Exactly one month ago, Simon and I were drinking a beer at a pub helping a fellow photographer out, giving him advice for his upcoming (first) wedding assignment later that week (he managed to do a great job by the way). When we had no more advice to give, we turned to our next 'concern'. Our lack of models this autumn. Simon said he couldn't believe I didn't know any potential models. With so many people working around me, there certainly had to be at least one that had a spark within her. One that had to translate into amazing imagery. I thought for a moment and came up with a name of a colleague who certainly had that spark within her. I suggested: "Kerusha".
Simon took a look at her profile picture and immediately sent her a message informing her of our photography related activities. Telling her that we would love to do a shoot with her, pointing her to our websites. Showing our photos telling her about my blogs giving an impression of previous shoots. Lucky for us, Kerusha responded positively not long after this message was send.
We always ask our model if she has any ideas of her own concerning the shoot, as it is their photography experience after all and we find it important that the model gets the opportunity to make her own choices. This can be between an indoor or outdoor photoshoot, or a certain style of photographs she would like to have made. Kerusha said she would like to do an outdoor shoot and would like to be photographed doing yoga poses. Simon did some scouting and came up with two locations. One of an industrial looking playground and one of a natural looking obstacle course with lots of trees and wooden objects. Kerusha preferred the latter one. A month after our pub talk, the three of us drove to the location where we unpacked and readied our gear.
One of the first couple of photographs we took was Kerusha hanging on a rope, doing some poses. It immediately became clear to us, that this could be quite a challenge. Both not well versed in yoga and even less in doing this kind of photography. Not really knowing which poses where possible and quickly positioning light and camera to capture the movements Kerusha was doing. Kerusha held her poses a bit longer then she would normally do, so we had a better chance to make decent photographs.
At the first location the trees were also quite a challenge. Sometimes they were an obstacle for us, and other times they were a nice way of framing the subject.
I kept moving around, while she was doing her moves. My experience as an event photographer helped. Keeping focus, looking for the right angle and quickly capturing the best possible moments.
After the rope climbing bit, we went to something that looked like a trampoline. The shots I took there were okay. Not my faves. The one I liked though most, was not of Kerusha doing a pose but of her being relaxed, laughing at a funny remark Simon made. The atmosphere was good, as usual.
Next were a few poses on the ground near a small wooden bridge. First, one in the grass. The articulating screen of my Panasonic GX8 made this easy. As Simons camera (a Canon 5d mark IV) doesn't have this function, he would have to lay down on his belly in the wet grass to get this shot. In some circumstances his gear gives him the advantage (focus speed and low light capabilities) and sometimes my camera has the upper hand. This is all part of the equation which provides the model with a wide variety of shots.
I always keep looking for beautiful moments. Even (or maybe especially) when the model is not paying attention to me. When she's waiting for my signal telling her that I'm ready for the next session. As I know that at these in between moments some of my favourite pictures are made.
And when the session starts again, not only Kerusha delivers, but also nature provides a beautiful golden sunset, as the perfect background.
We also did a short session on a log. Not many shots I made there. I gave her branche, which I intended for her to use as a cord dancer. But the one where Kerusha is just standing there, talking to Simon, very relaxed, is one of my faves.
Next was the totem pole. Our original idea was a picture of Kerusha doing a handstand or some other pose right next to the totem pole. Which she did. But Kerusha said it would be fun to have a picture of her sitting on top of the totem pole. We thought that was a great idea! I helped Kerusha with climbing to the top of the pole, by preventing her feet from slipping. Later on Simon helped our model safely down. I love the shot I took of her on the totem pole. It has an almost surreal feel to it. Like it was made on a movie set.
We used lighting equipment to give the picture more definition and contrast, separate the subject more from the background. As it happens, the transmitter sometimes failed to trigger the lighting equipment. To make lemonade out of lemons, this failure provided me with a nice opportunity to show the difference between photography with only natural light and photography when a flash was used. The flash makes quite a difference. Sometimes subtle, sometime very pronounced like in the example below.
Finally we walked to a drainage pipe and took a second flash out of the back. Our idea was to light the inside of the pipe, creating the look of a glowing orb just behind Kerusha. I made one with and one without lens flare. Can't really decide which one is better, but hereunder you'll find the one with.
This was, as usual, a very fun shoot which the three of us enjoyed very much, creatively and socially. Simon and I are also a new experience richer. Having both never done this kind of photography before. Sometimes challenging, but overall a lot of fun to do. This is the reward for giving the model part of the creative freedom and letting her explore her own ideas.
If you're curious about Simon's great pictures and want to check them out (and you really should) just go to: https://sutcliffe.photography/blog/portfolios/kerusha/