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Richy Leeson 2011, Swimwear Shoot.

So this week i made my way to Tynemouth, to shoot with the beautiful Katie McCornish! I assembled a small team which included my very trusty and hugely talented colleague/make up artist Laura Angel, and local student Daniel Hind to act as an assistant/runner.

I have long since admired swimwear shoots shot in the U.S., the typical Flordia and California beach scenes are something which appeals to me hugely, however i wanted to put my spin on that. I wanted to create bright vibrant images with all the elegance you would expect from a typical swimwear shoot, but also my style on it. I havn’t covered much swimwear before, and i think it suits me hugely, i love working with/around water, the variety of shots you can get is endless, however i despise shooting around sand, not only does it stay in your shoes for weeks, it’s a nightmare to get out of your kit/camera bag etc!

We started the day early, and applied all of the make up indoors, and looked at our brief and influences for the shoot, and re-iterated the desired moods and energy levels for the shoot, then travelling to Tynemouth itself.
We first rocked up outside a local sailing club, with a nice little collection of sailing boats which i thought could be interesting,
although what i was really interested in was the rocks/cliff faces from the hard sandstone of the headland, the sun shining against it and the cracks in the walls lead your eye all over and i knew it would create an interesting image, so we shot for a while here, and Katie being the star she is decided to do a bit of rock climbing in a bikini to get the shots we needed, and hats off to her for that!

We then sat down for an ice cream and had a little break, before travelling to the next cove and the main beach.
With it being a beautiful day, the beach was packed and we headed straight for a fairly quiet stretch, although it didn’t take long to become quite busy with inquisitive dog walkers and pensioners, wondering what was going on! (Anything for a look!)
We shot a couple of video clips (something i’ll reveal later) and started shooting in the water, again hats off to Katie for being such a trooper and being so enthusiastic in the water, the North Sea isn’t the warmest of places but she made it look like it was the pacific ocean! We tried a couple of idea’s here, and then headed back to the car.

All the shots were shot with natural light only, no flash. I cant re-iterate how much i love shooting with natural light, there’s just something about it, a quality to it that is just so much better than artificial light. Apart from the fact you have to lug so much less gear around than you would with a lighting kit, i just love working in a location environment, working with the available light, and objects/scenes around me, really getting active with the environment and getting involved with it, i feel you can create much more interesting shots this way, and its the style and way of working i have developed over the past year or two.
I feel natural light gives a much more realistic feeling, i think it can project a feeling, or a mood a little more, add to the face it’s how we see and you have my reasons for using natural light.
To make the most of it, i use a pro panel reflector kit, and a medium sized lastolite circular reflector for attention to detail.

The standard set up for my location work, sun to one side/slightly in-front/behind, reflector for fill.

After we wrapped up, with both Katie and myself drenched, we went back to the car and had fish & chips and relaxed knowing the hard work was done! I was very lucky to have a great team helping me and it really does make the difference, i cannot comprehend the importance of a team, especially a make up artist, luckily Laura is incredible at what she does, and it makes such a difference in the mood i am trying to project, and also in post work, she saves me so much time, with little or no skin work needing to be done most of the time!

This leads me on to a further point, people often comment on my post work, and are much more interested in how i worked the image in post production, rather than how i shot it. Now i have my methods and ways of working in post, but i see it as purely an enhancement of what i got straight from the camera, as many people before me have said, and many people after, ‘You can’t polish a turd.’ Simple! You need a good shot, to be able to enhance it. A good photograph will stand out no matter what post production methods are applied, whether a print is the right colour, whether a projector is too bright etc, no matter, a good photograph will always stand out, and this really means you should get in camera. I have been told, and taught this by current international photographers, people who are setting the standards, so i cant stress this enough.

Too many people, especially younger, and begginer photographers are looking to photoshop to correct their mistakes, rather than learning from them and rectifying them and getting it in camera, they would rather spend 30 minutes in photoshop cleaning a studio cove rather than taking 10 minutes to paint it, and it being clean in every shot, this is something i will never understand, and will constantly try to push on to other photographers asking for advice, get your shot in camera.
I work by a rule that if the shot is not good enough straight out of the camera, then it is not good enough for the overall end product. I will be happy to show any of the following original files if anybody would like to see my before and after work, but the vast majority of the image comes from getting it right in camera, the depth of field, the exposure, and the colour.

If you want the sea to be bright, and green/blue, look for the shallowest area’s that are that colour, go on a bright day so the sea sparkles, etc, easy! πŸ™‚

Now here are the images from the shoot, please feel free to let me know your 5 favourite images, to help me towards my final edit as i am struggling at the moment.

Thanks, and keep checking for more posts πŸ™‚



3 responses

  1. ste scott

    wow nice shots

    August 8, 2011 at 1:41 am

  2. Great shots, you asked for opinions! my favs are 3766, 3796, 4003, 4033, 4042 & 4169 but they all look good. Great job by everyone Nikki πŸ™‚

    August 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm

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