Photography Blog by Duncan Holmes
I'm currently in development for my next big project shoot, warrior women on the beach, with clothes from Handmade in Partick, two beautiful models and smoke effects, so it was somewhat of a good omen when I turned up in a cold, blustery Portobello for another body paint shoot with Annie. We'd been muttering about swimsuit/wetsuit on the beach, but the weather today was most assuredly against the whole idea, so I arrived to find we'd veered into warrior woman.
Now this new plan was distinctly different from the shoot I've been planning but we got some great shots and Gemma was terrifying as she wielded her katana's long swords and other assorted arms. If you look closely as well, you may even notice her blue contacts adding to the dramatic look. I was particularly impressed by Annie's improvised snakeskin effect.
Now off to the laundrette to wash the fake blood out of my backdrop cloth!
After a week of relative lows I had been looking forward to a shoot on Sunday with the beautiful Gemma Chan and bodypainter Annie Davis. Unfortunately the weather was veering against us with promises of heavy rain and the venue that Annie had hoped to use for the painting was already booked. Along the way I had also discussed a statue shoot on Saturday with a male and female model as gold and silver statues, but that too looked like it might be falling through.
So Friday night I was ready to call the weekend a washout and just make do with a trip to the cinema with my wife, but Annie saved the day and confirmed the Saturday was still on.
Little did I know that when I turned up at the Dalriada bar on the Portobello promenade I would be confronted by a superhero. Our model for the day, Andy, had chosen to be the Green Lantern! (after finally being persuaded that without a sledgehammer she couldn't make his face flat enough to be Iron Man).
It all began with a desire to create some images, usingmodels, that I could use to promote my wedding photography business. The search for models lead me onto the sites Model Mayhem and Purestorm, both of which offered castings as a way of joiningup models, makeup artists and photographers. Through castings on both sites Igathered together a range of potential models, which were then whittled down by myself and the dress designer who had agreed to loan her dresses for the shoot.
Whilst browsing the forums on Purestorm I spotted an open day shoot for a Red Nose Day shoot at Dreghorn Studios, announced by Gerry Quiff and indirectly from that found out about the Scottish Creative Network.
Also whilst browsing castings for photographers I happened upon a request from Punk Morvs and discovered the band I’m Sick. I even had some fun taking pictures of them at a gig they were doing and again at a later gig.
During the Red Nose Day shoot I shot pictures of AdeleRobertson in clothes by Nicola Napier (nicci.n) and also met a couple of fellowphotographers. I also got to meet,albeit briefly, Miel (Lisa Heidinger) who had also answered the casting for thebridal shoot.
From conversing with Adele following the RND shoot I was able to do some photos of her catwalk show at Inspire the Attire and thereby bump into requests to share photos with some of the designers and models involved on the night.
One of the makeup artists for the bridal shoot mentioned a night at the Oran Mor, where students from James Watt college were showing their end of year work, inspired by film for the most part.
My bridal shoot allowed me to meet five lovely models, a couple of makeup artists and whilst it was not entirely without hitches, it did give me a lot of confidence for the future.
I organised a mini shoot with some outfits from nicci.n and with Camille Young, a catwalk model from Inspire the Attire. A rainy day in the Botanic Gardens with makeup by Hayley Robertson.
I went along to the Hidden Lane and managed to boldly grab some photos of Silvia Pellegrino’s Chouchou Couture catwalk show, along withsome group shots of the models in an alley in the rain. Once again I’d found out about this via announcements in the various networking sites such as SCN or Blank Canvas.
I answered a casting call from Susie B in Perth and travelled North to grab some shots at Perth railway station with hats from Hat in the Cat, makeup by Susie and hair by Michelle.
I answered a casting call from a makeup artist, Lynda Joyce and we had a lovely afternoon at Dreghorn Studios with 3 models with Stefan, Flora and Macoula.
In a moment of further madness I decided to try my hand at my own networking event, bringing together 3 photographers and 3 models (we’d hoped for more of course) and a range of vintage outfits and bridal outfits from A J Rendall. It was a fun day out in Mugdock park. This was also a chanceto take pictures of Punk Morvs with her model head on! I also met Jackie Clark,a stylist, who helped us organise the outfits and match them to the models onthe day.
