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In the beginnings of my photographic career, I started out on the cruise ships.  If you are interested and can be arsed, I have a whole blog about how we got to Barbados here – but if you can’t (and I don’t blame you) be rest assured that it was a rather long journey.

First things first – I loved the ships.

When you walk on to your first contract, you are ever so green.  You don’t know the rules; you can’t fathom how anyone can navigate the miles of narrow corridors and passageways in the belly of the crew areas, you don’t understand how a bar can survive selling cans of beer for 35p, and you certainly have no idea that you were the only person in the galaxy that doesn’t smoke.

When you step on board for your first contract, it is a very exciting time.

The work is hard and rewarding – but it is not really the job that makes the ships so great.  It’s not the amazing places you see, the cheap beer or the great weather.   It’s the people.  When you step on board your first contract, you board with no friends.  By the end of your first day, you have been blessed with 500.

And so when I got a phantom text from Rob some time last year asking if we were still in Barbados, Sian and I got very excited at the thought of catching up with him and his partner Corea when they were in port.  I worked with Corea (a very talented singer) during every contract that I did with Colorbox, and I worked one contract with Rob – a camp dancer – on the Celebration in 2009 (only joking – Rob is a fine singer too).

We did what most ship mates do; played computer games, drank lots, visited beaches and made tits of ourselves on our days off.

Good times.

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Rob and Corea have been out in the Caribbean for a few months now, working on the Thomson Dream.  We had them over for a roast a few weeks back, and Rob asked if I would mind doing some new head shots for them next time they were in.  So we headed down to Codrington College – a few minutes drive from my house, and got some lovely shots.

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Now, as many of you already know, I am no stranger to headshots and I always enjoy the challenge of getting that portrait.  Corea and Rob are, by the nature of their business, very beautiful people anyway.  This not only makes my job easier, but more fun.  The soft flattering light suits Corea wonderfully, whereas the hard, side-lit shots suit Rob’s larger, more angular frame.

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As well as the usual full length/three quarters and tight crop, you also have to be aware that a lot of performers want their shots to be presented in black and white as well.  And, as fond fans will already know, that means you need to look for texture – another reason for heading to Codrington.  The building is made of beautiful coral stone – riddled with patterns and notches and holes, all of which help add that texture and interest to the monochrome.

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Overall I am really pleased with the shots we got…let’s hope they are too!

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Thanks for reading as always guys, and see you all next week 🙂

x

Firstly, a happy new year to one and all – I hope you all enjoyed ending 2012 and beginning 2013 as much as we did.  As you know, my folks were over, which was utterly amazing.  I am working on a video on that one.  But truth be told I have a horrible cold so wanted to share some pictures from a ‘save the date shoot’ I did with the wonderful Dan and Kelly a few days back.

Dan is our best friend Ally’s brother, and he proposed to the utterly beautiful Kelly shortly after they were last here in Barbados on holiday.  They very kindly did a shoot with James while he was here doing some training with my studio staff at the time.  They loved the shoot so much (and Dan saw a real opportunity) that he suggested doing another one while they were here, in exchange for being excused from some of the dance classes Kelly had lined up for them prior to the big day.

Smart man.

And so the date was set, and we headed out to a few spots.  We had a great time showing Dan and Kelly around the north of the island, and despite it being very overcast, we still got some lovely stuff.

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As you can see, the clear blue skies associated with Barbados are very much absent here.  Recently, the weather has been utterly atrocious out here on the rock, but I love the dramatic pictures the clouds paint…although I do understand it is not to everyone’s taste.

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We started off at the Animal Flower Caves, and after that headed to Heywoods beach.  This is where we used to live and was the first time Sian and I had been anywhere near the old resort for some time.  It is very sad to see all the old pools emptied out and doors boarded over, but we were here for the beach which, thankfully, was as glorious and deserted as ever.

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Being that we have been having such dump weather lately, we do normally get blessed with some interesting cloud formations and sunsets – thankfully today was no exception.

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And to finish off?  How about one of those salsa-esque dips you have got yourself excused from Dan?!

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Thanks a million guys – you were a blast, hope you like the piccies!

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Every now and then, like I was able to here, I get to show you all my ‘real’ work.  That is, proper shoots, that are organised and paid for, rather than me dicking around with my camera knocking coconuts out of trees like I did last week.

Well, I am pleased to say, today’s post is one of those (no, not me dicking about).

While we were at home on holiday, my boss Gary called me and asked if I could do a shoot that he had organised.  Now, most people who are called in on their holiday may be a little annoyed, but when it means going out in the autumn colours with my beloved D800, some pocket wizards and two flash assistants…well, it’s hardly a problem.

Oh – and it turns out Scarlett is absolutely stunning.  Which always helps too.

Scarlett is currently applying to various universities and colleges to embark on her career in the drama world.  It seems like a lifetime ago that I too was doing the same thing, and as such I knew exactly what she was after, the holy grail for any budding actor: good head shots.

Now, a less experienced photographer may think that head shots are easy.  A less experienced photographer is very, very wrong.  I have sat with a lot of my good actor pals for hours whilst they deliberate over which of the fifty shots they have been given is ‘the best’.   As an actor, you are taught to be critical…and most of them are even better at being critical of themselves (seriously, it can get down right depressing).  So your job as the photog is to make sure you get everything right.  Flattering, soft light and eye contact with the model are the most important things.  Scarlett’s picture is about to hit a few dozen desks, and it may be the difference between her application being read or just dropped in the bin.  I (hope) you will all agree, Scarlett’s head shot is definitely going to grab the attention of her future teachers.

Once we had got this one in the bag…well, we had some fun 🙂

We were shooting in Leatherhead and started off in the local church.

And after that we headed over the road to a stream/rivery thing.  I was really lucky to have both Sian and Gary assisting with the flashes, which meant that we could bathe Scarlett in scrummy soft light through a 36″ umbrella, and hit her with a much harder bare bulb speedlight from behind.  This helps separate her from the background, and highlight her beautiful deep-red hair.

Scarlett was great fun and when I  suggested she shuffle out on this branch, precariously overhanging the rivery thing, she was more than happy to brave it.

And as light was fading, and to prove how much fun we are all when we are shooting, I share with you the final shot of the day.

Thanks for the gig Gary – was a blast as always, and good luck  with the upcoming auditions and interviews Scarlett – you will walk them all 🙂

Thanks for reading guys x