logo
A Post Wedding Shoot with Personality

A Post Wedding Shoot with Personality

The day went perfectly – you exchanged your vows, survived the best man’s speech and danced the night away with your nearest and dearest – congratulations! Now that the formalities are over and your wedding shots are secure, why not take your dress and tux for one last spin for your post wedding shoot?

_MG_6681

Like pre wedding shoots, post wedding shoots are more relaxed than the wedding shoot and an excuse to enjoy yourselves and let your personalities shine through. For some couples, after the pressure of the big day itself, it may come as a relief not to have to pose for an album of grandparent-friendly portraits and instead you can experiment, have fun and express yourself.

_MG_6755

One of the couples that really exemplified this laid-back and fun attitude was Kaycee and Lucia, who chose to take their pre and post wedding shoots in natural surroundings. The use of props including the sunflower bouquet and matching yellow bicycle added interest and humour to the pictures, while the beautiful blue sky and green fields provided a backdrop that gave the entire shoot a fresh, outdoorsy feel. The movement and laughter in these pictures captures the excitement and happiness that the newlyweds were feeling.

After the outdoor shoot, it was back to the love nest for an indoor shoot full of wedding night anticipation. And we’ll leave it there!

_MG_7176

If you are interested in post wedding photography but stuck for inspiration, or unsure whether your idea is possible, Hitz Rao specialises in creative and artistic shoots and would be more than happy to speak to you about your requirements. You can view more of his pre and post wedding shoot photography here.

_MG_7234

 

Should You Have Your Wedding Photos Retouched?

Should You Have Your Wedding Photos Retouched?

Your wedding day is considered by many to be the most important photo shoot of your life, and it is only natural that you want to look your best in your wedding album – after all, these photos are a lasting reminder of a very special day. But this also raises the question of whether or not to have your wedding photos retouched – what is it? Should you do it? How much is too much? Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, and every couple should decide what is right for them, but here are some things to consider.

Gentle retouching or ‘Photoshopping’ can lend a professional appearance to your photos, whether it is altering the white balance to make your dress ‘pop’, erasing a rogue strand of hair or using different lighting effects to create a certain mood. Most professional photographers, including your wedding photographer, will make subtle edits in post production without compromising the integrity of the image, and the results can be stunning. For instance, in the example above, Hitz Rao has used a monochrome effect that gives the image a timeless, classic feel.

However, when post production goes too far you could be left with an image that barely even looks like you – and this is to be avoided at all costs. Your wedding album should show the real you, so avoid photographers that have a track record of digitally ‘perfecting’ their models’ body shapes and faces. The so-called ‘imperfections’ they edit away may be the very things that make you uniquely beautiful. Who wants teeth whitened to the point where they look fluorescent, or skin so airbrushed that it looks flat and lifeless? If you are not sure what over-editing looks like, Google ‘Photoshop fails’ and you will quickly understand why this is to be avoided on your wedding day.

So where is the balance? Let us turn to Verily, the first women’s magazine to feature only ‘no Photoshop’ photographs. The editors made this bold decision in order to present a more realistic image of female beauty that doesn’t deny the existence of such ‘imperfections’ as pores, laughter lines and bodily curves. However, the magazine makes an important distinction: while they never digitally alter a model’s face or body, they still use Photoshop to alter the lighting, resolution and other ‘technical’ aspects of the image that bring it up to print standards. We think that Verily has found a great balance, using post production to bring photos to life without over-editing – and celebrating natural beauty!

For many couples, a similar approach can be applied to your wedding photos. Photoshop is a powerful tool that can be used to enhance your images, or destroy them, so it is important to work with a photographer that has found the balance and whose attitude towards post production lines up with your own.

If you choose, Hitz Rao can expertly retouch your photographs with complete respect for your natural beauty. For fashion photo shoots, he can also use digital techniques to create artistic effects that bring your creative vision to life. Hitz would be happy to chat to you about wedding photography, post production, or to answer any questions you may have.

Creative Engagement Shoots

Creative Engagement Shoots

As I mentioned in the previous post, the sky is the limit when it comes to your engagement shoot, and these couples prove it! Please note, the following photos were found on the internet and were not taken by Hitz. Whether you want to defy convention like these brides and grooms-to-be, or prefer something a little more traditional, these pictures demonstrate the creative possibilities of pre-shoot photography. Enjoy…

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad Engagement Shoot by Ashley Eubanks

Photo by Ashley Eubanks

Walter White’s story had viewers around the world glued to Netflix. The tense moments provided a great opportunity for couples to cling together for comfort, making Breaking Bad ideal date-night viewing! If the TV phenomenon is part of your relationship history, what better way to celebrate that than with a Breaking Bad themed engagement shoot? Simply don your boiler suits and find a secluded spot where you can recreate your favourite scenes from the iconic programme.

Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse Engagement Shoot by Alex Lee

Photo by Alex Lee

If you have ever wondered how you’d fare as a couple in the event of a zombie apocalypse, this is your chance to find out! For the couple with a sense of humour and a penchant for Dawn of the Dead, this makes a creative and comical theme. The shoot begins with the two of you posing as normal until the scene is interrupted by a horde of zombies (i.e. your family and friends in copious amounts of stage makeup). Will your husband or bride-to-be flee in the face of the living undead, or will they stay by your side and fight? Don’t be afraid to be as over-the-top as possible – the crazier, the better. With this type of engagement shoot, it’s all in the story, so it may be worth storyboarding with your photographer beforehand to ensure you get the shots you want.

Bank Robbery

Kim and Alex – Los Angeles Engagement » Amanda Rynda Photography

Photo by Amanda Rynda

Bringing a new meaning to the phrase ‘partner in crime,’ another story-based engagement shoot involves you and your partner staging a bank robbery. Hey – you’ve got to pay for the wedding somehow! Of course, you do not want bystanders to think you are REALLY robbing a bank, so make sure to keep it as theatrical as possible, complete with stripy shirts, eye masks and ‘swag’ sacks. Build into your story a chance to change back into civilian clothes – this couple hid their outfits in a laundrette – so that you can have a few dressy shots too.

School Days

The photograph below (and the one at the very top of the page) were taken by Hitz Rao himself, based around a fun and flirty school days theme! The bride and groom-to-be to be wanted to recreate their pigtail-pulling school days and have a lot of fun in the process. Hitz worked with the couple to choose an authentic setting and use various props, such as ‘geek chic’ glasses, a chalkboard and even a cane to tell their story. See more from this shoot by clicking the photo below.

Hitz Rao - School Days Wedding Photography 1

Over to you – have you seen any unusual engagement shoots like these or do you have any creative ideas of your own? Why not take a look at Hitz’ pre shoot galleries for inspiration?

Where Should You Have Your Engagement Shoot?

Where Should You Have Your Engagement Shoot?

An engagement shoot is a chance for you and your photographer to get to know each other before the big day, allowing them to learn what you like and dislike in a picture, how you behave in front of a camera and how you interact as a couple – all of which will help them to create the perfect wedding shots in a few weeks’ time.

An engagement shoot is often less formal than a wedding shoot, which means you can be as imaginative as you like! There are no rules when it comes to choosing a location, but most couples like to choose somewhere with sentimental value. The important thing is that the location should be somewhere you both feel happy and relaxed, which will shine through in your photos. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

The Scene of Your First Date

Many engaged couples like to go back to the scene of their first date for their engagement shoot, whether this is a favourite restaurant, a cinema or even a pub. As a place with a lot of history for the two of you, the location of your first date almost becomes a ‘character’ in the shoot, so you should try and interact with the scene in your photographs; for example, in a restaurant, you could clink your wine glasses together, recreate the famous scene from Disney’s ‘Lady and the Tramp’ with a plate of spaghetti, or even stage a food fight!

The Scene of Your Engagement

Every time you revisit the scene of your engagement, you will instantly remember that magic moment when he got down on one knee and proposed… so what better place to take your engagement photos? Some couples like to wear the same outfits that they wore on the day of their engagement to recreate the scene as closely as possible.

Your Hometown

If the two of you grew up together, your hometown will have played an important part in your relationship, so why not make a feature of it in your engagement shoot? Nobody knows the streets better than the two of you, so show your photographer your favourite local landmarks, your favourite walks and the best views in town, which will create a stunning backdrop for your pictures.

The Great Outdoors

For nature-loving couples, the great outdoors is the obvious choice for an engagement shoot. While outdoor portrait photography presents certain challenges for the photographer, it also presents unique opportunities: natural lighting, beautiful landscapes and vibrant colours work together to create stunning pictures with a relaxed vibe. A park, botanical garden, beach or even a local meadow are ideal locations for an al fresco engagement shoot.

Conclusion

Wherever you choose to have your engagement shoot, the most important thing is that the location is somewhere you both enjoy spending time and that reflects your personalities. By establishing a rapport with your photographer, you can ensure that you achieve beautiful pictures, not only at your engagement shoot, but at your wedding too.