During my search for bridal suppliers I had seen a dress onone of the Chinese wedding dress web sites that I really wanted to shoot. Afterannouncing my intent I teamed up with Miel again to shoot some pictures in thedress at Sloan’s ballroom in Glasgow.
An answered casting call for photographers to shoot a charity calendar lead me to arrive in a Sports centre with a half dozen other photographers, a dozen models and a brief to take pictures in Rangers Supporters Errskine Appeal football strip and evening dresses.
Another studio networking day and I finally got to meet the lovely Nicole Abbott, who’s portfolio I had been admiring from afar.
Another fashion show, The Only Way is Glasgow and I encountered the amazingly talented Megan, the lady behind Nutmeg Couture.
Another networking day at Eglington Park, this time with outfits from Jayne Faye, as well as some of the models' own. Neil MacMillan made it along again with a couple of new faces and models, Jane, Claire and Edmee.
Learning of the Oohfashion Autum/Winter show in Edinburgh,and having time to kill on a Saturday afternoon, I went along to their launchday at a gallery in Edinburgh. I met three lovely models in outfits by Kakao byK and Psychomoda and got some nice pictures. This earned me an invite to theshow itself.
That same day I had been picking up wedding dresses with amodel for a shoot on the Sunday and also visiting a shop in the afternoon toborrow some accessories. This was a shoot I’d signed up for with the ScottishCreative Network at the Radisson Blu hotel. A new call for models had brought me Dom Wilson and Emily Morton, both incredibly talented and beautiful young women and a new call for makeup artists had (I thought) brought me Katie Ford and Cat Gatenby. Cat had an emergency on the day of the shoot though, so Katie was left in the lurch a little. The kind and beautiful Sarah Berens gave us a hand with hair in our extremis and Emily’s contacts brought us Gary Somerville, hot footing it from his Sunday lie in to help out in the afternoon. The morning shoot with the wedding dresses went very well, but the afternoon shoot with the outfits by Obscure Couture and the spectacular work by the two makeup artists really gave the two models a chance to shine and I was incredibly pleased with the final results. I should mention here that Jacki Clark was managing to sneak into our shoot now and then to provide her input again.
Megan of Nutmeg Couture was then kind enough to loan some dresses for a studio day that Neil MacMillan and I had organised for ourselves.This was also another chance to work with Carol, who had modelled for me at thebridal shoot as well as meet some new faces, Priya, Lauren and Rachel.
A night out then in Edinburgh at the Oohfashion show andsome more networking links with designers involved in that one, includingAlison at Psychomoda and C.Watson, a friend of nicci.n.
My earlier contact established with Nicole Abbott now paid off as we decided to have a monster shoot with the models from PerfectlyPetite. This is a group of models that are seeking to broaden the spectrum of women on the catwalk, in magazines and in the media.
Christine (C.Watson) was launching her line in a shop shortly afterwards, also playing host to nicci.n’s works at De la Sole in Edinburgh’s city centre and had asked to use some of the catwalk photos for her launch night. I offered to shoot the clothes properly as I had a weekend free.
The call for this reunited me with Gary Somerville and also Nicole Abbott modelled with another PP model, Gemma Chan. We had a successful day of shooting in central Edinburgh before I ran away in the cold. The only down side of this shoot is that Christine downloaded the pictures to her phone,instead of a PC, thereby rendering them useless for the banners on her launchn ight, though one photo of Nicole did make the discount leaflets.
Another fashion show, the darker halloweenish In the Company of Wolves and I encountered some new designers, the fabulous designs of Velvet Elvis and the classic dresses from Eleanor’s Riot. Some weedling, begging and persuading and with the additional help of Karen Reid Designs and Psychomoda(oohfashion) we had outfits arranged for the big Perfectly Petite shoot.
