In Purely, a beautiful little village just outside of Reading, stands an impressive Manor House in its own spectacular grounds, that will be the backdrop to the brand New Angel Couture by Kay Heeley’s A/W 2015 collection. This private and exclusive venue was picked out of hundreds of choices, due to the mixture of period character with a beautiful modern twist. With room upon room filled with enviable furniture, huge sash Windows, and impressive architecture.
My team arrived at 9am sharp to start the shoot, but I, turned up fashionably late due to the car park that is the M25! The team including myself, consisted of Award nominated photographer Sarah Brabbin who’s extensive portfolio of clients and natural creative ability proved the obvious choice for capturing the look for the shoot. Diane Cooke, a very talented makeup artist from London who has worked with many big names in the makeup industry, created the dramatic makeup for the day. And my stunning model Madeline Stammen, a professional ice dancer from Chicago.
The shoot begins at 11am and I’m feeling surprisingly at ease, despite the reality of having to photograph a total of 10 dresses in only 5 hours!! I think my calmness was due to the fact that Sarah had such a good understanding of the rooms, lighting and the concept of each shot, also the fact that Madeline, being a natural performer, taking to the role of dancer/model like a duck to water. Every pose, every expression was just perfect, closely followed by Diane who was always on hand with a mascara wand and lipstick.
Once the poses, lighting and props were all established, I was rushing back to the changing area preparing the next dress and picking out shoes and accessories from a very expensively indulgent mountain of ‘bling!’
After managing an impressive 5 dresses by 2pm, we took a very quick lunch break, where Chicago born Madeline was introduced to some pork pies and a good English cup of tea in a mug bearing the British flag!
The afternoon was a blur of tulle, sequins and satin as dress after dress was photographed. The weather, being one of the best days of the year, providing perfect lighting and shadows for shots I could never have prepared for. One of the highlights being the owner of the estate allowing us the use of his stunning, vintage, and very expensive racing green Morgan for some amazing outside shots. Not making the final cut for the collection pages, purely for the reason, the magnificent car completely overshadowed everything else going on! However we had great fun using it as a prop!!
By the end of the day, heading into the evening, the late afternoon sun provided a fabulous rich, hazy glow, the perfect setting for the last dress which was a sheer black tulle fishtail gown with dramatic gold Spanish style lace edging completed with gold metallic belt and cuffs.
These final shots are still my favourite, one in particular where Madeline is looking through the glass of the front entrance porch. It was the one image I could not get out of my mind days after the shoot, the one image that screamed ‘vogue’…….
Amazing really that Madeline could keep a straight face after she cracked us all up moments before, pulling a ridiculous but still utterly gorgeous expression!!
At 6.30pm ‘That’s a rap!’ Everyone scurried around to pick up every last trace, jewellery and the mountain of cameras and lighting equipment, whilst I bundled all 10 dresses into the car. Just before we depart we manage to squeeze in a last minute group photo to remind ourselves of an amazingly hectic but super productive day!
Driving down the endless tree lined driveway, leaving our beautiful venue behind, I was looking forward to sharing all the images on the brand new website. I promised myself I would keep everything under wraps until the site was launched however curiosity of friends, family and clients, plus my eagerness and my inability to sit on my hands, I released a hand full of images on social media… In which the feedback and anticipation from people was more than I could ever have asked for.
I cannot wait to hear people’s views now the the world can see!