Fuji X100

Last week I received a lovely new toy, a brand new Fuji X100 camera. This is perhaps the most highly anticipated camera in the digital age. (If you have been following this, you’ll know why this is such an exciting piece of equipment.) I have no intention of writing a full review about this camera (you can read one here.) All I can say is that, its almost there. There are a few minor bugs which if Fuji listens, can be fixed via Firmware updates. Here is a sample shot which I took last weekend using this camera.The image is straight out of camera JPEG with all the factory settings. No adjustments whatsoever, apart from resizing for the web. The camera was set on Macro mode to focus closely, the ISO was set to base at 200 and the shutter was set at its maximum at 1/4000. Finally, there is the on camera flash (with no compensation) which illuminates the subject while the very fast shutter speed kills most of the ambient light, hence the very deep blue sky in the background.

Page 3!

I was recently contacted by Andy Dolan from the Daily Mail a few days back regarding one of DONT WALK models. Ella Woodward, whom I had photographed (red background) for the 2011 campaign, won a modelling award. The Daily Mail were doing an article on her, in their unique style, of course. Here is the link to the online story.

Sitara Fashion Show

The last of the fashion shows for this academic year in St Andrews is Sitara. Sitara is an Asian fashion show. The biggest challenge for me was to come up with a concept for this shoot. My main objective was to produce something exciting and vibrant while avoiding clichés. However, being in Scotland and far from any Asian communities, accessing a suitable location is a challenge. The answer was food. Sitara has models from around the world and we all love our curries, sushi and Chinese. From a technical point of view, the shots were done in the most simple manner. One fixed lens (a 105mm macro lens) and an SB-900 Flash on a bracket, the game was to get the models to make expression and tease the camera with food! I tool nearly 2000 shots to get just the right expressions. The images were bundled in a poster by the Sitara folks and are on display in various parts of St Andrews and on Facebook of course.

DONT WALK 2011

DONT WALK fashion show is one of the most exclusive and elitist fashion shows in town. It is invitation only.  Plus,this is the fashion show where Kate Middleton modelled and Prince William was in attendance.

Producing PR images for DONT WALK is always a challenge and also a lot of fun. The creative team always want to push the boundaries of  what has been done or what is considered to be too much in St Andrews. I did a total of 3 sets of photo shoots for the promotional material of the show this year.

The first photo shoot was to promote this year’s models. It took the creative team and I a while to come up with a concept for this shoot. We wanted to show the personality of each and every model in a single image. Anyone who has done portrait work knows how challenging this task is and how easily it can go wrong. My solution was to ask every model to be his or her own stylist, and even creative director! In other words, from our end we had no input on how the models were going to be styled or show up. Now, I needed an element in order to weave the shots together and make them look like that they belong to the same campaign. I tackled this firstly by finding a red wall; and, secondly, by using very basic and harsh lighting. This colour and lighting combination is reminiscent of erotic images. This brought out the DONT WALK models’s individuality which is can be a touch provocative and irreverent.

I used my Nikon D3s at ISO 1000 (I wanted fast flash recycling time) and an AF_S 50mm f1.4 lens. I placed my Nikon SB-800 on a RRS flash bracket and that was my gear for all these shots.

and here are all the shots together with a couple of behind the scenes shots of me.

The second campaign was to promote the launch party for the show. The concept for this photo shoot was to show an after-party. The idea was to create images that look like snapshots rather than staged, elaborately lit shots, etc. My set up was fairly easy once again. I used my trusty Nikon D3s at ISO 1000. I used three lenses, an AF 35mm f2, AFS-50mm f1.4 and AFS 24-70f2.8. I also used an SB-800 on an RRS flash bracket. Finally, for some of the shots, I used a small beauty dish attachment on the flash with honeycomb grid in order to prevent the light spill.

For the third and final set of promotional materials, we were inspired to do something very Helmut Newton like. I wanted to do bold compositions with strong and beautiful images in them.

For this shot, I used an SB-900 as far as I could from the model zoomed to 200. That’s the only light on the model, which allowed the strip of the film to cast a beautiful shadow on the model’s face.

This wonderful behind-the-scenes image was taken by Rachel Roo Sheskier (all the behind-the-scenes shots in this series also by Rachel)

The second shot is a slight departure from Newton and I tried to do something like the famous shot of Marlon Brando by Richard Avedon. For this shot, I used a Bowens continuous light.

The third shot is also my favourite. I positioned the model in front of the mirror and placed the same continuous light over her head (you can see the corner of a dish on the left hand side of the image). I placed the camera on my Really Right Stuff TVC-33 tripod and, as the camera was tethered to the computer, I could trigger the camera without me being in the shot! This image needs to be printed very very large in order to show its full potential. There is so much detail in the face of the model, the mirror behind the model, and so on, which can only be seen in a large print.

This shot was done in an impromptu way. I wanted the use the mirrors which have been collected by the creative team. I used only the available ambient light in this shot and the biggest challenge was how to keep my reflection out of the mirrors!

Finally, the last show it dramatic and challenging shot. The aim was to have two girls in the shot with a bit of sexual ambiguity or androgyny. I think, in the end, the shot works both in terms of the poses. I really like the way Lina, the model in the white jacket, leans on the chair, very masculine, yet incredibly sexy. This shot was taken with an ultra wide angle lens of 14-24 at 20mm. For lighting the scene, I used 4 SB-800s in an umbrella box, above the models’s heads (I had to fine tune the position of the light in order to avoid reflections in the windows.) I then underexposed the scene by 2 stops and used 1/250 for my shutter. Last but not least, my trusty old Nikon F6 loaded with Kodak Tri-X was used.

There is also a behind-the-scenes video of this photo shoot which I invite you to watch.

Refet Afrique Fashion Show 2011

I recently produced images for the promotional materials of the African fashion show in St Andrews, Refet Afrique. We used very heavy make up by Sandra and beautiful head scarves from Zimbabwe. For the first shot, I used a snooted SB-800 as my main light handheld by my assistantat camera right (you can see the casted  shadow under the nose of the model as a result of that), then the fill light is another SB-800 into a beauty dish on a C-Stand right above the model. Finally, there is another SB-800 into an Lastolite Ezybox giving another fill from below.

The second shot is again the same concept but with a few differences. The main light is an SB-800 into a Photek Softlighter above model’s head. The fill light is the same softbox from below and then the thrid speed light is honeycomb gridded and handheld towards the model’s face to give just an extra touch of hard light to the eyes.

There is also a short behind-the-scenes video of this photo shoot which I invite you to take a look at.

I got published on Vogue.

This is an updated post on my St Andrews Charity Fashion Show (FS:2011). The final images which I produced for the Alfa Romeo Young Designer Award, have been now been published on Vogue, Marie Claire and Verge Magazine (Click on each magazine’s and it will take you to the magazine’s post).

Also there is a behind the scenes video of the making and the concept of this photo shoot which I invite you to take a look at.