To mark the end of summer and add a touch of sunshine to my portfolio, I had the most fantastic photoshoot with a team of creatives that I’ve never worked with before to bring fresh eyes, ideas, concepts and styles to the studio and really shake things up.
I was joined by the most wonderful makeup artist Elliee and the very talented photographer TNR Photo at the fabulously fresh and modern Saracen House studios in Milton Keynes; come and see how it went!
Whilst I’ve been a glamour / lingerie model since the age of 18yrs when I first came into the industry, I have such a passion for celebrating the female form, promoting body confidence and encouraging female empowerment. So the brief that I gave to the team was to create something bright and fun with lots of colours, fitness and nature inspired and the use of both strong and naturally gentle looks – quite a task!
I packed a few of my favourite summer outfits to take along with me and each creative put together their own concept of how best to display their field of expertise. Arriving at the Saracen House studio, just a short distance from the A5 in Milton Keynes, where I was able to conveniently park my car in their private carpark, I was greeted by the team before enjoying their refreshments, having a tour of the studio and heading into makeup.
Makeup Artist Elliee Sewell created three very stunning looks for the shoot to encompass the sweet, feminine and fierce style brief of this shoot by building up the intensity of colour and coverage from a light and shimmery summer natural look to a heavier pink eye and finally a really striking bold red lip which I’m obsessed with.
Having a professional do my makeup for a photoshoot is in my eyes the best way to get the very most from a look as my makeup skills are beyond awful. I’m such a sporty girl and usually have my hair tied up in a ponytail with a flick of foundation across my red cheeks and under my eyes – that I typically apply with a finger – whilst rushing around, working out and tending to my two children. So it’s safe to say that I’m somewhat lacking in experience when it comes to getting glammed up and without that level of expertise and the precision of a professional artist, pictures can really fall flat and look instantly amateur.
Elliee was such a wonder to work with, asking me what type of looks I felt most comfortable with and how adventurous to be with each progression. We chatted merrily throughout in the dressing room before she kept a watchful eye over the shoot for each look and popped onto set to make adjustments to my hair, makeup and clothing to ensure every detail was immaculate.
I asked Elliee if she would like to share some information about her work should you wish to book her for your own special occasion and she very kindly sent me this: “Hi I’m Elouise Sewell also known as Ellie, I have been in the industry for 2 years now and started my journey at Havering College near to where I live. I did Level 2 Beauty which I loved, however the small part of makeup we did on the course is what took my interest the most. From there I then went on and decided to study makeup instead, so I did a Level 3 Hair & Media course in London which I loved, however due to Covid19 I spent most of it working from home. From there I then decided I really wanted to go further in to the industry and work in TV/film so that’s when I applied to do a special effects and prosthetics degree at uni as it was something I really enjoyed doing.”
Elliee continues: “I’m currently in the second year of my degree studying in Surrey which I absolutely love, it has already led me on to great things like working on music videos and photo shoots and also working with people like Tracy Kiss who’s had lots of experience within the industry; it was amazing doing a photo shoot together and finding out about each other’s backgrounds. On the day we also worked with an amazing photographer @TNRphoto he managed to get stunning pictures of Tracy and made everyone feel really comfortable when working together, we were all a great team and days like this never feel like a day at work when then run that smoothly as everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and in high spirits!”
When it comes to gelling with a photographer to create ease and enthusiasm on set I feel that conversation, positive energy and upbeat music are a must. The studio is beautifully kitted out with backdrop in every colour of the rainbow, a huge selection of lights, a wind machine and plenty of fresh coffee to name but a few key factors!
As soon as I met TNR Photo he put the biggest smile on my face, warm, friendly, approachable and highly professional, I instantly felt safe and comfortable to talk through looks, styles and levels of content to sit beautifully within my comfort zone whilst also pushing my limits to try new things.
Before any shoot it’s always important to determine what type of content you’re looking for and where and how it will be used. Seeing as my brief is social media friendly shots, we worked to swimwear for minimum coverage, but as a page three model I previously enjoyed topless and nude art, avoiding open leg. Having the conversation regarding copyright and usage of pictures is so important as each photographer will have different levels of ownership and limitations – even though the picture may be of you, always check before submitting it to a publication or allowing it to be used in the press! As a rule of thumb, always tag your talent team when posting and drop a quick and polite email to your photographer in advance of confirming usage in the media.
So bringing together these two very different sides of my personality – strong, dominant and firey in contrast to soft, gentle and vulnerable – Elliee built up my eyeshadow to a more vibrant pink shade and I slipped into a more covered up floaty skirt as well as a dress with a range of flowers in my hair and on my wrist.
I love how feminine and natural this set turned out, showing a softer more romantic side to the style whilst being in juxtaposition to my many heavy tattoos and and curves. I adore pictures that create a story, bring about contrast and create a transformation from what you traditionally see. With a wind machine to add a gentle breeze to my summer dress and hair, the images are so captivating, enchanting and give me May Queen vibes!
My shoot took pace from 3-7pm with around an hour for makeup before we began and 3hrs of shooting in the studio which allowed for six outfit changes and three varying makeup looks. I had the most fantastic experience with the team and the time absolutely flew by; the true sign of having fun and loving your work!
We captured around 240 pictures which were emailed to me in thumbnails after the shoot for me to select my favourites and report back to my photographer on which to edit. Whilst editing is the final part of this process, everybody will have a different view as to how far an edit should be taken. Personally for me, when posting my own pictures online I prefer to keep editing to a minimum for full length shots, I usually increase the brightness to remove dull light or shadows and use a heal tool used to remove a bruise or a spot which would otherwise ruin a shot or take away focus. That’s pretty much where my editing abilities end!
For close up selfies, the majority of the time I use a snapchat filter which provides a skin softening effect to take out the visibility of the pores on the surface of the skin because it makes it look slightly more professional and polished for social media, but hopefully still resembles me. Other than that I tend to leave my own pictures alone and leave the real work to the professionals who can remove annoying labels from shots, cover bra strap marks and such wizardry!
So from this huge selection of photos I’d look to have 2-3 variations of each outfit, eventually ending up with around 20 final, postable pictures for social media. I’ve just emailed a list of around 85 pictures that I love from the shoot, leaving it to my photographer to pick his favourites. There is a slight difference in position, facial expression and stance in each of the shots from the six sets, so rather than having repetitive content, if I list all of the shots that I love my photographer can pick a couple from each style and edit them if he wishes, otherwise I’m happy to post them raw and unedited – it’s always worth checking how a photographer wishes for their work to be shown online and if you have their permission to make your own edits to their images.
All in all I think the team fulfilled this brief fantastically! There are so many front-cover worthy shots in these previews which will undoubtedly look even more magazine ready once they’ve been re-cropped and retouched where necessary.
If you’re looking for creative professionals to shoot with to enhance your portfolio, capture a special moment in your life or at an event then I highly recommend Elliee, TNR Photo and Saracen House Studio as these pictures speak for themselves for how dedicated to their craft, professional and imaginative they all are. I can’t wait to return to see what they come up with next!