I recently attended a fabulous day of photographic portfolio building organised by Andrew Appleton of Appleton Photo Training and Andrew Griffiths of Saracen House Studios in Milton Keynes. They had lined up four amazing models and four incredible cars in a lovely location in rural Essex. In addition, the event was supported by Hasselblad and Broncolor whose superb cameras and lighting equipment was demonstrated and available to use. This included the new H5D- 50c Hasselblad with the CMOS sensor giving it great low light capability as well as a 14 stop dynamic range. As this camera body alone retails at over £22,000, it is not a piece of kit that many photographers will have the chance to get their hands on unless they have very deep pockets, win the lottery or hire.
The gorgeous models were themed and styled by Helen Lesley MUA who did a great job matching the models to the cars. The 1920’s Studabaker matched with Zara Watson suitably styled as ‘flapper’ from those halcyon days. The long cigarette holder was perfectly held by Zara in a ‘Downton Abbeyesque’ way. Jen Brook posed immaculately by the modern Bentley, her theme being modern, fashion bridal. The lunch break then followed with a presentation by Steve Thewis (Digi-Steve). This wizard with Photoshop showed us all how he transformed standard model shoots into cinema worthy posters with the help of both authentic props specially made for the shoot and his expert knowledge of Photoshop.
After a very tasty lunch, Faith Obae went back to the 1970’s in a little red Corvette and really worked it. My erstwhile group of three fellow photographers (two from The Guild of Photographers) also had her doing an impression of Eve (Adam’s biblical wife) picking the apple in the adjacent orchard from some rickety stepladders, no snakes involved and great fun! After another hour of photographing we finally reached our last car in the line up – the Cadillac, with white walled tyres. Straight from the 1940’s /50’s and Raphaella Withlove, our model, suitably attired and styled accordingly. She went to work straightaway and we all captured some great images very reminiscent in my opinion of Honeysuckle Weeks in TV’s Foyle’s War. The 60 minute slot with Raphaella went so quickly and our time was up. We all returned to the courtyard where all four models posed on the Studabaker for a group shot. After this we retired to the Great Hall where Andrew Appleton and Andrew Griffiths thanked everyone for making it such a great day. At the same time we were all treated to a delicious cream tea and had our Hasselblad images copied onto our own memory cards. One big tip here is that if you are attending a future PBD, take a spare CF card which has nothing on it, it can then be formatted in the Hasselblad and you can merrily use that to your heart’s content. We were so lucky with the weather on the day and the group I was a part of worked really well together. We had fun together, communicated with each of the models and had a good laugh. I can highly recommend these PB days as they give you the opportunity to put into practice what you have learnt on workshops with Mr A or other trainers. I definitely put my Mastering Speedlights workshop knowledge (from 12 months previous) to work with on-camera flash as well as that gained from Guild Panel members Simon Young and Lesley Chalmers and lately Gemma Lovett- Hume.
If you haven’t been on one of Andrew’s PB days – book one. They provide an opportunity for one to shoot top professional models in great environments with back up from some amazing equipment and guidance, if required, from the two Andrews. I met some lovely photographers on the day and came away with not only some very pleasing images, but great memories. If you love photography and enjoying pushing the boundaries and doing something a bit different from the run of the mill, book one of these days – and no I’m not on commission!