5 Steps to Building A Great Modelling Portfolio

5 Steps to Building A Great Modelling Portfolio

For aspiring and established models, a great modelling portfolio is essential. Usually a portfolio is the first thing that a modelling agency will want to see when you get in touch with them, before they even consider inviting you into their offices. For that reason, it’s essential that you look your best in the photos that you choose for your portfolio, and have pictures of yourself in a variety of different backgrounds, and from a number of different angles. Below are 5 simple steps to building a great model portfolio:

1.    Do you want to niche?

Today there is demand for a number of different types of modelling, ranging from high fashion to plus size to sports and fitness, and many more. For example, the fitness and nutrition market is enormous, and therefore demand for models in this market has substantially increased in recent years. Clearly the criteria that modelling agencies set out will vary for different types of modelling, therefore you need to ensure that you meet the criteria if you are planning on going into a niche. A great way to find out more about this is to speak to modelling agencies that specialise in recruiting models in that market, as well as models who are already working within that market. If you don’t want to niche, be sure to choose a wide range of photographs that show you in a number of different poses, using different clothing, make up styles and backgrounds to give your portfolio diversity.

2.    Choose a great photographer

This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting to build your portfolio. A good photographer has the expertise and experience to ensure that you look your best and that the images themselves are very high quality. There are many factors that play into a good photo, from lighting to lenses and everything in between. Have a look at the photographer’s past work to make your own mind up, and make sure you are clear about everything such as pricing, timing, and exactly what is involved, before you book. It’s always a good idea to meet the photographer for a consultation prior to the shoot, so that you can tell them what exactly what you want and they can work with you to create the perfect shoot.

3.    Choose a professional makeup artist

You should certainly consider getting a professional makeup artist involved in your shoot when you are planning to use the photos in your modelling portfolio. Although you may initially feel that it’s not necessary, and that you are more than capable of doing your own makeup, it’s important to remember that the job of a makeup artist is to make you look as beautiful as possible, and this is something that they do every day. Additionally, you may only be used to doing your makeup in one particular style, whereas a great makeup artist is versatile and can make you look great whether you are going for a more natural look or a more sophisticated evening look. Experienced photographers will often have a network of makeup artists that they can call upon when required, so it’s certainly worth speaking to your photographer about this.

4.    Less is sometimes more

Particularly if you are just starting to build your portfolio and want to find work in the modelling industry, you don’t need to worry about having dozens of photos in your portfolio. Instead, focus on the quality of the images rather than the quantity. It goes without saying that the model an agency chooses for a particular shoot is very much down to the personal preferences of themselves and their client, and what the model looks like, but as a general rule you give yourself the best chances of being picked when you have a small selection of high-quality images rather than a large selection of lower-quality images. Instead of looking for the cheapest photographer, look for the one who you have the most confidence in – someone with a proven track record of taking great photos and someone who you feel will be easy to work with.

5.    Work with your photographer to choose the best images, then hit print!

As your photographer spends their days taking, editing and viewing the photos that they take, they will usually be able to give you lots of help and input in selecting the very best photos for your portfolio. A good photographer will work with you to ensure that you both agree on the best photos. Although these photos are for your portfolio and the final say is down to you, it’s a great idea to at least ask for your photographer’s input. Once you are ready to print your photos, make sure you go for high quality prints, as even the best photos lose their impact if they are poorly printed.

 

If you’re looking for a great photographer to help you build your modelling portfolio, someone who has over 25 years’ industry experience and is extremely easy to work with, look no further than Hitz Rao.

Tips on Choosing a Photographer

Tips on Choosing a Photographer

Choosing a photographer for your company, event or personal benefit is never an easy decision, and with each photographer carrying different photography specialisms, different photo packages and most importantly different tariffs, the decision is made increasingly tough. With a little prior research however, it can be much easier to choose the right photographer for your needs.

Who do you need to take your photographs?

Photographers are like doctors; some have a specialism whilst others cover many areas. If you’re looking for a photographer for your wedding, look for one with extensive experience in wedding photography. Similarly, if you’re looking for professional work photos, you want to look for a snapper that is good at portraiture. Whatever your needs, choose a photographer whose history lies in the field of imagery that you’re after – you’ll get much better results than asking a wedding photographer to do headshots of the office!

Financial Planning

If you’re commissioning a photographer for an event, consider it a ‘big purchase’; much like a car or conservatory. Photographers don’t work cheap for the most part. Some will charge per the hour purely for their services before the charging separately for the prints, whilst others will offer a fixed-price package that is all-inclusive. Be realistic about your budget, and choose a photographer that offers high quality for a good price.

What do you need from your photo-shoot?

Hitzrao PortfolioAsk yourself this: what do I need from my photographer? Do I just need digital prints? Do I want an album and selection of accompanying prints? Do I need them in different formats suitable for flyers and pamphlets? If you have a specific outcome in mind for your commissioned photography, you need to be sure that your chosen photographer can provide it and for a cost that it suitable for your budget.