Once again at Dreghorn Photography, with Gary and 2 newmakeup artists, Poppy and Carla and a hair stylist I had encountered working onone of the other groups at the SCN Radisson Shoot, Lesley we took pictures ofthe 9 models from PP. A contact from the oohfashion show meant that a reporter,Jill, from the Edinburgh Reporter was along, as well as folk from the GlasgowGuardian student paper, who had been in touch with me following the Only Way isGlasgow. We ended up with some fun, weird, daft, stylish andbeautiful images on the day, but I did have a brief collapse around 3pm so Iwas grateful when Stuart, the studio owner, could step in for a few moments andtake a few pics of his own. He’s an affable and engaging host, even as weturned the studio into a scene of chaos and disarray.
Once the dust had started to settle from that shoot I realised that I was actually starting to get people asking to work with me,rather than me always going round with the begging bowl. This lead to a shoot at a new studio (for me), Contrast Studio. With Hazel and Ashleigh as models and clothes by ten30. Cat Gatenby, the makeup artist who had had to fight holes in her roof during the Radisson shoot, was able to help out with makeup and Lesley Docherty came along again to give us fabulous hair. The two models were spectacular on the day, with Ashleigh being made up with white makeup and Hazel a more androgynous black. I even commissioned some specific jewellery from Mhairi at Bonnie Bling, who’s work I had encountered through Obscure Couture and someof the fashion shows.
So the last shoot of the year was in answer to another FBcall from a makeup artist. The chance to shoot vintage clothes from We Love toBoogie Vintage’s pop-up shop and 5 models was not to be sneezed at. It was acold bitter day in Glasgow last Sunday, and the light soon fled the scene afteronly starting at 1pm, but I am quite pleased with the end results here too.Four of the models were new faces from a Glasgow agency, and it was interestingto see how their different personalities were reflected in their poses when they weren’t shivering in the cold. Themakeup by Siobhan Keenan and Lynsey MacDonald was spot on and the simple buteffective hair styles suited the chosen outfits.
And somewhere in between all that I’ve been doing my regularwedding photography, 1 communions, family portraits and payingwork!
My advice to folk trying to break into this lark (you must be mad)...
Don’t be afraid to talk to folk, don’t be afraid to ask and take lots of photos cos now and then you’ll get one that really takes your breath away!
, General Photography
, Model Shoot
, Erskine Hospital
, Radisson Blu
, The Only Way is Glasgow
, In the Company of Wolves
, Perfectly Petite
, We Love To Boogie
Not every good day begins with crawling out of bed at 5:30 a.m.
By 7 a.m I was picking up our makeup artist for the day, Gary Somerville
, and then we headed off to Edinburgh. With a swap for a bus at the Park n Ride and a quick dash for coffee we arrived at De La Sole on Rose Street. Home of colourful boutique trainers and bespoke customisation of your favourite branded trainer, it would be the site, the following week of a new fashion gallery.
Christine, the designer whose clothes were starring today under her brand c.watson
, let us in and we chatted and sat in wait for the two models, Gemma and Nicole. Nicola of nicci.n
. also dropped by with her son, laden with her own hot drinks and nibbles. As she would be featuring clothes in the launch, we had also arranged for a few pictures by the shop with clothes by both designers.
Katy, the owner also stopped by, with a look of horror as we occupied her seating area and messed up the back of the shop.
Meanwhile shopfitters bashed away upstairs preparing the first floor for its new role as a fashion mecca.
Gemma and Nicole appeared and Gemma was first to fall under Gary's brushes, powders and potions.
Once she was dressed in some of Christine's clothes Gemma and I nipped out to Princes Street Gardens for the first set of pictures. Although the low winter sun was out, there was a chill in the air, but Gemma suffered through it and struck some strong poses. Thanks to the need to return for Nicole, she had a chance to warm up though as we returned.
I took a few pictures inside the shop itself, with Gemma still in her first outfit and Nicole in a coral dress and corset by nicci.n. The shop's design, using empty frames to highlight the tailored trainers gave me an interesting wall to play with. I could have done with an extra light, or my studio lights to balance it properly, but I was happy with the results. Outside the shop we got a few pics with the ladies in both outfits again and the shop name. Possibly for use in the press release for the shop's fashion launch.
We returned to the shop and the two models changed into a pair of nifty trouser and top combinations. Christine had to go and fight the meter, so Katy stepped in at the last minute with some judicious pinning.
