Shadows, Snakes and Studio Photography

Having a makeup artist friend when you’re a portrait photographer is pretty much a golden ticket. Not only is she talented, she’s gorgeous. So, when I had an idea for a dark, Medusa-inspired photoshoot, who else would I ask to be involved other than my gorgeous makeup artist friend, Katherine, who has three pet snakes? Although I’ll soon be creating a whole new website and blog for my photography work, I just couldn’t wait to share a few of the final photographs from this one.

I built up my ideas for the shoot over a few days and, seeing as this was my vision, she gave me free reign on her hair and makeup. Big hair, tight curls, dark eye makeup, green contouring on the face, neck and collarbones, pointed, long black nails. I knew the lighting setup I wanted, I knew the poses I wanted to capture, I knew the snakes were gunna play a huge role. I was so excited and for good reason too – it turned out to be my favourite ever photoshoots.

Although colour was a massive focus during the shoot, I fell in love with the darkness of black and white. Here’s a few of the final black and white images!

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They say never work with animals… man, those snakes were hard work but they were worth it. I absolutely loved this session with Kat and she’s just as over the moon with the final images as I am.

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What do you think?

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You can read my previous post here.

The Wall Street Crash

My lovely friend Kat, who’s a qualified makeup artist and is studying a degree in the subject, recently asked me if I’d be the model for a 1920’s makeup competition that she was taking part in. Now, if you don’t already know, I’m ridiculously uncomfortable in front of the camera. I can tolerate the odd “Matthew, take a photograph of me in front of this beautiful landmark” type thing, because I know it’s my camera and I could always delete it anyway. Again, when I’m feeling pretty fly (hands up if you just mumbled “for a white guy”), I’ll take a cheeky selfie. But, the idea of putting that power into the hands of a professional, meaning I’d be unable to double check and delete any images that made me look bad, gave me the jitters. She’s my friend, though, and I was absolutely over the moon to help her out. Either way, I got to dress up as a rich 1920’s lady of leisure and that was pretty exciting.

For me, a full face of makeup is made up of my trusty mascara, winged eyeliner, translucent power on my nose and a bit of red lippy. Being put into the hands of a makeup artist, who literally has a suitcase full of makeup with her, was pretty daunting. I was met with primer, foundation, a ridiculous number of different eye shadows, false lashes and lots of other things that I don’t even know the name of. Honestly, it felt weird but I definitely wouldn’t look too out of place during the 1920’s.

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The brief was “Wall Street Crash”. Kat’s plan was to do a full face of 1920’s inspired make-up, before sitting me down alongside lots of other models, as all of the makeup artists performed their special effects magic. I was expecting a pretty tense atmosphere but I actually had a really good time – Kat covered me in fake blood, cuts and bruises, whilst I just sat there and watched the world go by. There was such a range of different looks going on in the competition room. Some makeup artists went for realism, like Kat, and some took it to the other (far) end of the spectrum with stilettos in eyeballs or shards of glass sticking out of the model’s skin.

Kat’s overall look was incredible. It showed how I was trampled during the people’s rush to the banks, hence the huge bruising to one side of my face. It looks bloody painful, right!?

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Ouch…

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Didn’t she do such a good job!? If you want to have a look at her makeup artist Facebook page, you can click here! She posts all of her makeup work – from beauty makeup to special effects – on this page, so it’s definitely worth a like.

What do you think of the final look?

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You can read my previous post here.

My Year in Review #3/3 | Photographs

They say a picture speaks a thousand words… Throughout 2016, I took over 5,000 of them.

Despite how overwhelmingly rubbish this year was, when I look back on all of these beautiful photographs, I can’t help but feel thankful that some good came out of it. I saw some wonderful things, I made a lot of life-long memories and I grew hugely as a person. Yes, a lot of these memories were made as a way to distract myself from the big black dog but that doesn’t make those memories any less important!

So, to recognise all of the good that came from this year, I’m going to focus on those best bits in my final instalment of ‘my year in review’.

Here’s my best bits of 2016, summarised in photographs!

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Happy new year to all of my lovely followers, friends and family. 

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Wedding Bells!

After a whole day of holding up my camera, squatting up and down to reach the children’s eye level and being on my feet (in heels!), I’m a giant bag of exhaustion. Matt’s mum got married yesterday and it was a really beautiful day.

Wedding at The Guildhall, Hull

The couple tied the knot at the local registry office but, wow, what a building. The Guildhall in Hull is spectacular and renowned city-wide for it’s beauty. The room’s high ceilings made it feel massive and the large white pillars made it feel majestic – it was really something. Afterwards, a whole bunch of their family and friends made way to a nice pub for food, drinks and wedding cake (which was delicious).