Next…Research!

When it comes to buying any product, we tend to spend a lot of time looking for the best product at the best price, and choosing a photographer should be no different. Don’t just commission the first photographer you come across. Be sure to spend some time looking at each photographers website; look at their existing portfolio of work and the testimonials of past clients to gain a feel for their personal style of shooting – each photographer is different. Read about their history and experience to see where their love for photography has come from. You should also consider their location, and if they’re willing to travel. Finally, do they offer a suitable package for your budget? If none of these points fulfil your needs, the photographer is probably not for you.

Meet them before the shoot

If you’re in the midst of choosing a photographer, and still aren’t sure if your shortlist contains any suitable photographers, ask for a consultation with them. During this, you will be able to learn more about their services, their style of shooting, and what to expect on a shoot with them. You could even ask if it would be possible to do a test shoot or, for weddings in particular, arrange an engagement shoot. This is a great opportunity to see if you are comfortable with your potential photographer, and to see what your final photos could look like.

All external service providers offer different benefits from one provider to another, and photographers are no different. A couple of hours research can not only offer oodles of inspiration, but can also ensure that you choose the right photographer from the off. Good luck. 

Using Different Lighting to Create Different Moods

Using Different Lighting to Create Different Moods

There’s much more to photography than meets the eye. Photography is not simply about pressing the shutter button, but about surveying your surroundings for a variety of elements such as the weather, the background and – perhaps most importantly – the lighting. All of these pre-shoot factors help to set the mood of a photograph, a factor that can make or break your shot– particularly if the subject’s expressions are the opposite to the mood evoked. Here is a five-point guide to achieving the correct mood in your photographs.

The ‘Magic Hour’

Silhouette SunriseAlso known as the ‘Golden Hour’, the ‘Magic Hour’ occurs just before and after sunrise or sunset, and can really heighten the emotions in even the most unanimated of subjects. The golden light cast over subjects can help to create a mystifying yet positive atmosphere in your photographs, whilst shooting silhouettes against this backdrop can create beautifully atmospheric snaps.

The Moody Blues

Just after the ‘Magic hour’, the twilight ‘Blue hour’ takes place. During this hour, the sky is cast in a chilling blue that is perfect for shooting cityscapes and other subjects that produce artificial light. If you’re looking to shoot a city whist evoking a sense of calm and tranquillity in your photography, the ‘Blue Hour’ is the ideal time to press that shutter button.

Embracing the Weather

The best way to promote mood in a photograph is to select a backdrop of weather that matches the mood. If you’re planning a positive shoot that oozes contentedness, you need to look out for hazy summer days. Meanwhile wet stormy days can help to heighten the negativity within unhappy subjects. Nothing says sadness like a cloudy threatening sky, just as nothing says I’m feeling positive more than a sun-drenched background.

Utilise the Colour Palette

Much like the weather, you need to ensure that the colour palette in your shoot really matches the emotion that you’re trying to promote. Warm hues – anything from the colour spectrum in the red/orange/yellow region – can lift pictures into positivity, whilst colours from the blue/grey/black spectrum create a sense of sadness, isolation or vulnerability. Don’t attempt to take a wedding photograph with a dark background – it just won’t work.

Stay in Control

Whilst the weather and its colour palette are beyond your control, a photo editor such as Adobe Photoshop can help you to achieve or enhance the mood that you’re trying to advertise. However you should use this with caution, as there’s only a certain level of post-production that you can use without creating that ‘obviously edited’ appearance. Don’t try and airbrush orange onto a bleak photo in a bid to evoke happiness, but do heighten the intensity levels to add drama to a stormy sky. Whenever you choose to edit, KEEP THE ORIGINAL SHOT – you may wish to edit it again in a different way at a later date.

Whilst we now have more post-shoot tools in our arsenal to enhance our photographs, it doesn’t mean that we should forget our basic photographic skills. Put composition first and assess your surroundings before starting the shoot, as the better you do this, the less work you create for yourself after. Good luck creating mood in your photographs!

Graduations

Graduations

It’s that time of year again when our aspiring students from around the world are all gathering at our Leicester’s very own prestigious universities.
Where they have spent the last few years laying the foundation for the rest of their lives, studying hard, making lifelong friendships, a few parties they’ll never forget and of-course gaining qualifications that will place them on their chosen paths.

This for me, is a very special and memorable time in my studio when I get the opportunity to meet students and their families, share their excitement and enjoy that I am part of preserving memories of a milestone in their lives.

So here’s a big thank you and congratulations to each and every student (and not forgetting their family) past, present and future that have and will share their graduation with me and my team at the studio…