A few weeks back I was fortunate to be part of an amazing workshop hosted by Bella Kotac and Simon Ellingham of Amersham Studios. If you haven't already seen Bella's work check out her website. I've always been in awe of Bella's colour toning, so when I saw the advert pop up on Facebook I jumped on it!
Getting to Amersham Studios was incredibly easy, from where I live it only took an hour and half by car. Simon who owns and runs the studio gave me a little tour and some background info. The studio plays host to a number of training events with those active in their field and it sort of reminds me of Creative Live in some respects. Which excites me because of the quality and ease of getting to their studio, as well as the varied workshops on offer. If you're based in the South East I strongly encourage you to visit their website to see what events/workshops are happening. Perhaps you just need to hire a studio for the day, well you can do that as well!
I walked up the steps into the studio space where I received a warm welcome from all, followed by a much appreciated cup of tea and a quick natter. We were introduced to Lydia Pankhurst, our hair and make-up artist for the day and the stunning Nina Sever who was modelling. Because the workshop was small in number it meant we were all able to have quality time with Bella. An added bonus was that we were all Canon users, which made comparing camera settings or sharing lenses much easier.
By mid-morning we were out on location in the beautiful local area of Amersham. The mandatory smoke bomb was set off and Nina started striking her poses... I was star struck. Nina was steadily changing her poses with such grace and elegance I was totally captivated! I distinctly remember Bella calling out telling me to direct Nina which woke me up.
Looking at my first set of images in camera I was astonished how good they looked before any post-processing was done. It just goes to show how a combination of good natural lighting and great make-up goes a long way!
As with most things when your enjoying yourself time just zipped past. Nina was feeling the cold but like a true professional kept going. At our next location we were in a large open space where houses had their own wooden bridge over a small river. It was all very picturesque! Nina changed into a new outfit, a wedding dress Bella had customised with roses. Lydia also made some adjustments to Nina's make-up to fit with the new look.
I made a bit of a school boy error in that I didn't check my exposure settings so a number of shots had to be re-taken. That aside I'm really pleased with what I captured. Bella was instrumental in showing how she directs and interacts with her model, something I still need to practice at.
After a quick pit stop at M&S we got back to the studio to spend the remaining part of the afternoon editing our work. This for me was the most important part of the day. Colour toning has always been something I've never really been happy with in my work. And what I learned in this one afternoon has changed my work-flow and how I edit forever! Seriously, I'm not joking. Bella was a superstar when it came to the technical stuff. All the bits I needed to know and more and my brain just seemed to absorb it all!
All in all I had a fantastic day with some amazing people, what more can you ask for :o)