Update and My First Studio Shoot Part II ..


Sorry, I meant to get back to this WAY sooner but life has suddenly got very hectic. Spent the last few months trying to kick over a few ant hills and it finally seems to be paying off 🙂

Since my last blog I’ve been a busy boy and worked with some great and lovely people. .. People like the amazing models Dolly Diamond and Ebony Ivy and the talented designers Kim WestFashion and  Kitsch Kaos among others. For more information on that check out Dolly’s latest antics here and the Kim’s style blog here. I’m also going to be trying to update this more regularly so watch this space.

Anyways… back to ‘My first Studio shoot’

I had organised for Sophie to come into the studio during a quite spot  with her mother as chaperone.. Some photographers get really strange about chaperones. A few say it hampers their ‘creative process’ whilst others don’t like it because it shows a lack of trust on the part of the model. Personally I don’t have an issue with them, If you are organised, they don’t get in the way and they can be great fun. As far I see it, anything that makes the model feel comfortable is good. If the model’s comfortable then they are more relaxed during the shoot and the images come out better. Tense people do not look good on film and it slows the shoot down (as you waste a lot of time getting the model to relax). Dealing with chaperones is easy,  I just pop them at the back of the studio and point’em at the studios Jelly Bean supply, simples. Not sure if it is a fall proof approach but it works for me.

At the time Sophie was just 16 so I actually insisted on a chaperone for the shoot. Partly because in this day and age you can never be to careful but mostly because, for photography at least, 16 is still counted as a minor, meaning Sophie couldn’t sign a model release.  Model releases are very import for all good photographers. I know some photographer who don’t use them. These people, in my opinion, are idiots. A signed model release make sure both parties know and understand how the images can and may be used. It saves a lot time and aggravation later on and makes sure you and the model know where you stand. Frankly it’s a no brainer. I use the standard Getty model release for my shoots (downloadable from their website) but there are similar standard forms available from the SWPP etc.

Taking advice from Dad, I had decided to split the shoot into three sets (each set consisting of one outfit and major lighting change). I assigned 30 mins to each set and 10 mins for each change for a total shoot time of about two hours. Having done a few more shoots now, this seems to be consistent  except where I have a Make-up artist (MUA). I’m starting use MUA a lot more for my own shoots now. Qualified, professional MUA’s are essential for certain types of shoots and although the can be expensive they are well worth it. They do however add A LOT of time to the shoot (think double) so you need to factor that in.

For the shoot I started with a pink background, which could be left unlit to give a purple colour or lighten to a bubblegum pink. Likewise I followed with a grey background that I could darken or lighten depending on how I set the lights,  before moving on to a white wall to finish. One of the benefits of having access to a studio is I could test and check all my setups before the shoot. If you don’t have that then white walls are great for getting those ‘safety shots’ at the beginning or end of a shoot. I still use them a lot as I know I can always get a good pic quickly with just a single light.

Both Sophie and I were a bit nervous at the beginning but having done my prep we were quickly able to get past this and work through the sets. I always do a shoot list for each photo session, even when I have done similar shoots before. I find it’s a good way to get the poses set in my head and means I have something to refer to if I get stuck.. As it was my first shoot, I had done extensive notes including all the poses I wanted to try and detailed lighting plans for each shot. They don’t need to be this complicated., sometimes it’s just a few pics and some notes and other times I work out each image shot by shot, it all depends on the type of shoot I’m doing.

Once the shoot was done I got Sophie’s mum (who had been happily chatting away to mon papa) to sign the release and collapsed in the corner. One of the many things that surprised me about studio photography was just how exhausting it is. You wouldn’t think holding a camera for a couple of hours was hard work but all the build up, prep and effort and (mostly self inflicted) pressure, not to mention two hour of solid concentration left me buzzing but shattered.

Not that this stopped me from getting the images transferred to the computer as soon as possible. After all that work I just need to see how they came out (and I never was very patient). Of course, you can look at the images on the camera but nothing beats getting the Raw images up on a decent screen.

So how did they come out?.. well why don’t you look for yourself.

Aylesbury Model photographer

The full set is also available on our facebook page here. Looking back, I can see plenty that I would change if I could do it again  – but for a first go I think I did ok, what do you think?

Take care and thanks for reading,

Nils Bratby

Apprentice Photographer


Immortaleye Photography is a professional photography studio in Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury. They offer Family Portraits along with Modelling Portfolios/Boudoirand Makeovers experiences.

For more blogs from Immortaleye Photography see here