At its simplest, a professional portrait shoot offers a client a collection of beautifully-rendered images to enjoy for years to come… but it’s possible to go even further.
Locally, I’m well known on the burlesque and cabaret scene, which often attracts lovers of all things vintage from the golden age of Hollywood onwards. I’ve recently been combining the two to develop a vintage makeover experience to offer portrait and makeover clients.Never one to do things by half, I enlisted the help of Gemma, an antipodean burlesque performer, who runs the House of Go Disco model and entertainment agency and lives and breathes vintage style. Not only was Gem able to provide authentic hair and makeup but also use all her modelling, pinup and burlesque experience to tutor the client in producing glamourous and flattering poses. Gem’s currently busy producing The Flaming Feathers Variety Dance Show, which will take place in February at Chapel Arts in Bath.
Our client, a scientist, had never modelled, dressed in a vintage style, or been made over in this way before – so it was a interesting experiment to see exactly how she found the experience.
The shoot took place at The Watermill Studio, Bath, which is operated by commercial photographer, Tim Baker, and features hydroelectric power, making it an incredibly eco-friendly location. Tim’s studio is equipped with a range of Bowens studio lighting and a wide range of modifiers to play with, but I went with quite a simple painterly lighting arrangement with a large softbox providing the main light high and right, with a shoot through umbrella giving a wash of subtle fill.
The era we sought to evoke was the 1950s and the centrepiece for the model’s look was a red Vivien of Holloway pencil dress, finished in a ‘Duchess’ fabric, which offered a beautiful sheen in the studio lighting. I’ve frequently shot clients in Vivien of Holloway dresses and I’m a huge fan of the designs, which flatter women of many different body types and make them look fabulous. The cult brand is increasingly being seen on celebrities around the UK and beyond yet, despite this, the clothes are very reasonably priced.
To complete the look we also used some retro seamed stockings and sourced a genuine vintage flight case and retro telephone, complete with its ‘BT Rental’ stickers.
Our client absolutely loved the shoot and realised just how much goes in to planning and executing this kind of photography, and said she had a new respect for what professional models do!
If you would like a vintage makeover experience for yourself or as a present for a friend or family member please contact me via the ‘Contact’ link at the top of this website or call 0794 1217098.