We then stepped back into the gardens. I decided that the sun was my friend, not my enemy, playing with flare, the light through leaves. Gary was on hand for some extra touches and to make a change to Gemma's hair and Christine kept him company and handed out leaflets for the shop.
They'd drained the big fountain so we rebelled a little and climbed up, with some trepidation and some slightly muddy shoes. Nicole and Gemma were surprisingly cool under the occasional gaze of the passing Edinburghers and consumate professionals.
The final shots of the day were on the big stage (after climbing over a fence).
Our day was brought to an end by Christine's need to avoid traffic wardens, so we hurried back to the shop for a return to normal clothes.
The four of us, Gary, Gemma, Nicole and I, walked back to our respective destinations, but ended up answering Gemma's desperate call for pizza and shared a double pepperoni with extra cheese. An agreeable time was spent in good company before we finally parted ways properly.
Gary and I made a slight detour to Greyfriars to collect clothes from the lovely Jenny of Velvet Elvis before waiting for an age for our bus back to the Park n Ride. The long day had caught up with the both of us, but I think he was still conscious when I dropped him off.
After seeing Gemma and Nicole exercise their skills at modelling, I can't wait until next week when I get to take pictures of more of the Perfectly Petite
We were blessed with a sunny day in November, and had a great old time.
I thought I'd take a little time to talk about feedback, good news and confusion.
Feedback- Often when I bring the proofs for the wedding back to the couple they are still in the first flush of post wedding excitement, thrilled to relive the moments of their day in their pictures. So face to face you get good feedback. But the insecure voice in my head always wonders if they are like the average British person in a restaurant, telling the waiter all is well whilst vomitting into the nearby plant pot.
So, every now and then it is nice when someone drops by, sends a note or just generally gives you the nod after the fact to let you know that all was well. The other day, one of my customers dropped by with a couple of canvasses that she'd had done from the photos I'd taken at the first communion of her twin children. She'd been showing them round her office, telling everyone who was the mastermind behind the photos etc! Great news and great word of mouth that money and advertising can't buy.
Further to some of the fashion work I've been doing lately I've also had a few people approach me about working together, or just giving me good feedback about some of the resulting photos. Some of the fashion shows I went to lead to the designers borrowing some pics for their own blogs or sites and even made it into an online paper, The Edinburgh Reporter.
Another piece of good news as well is that three of my pictures will be appearing in the RSEA charity calendar
, including the much sought after cover page. So even my 7 out of 10 days can be good!
As to confusion. I'm helping to run a shoot in a week or two for the models from Perfectly Petite
, me behind the camera, them in front. We've had a quick change or two with models and MUA's dropping out, but so far I think we are on track. The designers have been very supportive in providing some of their wares for the shoot, and Karen Reid Designs is very enthusiastic in her support as she is petite herself.
And this weekend? Well it was going to be quiet again. But now I'm dragging Gary Somerville out of his bed and taking his makeup skills to the big city of Edinburgh, where Nicole and Gemma will be decked out in the best that c.watson has to offer, plus maybe a quick shoot with some designs by nicci.n who is launching in the same shop. Some Edinburgh designers don't like capitals... I like the irony there.
Fingers crossed for dry weather!
So here I am, a little closer to the 19th November shoot with the ladies from Perfectly Petite. To add to the fun, we will probably have a little light press coverage of the event and one of Nicole's friends videoing bits of the shoot.
Life is starting to calm down and go quite smoothly for the shoot ahead, give or take the occasional flaky makeup artist and last minute model swaps. I'm working on a press pack/release that we can send out with some pictures post shoot.
So, all quiet. Until an Edinburgh designer contacted me about using some of the photos from the Oohfashion show for her forthcoming shop launch next Friday. Now my photos from the catwalk show aren't all that bad, but I thought I'd grab the opportunity and offer my help with an impromptu shoot. A chance to spread my wings in Edinburgh.
So the clothes were organised by default, with a meet up at the shop, De La Sole, on Rose Street in the morning. A quick shout around and a very accommodating designer and Nicole and Gemma were signed up as models. Another call to Gary Somerville, who had helped out on two of my recent shoots and we had our makeup artist as well.
Here's hoping for dry weather on the day.
Meanwhile, preparations for the 19th keep on ticking over.