Prom Queen


Prom Queen - Introduction

Julia had just graduated as a linguistics student at university of Minsk, Belarus.

In the week prior to the graduation party she took a vacation to the Greek island of Rhodes with the intention of acquiring a healthy tan and more importantly a dress for the prom party.

She managed to find the perfect dress - a stunning blue "Hellenistic" style.

Julia decided she would like some outdoor portrait shots in her new dress whilst still in Greece to add some authenticity to the design of the garment.

I was happy to oblige and with her prior experience in modelling the photo shoot was fun and successful.

Prom Queen  - assignment planning and objectives

With this type of assignment it is important to allocate the time for a "pre-shoot" briefing.

By sitting and chatting with Julia over a cup of coffee, I was able to get a good understanding of the type of shots she was looking for. This helped decide the location and time for the shoot and gave me the chance to preplan the set up and poses which in turn meant the actual shoot went smoothly and was more productive.

Julia is a confident, attractive and sexy young woman and had chosen the dress to compliment her svelte figure. She wanted a variety of full body shots that showed off both her figure and the dress to maximum effect whilst retaining a very natural understated feel.

We decided to achieve this by keeping make-up and accessories to a minimum, posing barefoot and for the most part using the naturally soft light of indirect sunlight during the "golden hour" before sunset.

Choosing the ancient amphitheatre as the location gave the perfect colour contrast to the vibrant blue of the dress whilst adding authenticity to the style.

Be adaptive and flexible

Having a pre-shoot meeting to plan the shot doesn't mean that there is no scope for flexibility and adaptation once on the shoot. In fact by pre-planning it means that the primary objectives of the shoot are more likely to be obtained quickly and efficiently leaving more time available for on the spot creative decisions.

In the case of this shoot, as the light faded and the primary objectives were already 'in the bag" (or in the camera!) we decided to relocate to the nearby cliff top for the sunset. 

Julia then had the idea that she would like some shots wearing just the under-leaotard of the dress - the better to display both her tan and her figure.

I quickly switched to manual exposure set the shutter speed to max sync speed and metered for the background sunset to establish the aperture and then used an on camera speed light in TTL mode to expose for Julia so she would be balanced with the natural light.

Creative use of post production

As a rule I endeavour to capture the image "in-camera" as close as I can to the final desired result and only use image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw for cropping and tonal adjustments.

However there are occasions where creative design can be put to use with good effect via post production of images.

In the shot below, the original image (left) was a "reject" due to a flash misfire. However I felt that using Adobe Camera Raw to make significant tonal adjustments gave a result that was in keeping with the intent of the photoshoo (Centre). Finally the liquify filter in Photoshop was used to smooth out the wrinkles in the leotard which i felt were spoiling the aesthetics of the silhouette.

In the shot below, I chose to add a parchment texture and blend it with the image to create a particular "feel"

Julia (pictured right) in more casual attire with her holiday companion

Note: click on any image to view page photos as slideshow and for shot info


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