As well as being a very happy guest, I was asked to photograph the day. It was the first wedding where I had free roam of the wedding ceremony, so being stood up whilst Matthew and family were all formally seated was a bit nerve-wracking. After taking a few snaps though, I got over it. I just wish the shutter on my camera wasn’t so damn loud! This privilege did mean that I was a very busy lady. Dressed in my glad rags and high heels to fulfil the wedding guest side of things, I was up and down the aisle, around the guests, bent over this way and that… my feet are killing, my arms are killing and I’m tired to the core. You wouldn’t believe how exhausting photography can be, especially under pressure, unless you try it for yourself. From the bride’s hair and make-up to the cutting of the cake, it was constant. I’m sure it would have been a lot more enjoyable (the photography side of things, not the wedding) if I wasn’t also considered a guest. I could have worn comfortable shoes and I wouldn’t have had to socialise so intensely between taking photographs. Matt’s family is a proper chatty bunch!

Wedding at The Guildhall, Hull

Overall though, it was such a great day. I stayed up incredibly, naughtily late last night, aiming to get a handful of photographs edited and processed to show the newly weds. I’ll edit the rest tomorrow, when I’ve fully recovered. Today has been just for me. I gave myself a little break: I had a nap, I played a game, I took some photographs for my blog and I ordered a takeaway. If that’s not recovery, then I don’t know what is. Maybe I’ll have a cup of tea, too.

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How beautiful is that bouquet?!

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

DIY Polaroid-Style Photographs

I absolutely love Polaroid pictures (cue, shake it like a Polaroid picture!). They are timeless. Even though instant cameras have been around since the 1940’s, they’re still hugely sought after. They’re bloody expensive though.

I’ve searched high and low for an instant camera that doesn’t cost a bomb to replace film. 10 shots on your fancy new camera just isn’t enough! There’s no way I could fund my obsession at £8.99 per pack of 10 shots. I take thousands of photographs a year and even though I obviously don’t want to print out every single one of those, it would be nice to print more than 10 without having to sell my kidneys for some cash.

So, I thought I’d make my own.

DIY Polaroid Photographs

Using Photoshop, I made a template of a Polaroid style photograph. This is basically a set of cleverly-placed white rectangles, layered accordingly so that I can sit my own photographs in the centre. Using layers means that, whenever I use this template, I can simply drag and drop my photograph from one open project to another. A bit of a re-size is all it will need, as the layers will make sure everything appears cropped.

Tick, done!

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They’re so versatile. I really love them. I love them so much that I just knew I’d want to share a template with you! So, I’ve attached the Photoshop file that includes the Polaroid template.

Download my free template here!

To create your own Polaroid-style photographs, download the attached .zip file and open the extracted .psd file with either Photoshop or Gimp (a free photo editing software that you can download here).

Once you’ve opened it, you’ll find a variety of layers. All you need to worry about is opening your choice of photograph(s) and dragging them into the template file. To do this, open the image in either Photoshop or Gimp and drag it from one open window to another.

More than likely, it will be added as a top layer. This means that you’ll no longer be able to see the Polaroid frame. To fix this, simply locate the layers window (a list of ‘images’ with names such as Polaroid Frame, Outline etc.) and rearrange them. Make sure your image replaces my example photograph! My flower photograph, which is titled “Replace Image” should be beneath your newly added photograph.

Then, all you need to do is print and cut out your photographs! I bought some photo paper from the Poundshop of all places… I’m sure you’ll be able to guess how much it was. It’s great stuff too.

DIY Polaroid PhotographsDIY Polaroid Photographs

 

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What do you think? If you use the template, let me know because I’d love to see what you do with it!

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Day in Photos | North Landing

I used to go to North Landing quite a lot when I was a kid, or that’s how I remember it anyway. Maybe I only went once and my childhood memories are kidding me, maybe I really did go all the time – either way, it’s a lovely place and I was proper chuffed that me, Matt, my mum and my dad ended up there this afternoon.

North Landing is a rocky, pebbly, sandy beach in Flamborough (near Bridlington) with lots of caves to explore when the tides out. Today, the tide was pretty high (cue Blondie’s “The Tide is High” stuck in your head all day) so we didn’t get to explore the caves at all. No worries though, because the views were gorgeous. I absolutely love the cliffs at North Landing – I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re uniquely shaped and bright white, so you can’t really beat that.

