Chelsey’s First Studio Portrait Shoot

Posted on November 2, 2016 by Admin under Portraits

Studio Portrait Shoots

I met Chelsey at a recent wedding where I was photographing the big day and she was one of the guests.   I didn’t notice her at the church, but saw her at the reception and wondered if she would be interested in doing a studio based portrait shoot.   After a brief chat I left her my card and thought no more of the meeting until she called me the next day.

We arranged a shoot at a studio in Peterborough for the Thursday after the wedding.  I made my way there and Chelsey arrived very shortly after me with a car full of clothing.  I don’t think I have seen quite so many dresses, skirts, tops and jeans crammed into a vehicle before.

Chelsey Samworth 1 at Studio One in Peterborough. Mel Pettit Photography. Portrait.

The idea was to start off nice and easy as this was Chelsey’s first time in  a studio.  I ran through a few posing basics and explained the sort of shots I was looking for.  I also took a few magazines to the studio to show her, so we could visualise some looks and styles.

Chelsey took to it like a duck to water, needing only a tiny bit of guidance here and there.

As well as bringing a massive amount of clothing with her, Chelsey brought lots of accessories, not least a selection of hats.  We shot with two of them, both trilbies, one black and the other black snd white checks.  The shot on the left shows that hat, beautifully modelled.

The Orange Top

I had expected Chelsey to be very nervous, but the three hours we booked in the studio flew by.  There were so many changes of wardrobe that I wanted to get through, but we didn’t get the opportunity.   We did get to Chelsey Samworth 2 at Studio One, Peterborough. Mel Pettit Photography. Portrait.the orange top though, one of my favourite items that Chelsey brought with her.   Shooting against a grey background allowed me to change the colour in post production, so I changed it to a contrasting blue.  That combination of colours, together with Chelsey’s blonde hair makes this shot one my favourites of the day.

White Shirt and Jeans

The final shot I’ve chosen is a classic white shirt and jeans shot with a chair.   It’s another one of my favourite shots of the day, because it’s so relaxed.

I do try to keep my studio portraits as simple and clean as possible.  I’m not a fan of clutter, I believe that one prop is enough as I don’t want anything to take attention away from the subject.  Sometimes it’s not possible to do that, if a studio has a fixed set the contol is taken away and you have to go with it.  On this occasion, the Chelsey Samworth 3 at Studio One, Peterborough. Mel Pettit Photography. Portraitchair was there and it was all that I needed.

All in all, I had a thoroughly enjoyable session with Chelsey, so much so that we arranged a follow up shoot for some fashion and portrait shots on location.  More of that later!

Marian & Sam’s pre-wedding shoot

Posted on September 18, 2016 by Admin under Weddings
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A short notice shoot!

There’s nothing like a short notice shoot to sharpen your senses.   One of my previous recommendations was read by Sam and I was asked if I could shoot his upcoming wedding to Marian.  The wedding was around 10 days away from his enquiry so I had little time in which to get everything sorted out ready for the day.

One of the things I like to do before shooting the day is to meet the bride and groom, and anyone else involved with the wedding, so we can make sure that the day is covered properly and I’m in the right place at the right time.   As part of the meeting I offer a mini-shoot so the couple can get used to me and the camera.  That helps ensure that there are no nasty surprises for the bride and groom on the day, when their heads are filled with all of the stress and strain that forms part of their special day.

The date we agreed on for the meeting was only three days before the day of the wedding, so it was easily the the shortest period of time between the pre-wedding and wedding shoots that I had ever  done.   We decided to meet at Burghley House, famed for its horse trials held in the grounds.   Indeed, when we arrived to meet and shoot, tents, stalls and fences were still in place as this year’s trials held been held only the week before.

It was easy to see at the meeting that Marian and Sam were made for each other.  They were so easy to get on with, and we discussed the day as we moved around Marian & Sam at Burghley Housethe grounds of Burghley House looking for locations.We managed to find a nice spot with a view of the house in the background.  Sadly the day day was very cloudy with lots of imposing grey clouds but thankfully no rain.  It was windy too, but that didn’t spoil the shoot.

With them both was their dog Missy, who was quite keen to be part of the shoot.   She was very well behaved and was happy to wander around, though posing wasn’t her strong point.  She did slip her harness at one point but didn’t wander away, she just wanted to have a look at what was going on.

We took a walk along the side of the large water feature in the grounds and took a few shots on the bridge over the inlet to the lake.   Missy decided that she wanted to be in this shot, the only one I got where she was facing the camera.  Marian & Sam on the bridgeI had wanted to get to go back another 10 yards or so to get this shot so I could get some nice lead-in lines but was unable to do so because there were some locked wrought-iron gates blocking my way.

The final shot of the day was taken from the bank of the lake inlet.   Marian & Sam kindly agreed to walk through a wet area to themselves to the centre of the stream.   They stood on a thin strip of compacted mud and gravel with water either side of them.   I get slightly worried when we do shots like this as there is always the danger that clothes will get dirty, or even worse, torn or damaged in some other way.   They weren’t at all phased by the idea, and when they moved Marian & Sam the kisstogether for the hug and kissed I knew I had the shot I wanted for the day.

We finished the shoot after that picture, and moved back to cafe at the house to discuss the wedding day, which will be blogged later.   It was around that time that I found I had dropped all of my keys somewhere in the extensive grounds.   Luckily for me, they had been found by the porter and were returned to me very quickly.  Thank God for honest people!

Emma’s 30th Birthday Party

Posted on July 23, 2016 by Admin under Family
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Emma’s 30th Birthday Party

A party with a Barbie and Ken theme

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A little while ago I was asked if I would like to photograph a themed birthday party.   Needless to say I jumped at the chance as themed parties can be so much fun.   Emma had just turned 30 so that special occasion had to be marked with a big event.

Emma has always had a bit of a Barbie thing, so I knew that there was going to be an awful lot of pink clothing involved.   I wasn’t to be disappointed as nearly everyone entered into the spirit of the evening.

The evening started with Emma’s arrival in a white Range Rover, and she was dressed in a pink ballgown.  Guests arrived rapidly, and I manged to get some formal shots of them in the foyer.  After that they moved to the function room for music, dancing, food and drink.   I was able to move around freely after everyone had arrived so candid shots were the order of the day.

Emma had invited a lot of family and friends, so it was always going to be a very social night.   Things became a little less formal as the night wore on as can be Emma-5994 Emma-6010 Emma-6063seen from the selection of pictures below.   The bar was doing a roaring trade and that made my job a little bit easier as inhibitions fell away.  It’s always good to be surrounded by people who want to have their picture taken!

The nature of the shoot means that I can’t provide links to the gallery for this shoot, but I am able to add a selection of shots from the night on this blog.   Emma was very kind in giving me permission to do so.

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I am always available for family shoots, as well as portraits and weddings.   Contact me by clicking here if you would like to discuss an upcoming event.



Emma-6290 Emma-6268 Emma-6241 Emma-6233

Sitting in my hotel room

Posted on April 9, 2016 by melpettitphotography under Weddings
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Here I am, sitting in my hotel room in Hounslow on the outskirts of London, the night before my first wedding shoot of 2016 and I’m feeling kind of happy.  It has nothing to do with the rather nice pint of  Boddington’s draught I hasten to add.

It’s nothing to do either with the fact that I got here safely, despite my satnav’s mean and nasty trick of getting me to the hotel via the North Circular road.   I knew it was up to something when it told me not to take the A421 to Bedford, and I was more than a little surprised when it totally ignored the M25 junction.  I decided to play its little game and see where it took me, as it has loads of smart technology to guide me around roadworks, earhquakes and plagues of locusts.   Little did I know that it was going to take me on the A406.  The last 18 miles included passing the RAF Museum at Hendon and the mecca of football, Wembley Stadium.  Each mile passed was a target, as were a load of other cars on the road, but I missed them all.

So, why happy then?  Well, I get to have a relaxed evening in my hotel room before the wedding shoot starts at 13:00.  I can have breakfast, walk around the venue, take some test shots and get to meet and chat to the very helpful hotel staff before I get a suit on and start doing the business stuff.  That makes my first shoot of the year so much easier.

All of that is down to the bride and groom.  I’m not going to mention their names to save their embarrassment, but for the first time ever I was told that they were getting me a room at the wedding venue to make it easy for me, so I’ve not had to arrange anything.   Kind and thoughtful brides and grooms, you’ve got to love them.

The trouble with being busy is…..

Posted on August 3, 2015 by melpettitphotography under Portraits
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Portrait Portfolio

There’s just not enough hours in a day or days in  a week.  Being busy is wonderful, far preferable to sitting around and doing nothing.  Sometimes though you can’t be busy doing what you want to do, you have to be busy doing something else, hence the long break since my last post.  I’m trying to rectify that as I have done a tremendous amount of shooting, I just haven’t been able to get it all out there.

