Atomic GPS – Paris Locations

Many photographers don’t share their photo-shoot locations, but I’m really happy to – and after a few trips last year, many people have asked me the best places to shoot on location.  So in my Atomic GPS series, I’m going to share my shoot locations, image by image for you all.



Eiffel Tower



Pont de l’Archevêché – The Lock Bridge



Notre Dame



Pont Neuf



Hotel De Ville



Place De La Concorde



Arc De Triomphe



Eiffel Tower



Louvre Palace

Inspiration – Collaboration

It’s been yonks (literally years) since I creatively collaborated for my portfolio, and although I’m loving shooting stuff for my clients, I’m inspired to play again for just, well me! So let me know if you’d like to play!

Here are some awesome images by other talents that are inspiring me:




Saturday Set Up – Shimmer Me Up

SetUp Polish

I’m a sucker for glowy skin, and this set up is how I get it – working in conjunction with my make up artist (see below).

1. Large Softbox on background – to blow out the background, set this light head to a higher output than your key light.

2. Small Softbox as key light – To get shiny highlights on the cheek bone, jaw, shoulder and nose, place the key light close to the model, at a lower output to the background light to keep that background pure white!  At this point, I usually take a test shot, and ask the make up artist in the team to add more shimmer or highlight to the parts of the model I really want to shine.  It’s super important to collaborate closely with the make up artist even while shooting.

4. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/160, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Saturday Set Up – Bright and Balanced

SetUp Kellie

A common lighting set up for beauty photography – bright and balanced.

1. Large softbox as key light – Placed to one side of our model Kelly, you can see how the large softbox is throwing a soft even light on the left side of the image.

2. Smaller softbox as fill light – Placed at a slightly closer distance on the opposite side of the key light, the smaller soft box balances the light from the larger softbox giving a bright image that really shows off the make up and colours in the image.

3. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/125, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Happy lighting!

Saturday Set Up – Moody

SetUp Gwen

One of the easiest lighting set ups with the most dramatic and moody effects.

1. Large softbox as key light – Placed very close to the side of our model, you can see how the large softbox is throwing a soft even light on one side of her face shoulders and arm, and creates hard deep shadows on the other side.  Deep dark shadows create drama and contrast, and help create an alluring effect.  Note: the closer the light to the model, the sharper the shadows.

2. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/160, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Happy lighting!

Lowest Common Denominator – Atomic Tips

Q:  What makes a great image?
A gorgeous model?  An awesome make up artist?  An uber stylist?  A great photographer/retoucher?
A:  All of the above.  Images are only as good as the lowest common denominator in the creative team – and I really swear by this.
Most of my facebook feed is full of creatives, and I see imagery of varying quality – which is understandable of course.  My early days imagery I wish I could erase now, but it’s there for posterity, and is a mark of the journey I continue to make to improve my work.
But recently I’ve seen people rant about amateur creatives be they photographers or models or makeup artists, and how someone or other let them down…
There are 3 key things I do in order to select creatives for future commissions:
1.  Review their portfolio – online, tear sheets…  Little alarm bells ring in my head if people can only provide links to facebook pictures.  I look for well presented portfolios, and their profiles on industry networking sites.
2.  Meet the person – nothing beats meeting someone face to face to see what motivates them, and stimulates them creatively.  It’s really important to have elements in common, yet I’m also looking to be inspired and learn from colleagues in the industry.
3.  Testing – proof of the pudding is in the eating!  Collaborate on a test shoot to really build relationships and find out if you’re on the same wavelength and gel together creatively.
If you don’t invest time to select the right people to work with, you’re just gambling on quality of results.  I’m not much of gambler…

Saturday Set Up – Sharp Definition

SetUp Lara

This lighting set up achieves sharp light and shade contrasts with a dark background, helping the subject really ‘pop’.

1. Beauty Dish as key light – (Yes I love beauty dishes)!  Placed almost completely to the side of Lara our model, you can see how it’s creating a lovely light on one side of her face, and throwing deliciously deep shadows on the opposite side of her nose and face.  I love these sharp contours that accentuate Lara’s face, and help bring out the depth of shimmer in the make up and jewellery.

2. Small snoot as hair light – since we had jewels in Lara’s hair, a small snoot sitting behind her at a lower output than the key light helped provide a glint in the hair accessories.  Without this light, the accessories looked a little flat.

3. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/125, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Happy lighting!

The ‘CV’ for Creatives

CV?  For a creative?  Isn’t that just my portfolio?  NO.  So many times, I see photographers/MUAs/Models in the industry who think a link to their online portfolio or a business card/zcard is CV enough.


Coming from a corporate background, I know the strength and importance of a CV when it comes to resourcing projects, so why as creatives do we neglect this part of our self promotion?  Above is my bio, or CV of types – it’s not a traditional corporate one – well we are creatives after all!  The structure of the bio can be applied to models, make up artists and designers alike.  Hope it helps you think about your positioning.

Structuring a creative bio:

1.  Blurb about yourself – things like where you are based, and why you are in your particular creative field.

2. Your history – what journey have you taken to get to where you are today – not life stories, but interesting facts and insights into you as a person.

3.  What make you different? – something about your style or unique differentiator that sets you apart from the rest.

4. Your published/client history – credentials are important to potential clients, and seeing which other companies or creatives have put their faith in you gives them the confidence to hire you.

5. Your contact details – well duh.

6. Visuals of your work – we are creatives, so design a bio with visuals of your work that show off your work, your style, and your personality!

Happy promoting!

Saturday Set Up – Clean Beauty

SetUp LalaAnn

This lighting set up is a common one I use for clean beauty shots against a light backdrop.

1. Large Softbox on background – for a pure white background with minimal retouch in post processing, set this light head to a higher output than your key and fill lights.  I like the spill back from this light on Laura Ann’s neck, but to avoid such light spilling back, place the model further forward, closer to the camera and further from this light.

2. Beauty Dish as key light – Beauty dishes seem to be like Marmite in the photography industry, and I’m one of those who love them!  I like the soft even light they give, and in cases where the model has her eyes open, I quite like the round catch lights they create in the eyes.

3. Small Softbox as fill light – I prefer some shadows in beauty imagery, and not totally even, clean, bright (and in my opinion a little boring) light.  So for a fill light, I’ll use a small softbox, further away from the model, and at a lower output than the key light.  Here it helps cast evenness to the main part of her face, but enables depth on the cheeks, and definition to the jawline.

4. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/160, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

More lighting set ups to follow each Saturday for the next few weeks.  Hope that’s useful to a few folks 🙂