Portraits with Melissa Magiera

Melissa and I collaborated on this portrait shoot recently. Lately I am loving nature-based shoots and wanted to capture something dark and wintery. I contacted Georgie Rattle Apparel (she has the most amazing faux fur coats) and asked her if she’d like to join us in collaborating. For shoots like these, I only ever shoot one or two outfits. The reason for this is to showcase what we can all do (in hopes of receiving future bookings and paid shoots). I always feel that providing people with a full shoot (on all of our behalves) is simply giving away free work that A) should be paid for or B) could have been given to another photographer as a paid shoot.

These collaborative shoots are always a sneak peek for clients and brands to see a small preview of what we can all offer should they want a full shoot in future. The collaborations are usually concepts that I have, so I contact a model, MUA, stylist etc and pitch the idea to them…

I get so many people asking me how to go about getting clients, where to draw the line at free shoots and how to shoot for practise (free) but not take away any work from professional photographers… The above is my advice… A small 1 or 2 outfit shoot which can be used as a preview to clients/portfolio update. It is a way to network and get client bookings without taking away from anyone who COULD be getting paid for shooting the concept. Too often clients opt for a free photographer over and above a paid one (understandably) but this affects the whole industry… so when we do free shoots like these, I always advise to only shoot one or two outfits – as a demo of what the team can do if a client paid us for a full shoot.

I also keep these shoots to a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour – time is money ! This shoot was only 30 minutes for two outfits – yes 30 MINUTES! I also try and make the shoot as fun as possible – no one wants to do a long and boring shoot for free – UGH! lastly, I insist that all of the team is credited on each platform with both a tag in the photo AND their names in the caption. It needs to be worthwhile for everyone. 🙂

Back to the shoot: Amy Louise Makeup was keen to help out with the hair and makeup as she needed some portfolio updates – so I sent her the mood board and gave her free reign when it came to the final look – when makeup artists do makeup for their book, I always want it to be THEIR work, to showcase what they can do. So I usually allow them to have their own creative input when joining these collaborations 🙂

We had Ryan Scheltema join us to shoot some behind the scenes (and some clips for a youtube video I am releasing soon.. watch this space). His video is at the end of the post…

The first outfit was shot in the soft light of the setting sun (pics to be released when video is released) and the second outfit (below) was shot as the sun disappeared – for a darker, wintery feel. I really love the forest background we captured in this shoot, a person would never say that we shot in front of ONE tree on the side of the road!! I found this location while driving to a client one day… I saw this tree and knew it would be the perfect backdrop for a shoot one day…


Thank you team, for an amazing collaboration!

Check out the behind the scenes video here:

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