in itself, I was very much inspired by Tim Walker's shoot for Love Magazine but when it came to researching hiring animals, I realised my budget wouldn't stretch very far.

Also at this point I realised that the location for the shoot was another hugely important aspect, shooting in March meant I had to secure an indoor location as I couldn't rely on british weather. So to be able to find an amazing location that would allow us to use animals indoors... that's where Norfolk Production came in. They were very helpful with the locations and before I knew it we had secured a beautiful 18th century, Georgian manor house. The house in particular was a perfect choice as it had a grand look that would suit our overall theme, alongside derelict attic rooms that I fell in love with.
Things started falling into place and I secured the animals, deciding to go with birds of prey. Out On A Wing Falconry were keen to get involved and had a beautiful selection of birds available to use.
So with my budget used up I moved on to planning even more important parts of a fashion photo shoot: wardrobe stylist, model, make up and hair. I think when shooting fashion you can't say who is more important as we work as such a team and everyone plays a big part in the overall look.
I chose to get Faye on board for styling as she had a great portfolio filled with gorgeous dresses and a feminine look that I wanted for the shoot. She was a pleasure to work with, paying attention to detail and providing a large selection of beautiful dresses, headpieces and jewellery for the shoot.
Faye recommended Lesley Vye for make up and hair and Lesley created some beautiful looks that went perfectly with the styling and overall theme.
Our model was the beautiful Monika from Profile Models, who was lovely to work with a posed beautifully with the clothing and the birds (She had actually shot with birds before so was experienced with this which was a great help on the day).
Lastly I can't forget to mention my two assistants on the day, Rory and Chris, who were on hand to pass me cameras, hold reflectors and generally help me with any thing photography related. Chris shot this brilliant behind the scenes video, which gives you an insight to what it was like during the photo shoot.

We were extremely lucky on the day that it was beautiful weather, with sunlight streaming through the windows. This meant that I could shoot everything with natural light only, and as you can see from the photos I used backlighting mostly.
Olympus kindly provided a camera for me to use on the day, an Olympus PEN E-P5. I am used to my Canon 5d mkii so I'll be honest, it was a challenge to swap for the day. The PEN is a smaller, more compact camera but still produces brilliant results. I used a few different lenses too, depending on how much I was getting in shot and as I was using natural lighting I used lenses that allowed larger apertures.
I've always been someone to say that it doesn't matter what camera you use and I still agree with this mostly, but doing this photo shoot has shown me that sometimes it's good to step away from what you're used to and experiment more. I'm doing this so much more within my personal work now and am using film mostly, so never stop trying something new and pushing yourself further.

Edit: One last thing I wanted to add is about why I decided to call the editorial 'Sirin's Call'. The most known form of a 'Siren' is the mythological creature who lured sailors with enchanting music, mostly recognised as a mermaid. However researching into birds of prey, I discovered that this originated from a 'Sirin' which was part woman part bird. Reading into the myth I thought it was a perfect fit with our shoot, linking the birds and the woman portrayed.

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