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We started the day with a BBQ on the cliff top before heading down a very, very steep cliff edge to the rocky beach below. There was so much going on today. We saw jet-skis, groups of people exploring the caves at high tide, and even a group of teenagers throwing themselves off of cliffs. My mum couldn’t look and – rightly so – she said her kids would be absolutely grounded if she found out they were throwing themselves into the sea. The smaller cliff they were jumping from was about 25ft which was pretty daunting on its own, until we saw a group of them start jumping from the mega cliff at the other side of the bay… I’d say it was easily double the height of the smaller one. Someone even back-flipped off of it. If they were my kids, I’d be freaking out big time. It was insanely dangerous. You could even see the jagged rocks just beneath the surface of those crashing waves. That’s a giant fat nope from me.

😂North Landing Flamborough Photography

After exploring the cliffs and the rocky beaches, we climbed back up to the top and had an ice lolly over-looking the life guard training exercises below us.

North Landing Flamborough Photography

I slept all the way home and, as soon as I walked through my front door, I threw my coat and shoes off and went to bed. I was absolutely knackered. I woke up 3 hours later and, to be honest, it feels like it’s Sunday. That’s good though because at least tomorrow will actually feel like a bonus, extra weekend day!

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What did you do today?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Day in Photos | Sewerby Hall and Cliffs

To celebrate the summer and my little holiday from work, me and Matt have been bus-hopping around Yorkshire, meaning we can get lots of stunning English countryside views, rolling hills, blue skies and wildlife in a relatively short amount of time. On Monday, me and Matt visited Sewerby Hall and Gardens and we had the most perfect day. Although this was our main goal for the day, we also had plans to mooch along the beach and paddle in the sea, because the weather was just unbelievable.

In fact, Sewerby Hall didn’t even end up being the most beautiful thing we saw – when trying to find somewhere along the cliff edge to get down onto the beach below, we stumbled across a little slice of paradise.  I’m still completely overwhelmed that this little gem is in Yorkshire and not on the coast of a Mediterranean island… it absolutely took my breath away.

This was the best part of the day, week, month and year all rolled into one.

Sewerby Bridlington Cliffs Photography

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We began the day by hopping on the bus to Bridlington, where we also visited quite recently. Sewerby Hall is a beautiful Grade I listed Georgian country house, surrounded by 50 acres of colourful, landscaped gardens. It’s a 2 mile walk from the seaside town of Bridlington, so we grabbed the cute little land train that took us right up to it’s entrance. Although it’s a lovely walk, we were planning on walking along the beach on our way back and we didn’t want to overly exhaust our feet!

As you can see, it’s bloody gorgeous and so massive. Obviously they’re not, but all of the windows look like they’re sparkling with gold. We slowly made our way through all of the rooms, taking in the vintage clothing, accessories, décor and it’s history. There was also a few exhibitions going on in some of the rooms, one of which was about Hull-born pilot Amy Johnson!

Sewerby Hall and Gardens Photography

Although the house was beautiful, it’s the gardens that I’d love to see again. There are two main gardens at Sewerby Hall – the Pleasure Gardens and the Walled Gardens. Both are beautiful but the Walled Gardens stood out the most. They were themed! To celebrate Roald Dahl, many of his much loved characters were scattered among the garden in little sculptures, statues or subtle hints. I imagine it’s a great way to get the children who are visiting more interested in walking around the gardens too – it’s like a treasure hunt!

Even without the theme, the gardens are just spectacular. We spent a very long time walking around and we could easily have stayed there much longer, with a book or a drink. It was a little piece of heaven.

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When we finished up in Sewerby Hall, we grabbed a Mr Moo’s ice-cream and head down to the cliff edge. We knew we wanted to walk along the beach with our shoes off, but we didn’t quite know how to get back down… So, we set off back towards the Bridlington sea front until we found a well-hidden staircase. Feeling adventurous, we followed it and ended up… well, here…

Sewerby Bridlington Cliffs Photography

I think we stood, just staring at the view, for about 10 minutes mumbling “wow” and “no way” until we could actually form proper sentences again. It was memorising. The shallow water was sparkling and the white stones were reflecting so much light that it felt completely surreal. The sea was crystal clear, too. You don’t really sea that in Yorkshire… We honestly felt like we were tricking ourselves and we somehow had hopped on a plane abroad without remembering. It was that beautiful.

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I’m still completely in awe. Looking back at my photographs makes my heart swell – it was just so incredible!

Obviously, we took lots of shameless selfies too… On the beach, at Sewerby Hall, against the cliff walls… lots and lots and lots.

We ended the day with a stroll back along the beach, getting our feet al wet and sandy, and then we popped into our favourite seaside pub for a little drink whilst waiting for the bus home.

This is one of my favourite memories. It’s definitely going to stay with me forever… that moment we saw the sparkling, bright blue water was just insane. I fell in love and that’s, for sure, the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.

I can’t wait for us to go back!

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Have you ever found a hidden gem like this?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills