Extraordinary images with ‘ordinary’ people!

After a HUGE amount of deliberation and some soul searching, I recently launched a creative portrait package.  The deliberation was down to the fact that the Surrey Hills is not exactly a hot market for portraits that go way beyond headshots.  This isn’t London, or Brighton and while people here love their family photography and the business photography market is booming – I’m not sure they will be bashing the door down to get ‘interesting’ in the studio.

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BUT – in the end I figured there was no harm in launching something – kind of a ‘if you build it they will come’ sort of thing.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but the early signs are promising.

What I wanted to share with you here is the shoot that started me off thinking about all this.  I wanted to try something big, something really creative and something collaborative.  At Halloween last year I got my first taste of this kind of thing with the Lilith shoot (check out this shoot over at my Spark page) and honestly I had such an amazing time I wanted to do it all over again!  I have always loved dressing up, both in the glamorous evening wear sense and in the fancy dress sense (that’s costume for my American readers) but I love the piecing together of an outfit, the concept, the finding of unique pieces and the creating a look almost as much as I love wearing the things!

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Image from Lilith – Halloween 2017

I’d been trying to persuade my friend Chantal to model for me for a couple of years but she wasn’t really having it until I presented her with this particular idea which would only work the way I wanted with a model that looked just like her (honestly it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without her golden skin and black hair – it just wouldn’t!).  Having convinced her I set about gathering others to help with the set, the styling and the makeup and the result is what you see here – Violet and Gold!

The key thing here is that Chantal isn’t a professional model, so making the experience of being part of this a positive and fun one was critical for me.  No-one was getting paid so we had to enjoy ourselves as well as make some really great images.  This is what makes me think that anyone can ‘model’ for something like this and the experience of being the star for a few hours is something that more people should have.  No matter how confident (or not!) you are in front of the camera, I know we can have a great time and you can look great.  If you’re not the kind of person who enjoys the sight of their own face – you can be someone else for a day!  It’s amazing how when you step into a character the inhibitions are broken down and you can behave however you want because that’s what the character needs. I totally get why people get into the whole reenactment or live action role play scene – dress up and lark about as someone else for a while – what better escapism could there be!

So – enjoy Violet & Gold, I’ve put a few images below but do head over and check out the full shoot with details of everyone involved plus behind the scenes images and background info over on My Spark and if you fancy giving something mad and creative a try get in touch!

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For the full Violet & Gold experience check out the project HERE

 

You can see more of my work over on www.siantphoto.com and check out my Instagram @siantphoto for tons more!

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Doing good with Photography and having a great time!

When I first started doing photography for other people I didn’t charge – instead I asked them to make a donation to my favourite charity – Unicef.  This was great in most cases and so many of my clients were happy to make generous donations which was great!  However, as time went on and the expenses of running a photography business materialised (website, equipment, insurance blah blah) I wasn’t able to continue in this vein so a new approach was needed.

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I wanted to continue to give back to charity because it feels so good to do that, and like many people I’m not really in a position (yet!) to make large cash charity donations on a regular basis.  So I started donating family photography sessions to various good local causes – everything from school fetes, to tombolas, to raffles and full scale charity auctions.  The way I look at it is this – even if the person who wins the session doesn’t need it/want it they and many others will have donated money the to charity for their ticket and that is a good thing.  In addition the person who wins might end up having spent a couple of pounds and got something they otherwise couldn’t afford to do – so that’s a good thing too.  I always include a few branded images in these sessions so that people can (if nothing else and they cannot or don’t want to buy prints and things) share their session on Facebook and what not – so win win really!

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Don’t get me wrong, there are sound business reasons for this approach too.  It helps get my name out there and people sharing photos on Facebook with my logo on is great advertising.  These are local charities so there are lots of people there who are potential clients and I’ve also picked up a few business clients from things like this, plus opportunities to get involved with other local events.  Some winners even buy a print or some digital images from their shoot so that covers a little of the cost of doing this – but it’s the charity that really benefits and that’s why I love doing it.

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I wanted to share some of the images from a recent family shoot that was the result of a charity auction at a local school in aid of Born Free Foundation– one of my favourite locally based charities.  I had such a wonderful time with this great family, they made a generous donation to the charity and were so welcoming to me at their shoot. I had a brilliant time both on the day and afterwards processing the images and I love how they came out despite it being quite a grey day.

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A huge thank you to these guys and to all the families who’ve made donations to various charities for their photo shoots over the last few years – I’m so looking forward to more of these in the coming spring and summer months!

See more of my family photography or make an enquiry over at www.siantphoto.com