Ayla Rose-5828 An early burst of summer back in May found me working with the rather lovely Ayla Rose.  I’m going to be posting a lot more images of her in a few different styles, but in this post I’m looking at some of the portrait shots we got.

We made our way to the Nacton side of the bank of the River Orwell, just outside Ipswich in Suffolk.   The day was nice, we had been blessed with a but of sunshine and some warmth, and it was dry.   We wanted to shoot some portraits first, before we changed to another style.

After a short walk we stumbled across a number of sites that offered something to add to our shots, not least this rather large lump of weathered tree trunk.  Ayla needed no encouragement to use it!

The tide had only recently receded at the time we shot, so the foreshore was muddy and it was very, very soft.   I hadn’t realised that when I asked Ayla to sit Ayla Rose-5853on an old protruding stump. She wasn’t put off in the least and got on with it, though we did have some problems with the mud that clung to her feet and ankles.  In true model style, wet wipes were produced from a cavernous bag and the mud disappeared from our later shots.  Wonderful!

No pictures…..just words.

Posted on November 23, 2014 by melpettitphotography under About

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All my life I’ve tried not to grow up, because that’s the first stage of growing old, and that’s dangerous.   I’ve tried to maintain a mental age, sense of humour and general demeanour of my 18 year old self, but every now and then reality kicks in.

Over the last month or so I’ve taken a hard look at what I’ve done so far in my photographic life and realised that things are going to have to change.  I’ve invested a lot of time and money in kit, training and software, learning how to take a decent photograph and how to edit to give my shots that final polish.   It’s not been easy, I’ve spent far too much time sat behind my PC churning out loads of images for absolutely no return.

I took a reality check to see if the stuff I do is reasonable.   I joined a professional body (more expenditure) and submitted various pictures to get assessed by industry professionals.   Out of 12 submitted to them so far I’ve been told that all bar one are of a good professional standard and the one missed that level only fell short by half a mark.   Eight of them got a bronze award, one a silver.  I’m pleased with that although I always want to do better.   To that end, I’m going to get mentored to help me progress my photography, but that, of course, means more expenditure.  Do you see a theme developing here?

My brain is telling me that I need to start to recoup some of my outlay and I have to accept that as I don’t have bottomless pockets. As from the 1st December I will be charging for my shoots, excepting those that I have already arranged.   My prices are very low in comparison to other photographers shooting locally, but that will change in April of next year.   I’ve updated my website at today to reflect the change.   If you want to take a look at the site please do and you can spread the word if you wish.   Taking the decision to charge wasn’t easy, and I’ve no doubt I may well lose a few friends and face criticism over my photography, but that’s the way it is.  I think I might actually have grown up just a little bit.

Portraits & Redheads

Posted on June 27, 2014 by melpettitphotography under Portraits
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Portrait Portfolio

I may have said this before, but I absolutely adore doing people photography.   There are so many things you can do with the human form but I love a good, honest and simple portrait.   I find a head and shoulders shot drags you into the eyes of your subject, capturing a look that can never be recreated in exactly the same way again.   In one 160th of a second you are taken right into the soul of the person you are photographing.Portrait Rachel-6795

I love this photograph of Rachel.   I was lucky enough to work with her for about a year, and even luckier that she wanted to do a session in the studio with me.  Rachel is not a model, so the whole studio thing was a bit scary for her, but within 10 minutes she was relaxed and we were producing a series of shots.

Soon after we started the black dress went on and with red lipstick complimenting her gorgeous red hair I knew we were ready for some close-up head and shoulders portraits.

The idea was to get some shots with a fairly shallow depth of field, giving a bit of a dreamy look to the shot.   Although taken in the studio we turned the flash off and moved the light in closely, using only the continuous modelling light. Rachel’s position was crucial as I wanted the shadows in just the right place around her nose and I think we achieved that.

The second shot is of Annie Moya.   This was the first time I had worked with Annie, and the only model I have so far booked for a whole day.

I met Annie at the train station in Peterborough and then we set off for the studio.   We got through a number of styles in there, including this portrait, before going to one of the numerous local nature reserves to do some work outside using the ever changing backdrops that are crying out to be used in people shots.

You’ve got to hope that you get on when you’re working with someone for eight hours and you’ve never met them before, but thankfully we were good together and soon settled in to producing a wide variety of images.Portrait Annie Moya 1049B-

In this shot Annie also went for a gorgeous black dress against a grassy background although that can’t be seen in this shot.

Portraits and redheads – what a great combination!

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