November beach photoshoot Skye
“Should we get another hot water bottle?” Penny and I surveyed the pile of blankets, onesies, wellies, hand warmers, hot water bottles and thermos flasks in the back of her car. Cosied up in the front seat with the bum warmer on and the air con turned up to extra warm is the lovely Stephanie. She’s agreed, volunteered even, to be our model for a day of art nude photography. This is going to mean being naked while creating and holding the most beautiful poses while covered in freezing sea water and being cut through by an icy north wind. On Skye. In November.
Capturing the person
Ever since studying art at high school it has been drilled into me that life drawing is the most difficult and challenging subject (personally I think that the most difficult thing ever is drawing a foreshortened horse but that could just be me!) and it is a subject I have been engaged with over many years. When I have idle moments I sketch faces and hands and bodies. I look not simply for composition, shape and shade but the little quirks of each physical feature that make them unique to their owner. It is something I carry forward to my photography. I look and listen to the essence of the people I photograph. I want to reflect and share them both as individuals and to reveal their interaction as a couple or a group in the images. Because of course it’s not just about the body – it’s very much the mind too.
When I photograph a couple the I often talk about the focus being on their relationship with each other not with me the photographer. Not to pose for the camera but to be together as they naturally are. The day is about them and their relationship and their love for each other and the landscape that surrounds them. My job is to understand the light and the composition and to interpret that relationship. You’re not models and my role is to capture your essence not just your appearance.
An aside on being photogenic
Every single person or couple that I photograph tells me that they are “not photogenic”. Women particularly tell me this. Men often tell me they have “photo face”. Very few of us are comfortable with the image of ourselves that stares back at us from a photograph. Because of this I have been a little concerned about sharing these images. I know that we and particularly women are apt to make unfavourable comparisons between themselves and models.
Stephanie, our gorgeous model, has perfected being photographed – I’m sure she won’t mind me saying that she hasn’t perfected being photogenic – but the art of being photographed. It’s her full time job and she has studied and also photographs so that she understands angles, light, composition, the most flattering of poses and is at one with the process.
By all means take a leaf out of the teenagers book and take a million selfies (no duck pouts please) to see how you look from a variety of angles – get used to seeing yourself reflected through a lens but on your wedding day trust your photographer to do the hard work. Your job is to enjoy your day.
Back to the beach
We shot at the glorious Talisker bay. I can’t tell you how cold it was. But the light and the reflective water lying on the black and gold sands and Stephanie’s poise created the most beautiful images. We headed to the Old Inn at Carbost for a well deserved lunch, mulled wine and a warming hour beside the open fire. We stopped en route on one of the deserted single track roads that criss-cross the island for some more shots. There I took a video of Stephanie celebrating the wrap on that part of the day which is one of my favourite memories. Scroll down to the end of the gallery to view!
After lunch we headed to the lower slopes of Bla Bheinn, where we startled a few members of the local Mountain Rescue team. They reassured themselves that we weren’t planning to climb Bla Bheinn that afternoon – a storm was blowing in. One final change from cosy onesie to floaty dress and the final images of the day were done.
Huge thanks to the wonderful Stephanie Dubois and to Penny Hardie who arranged the shoot.