The theme of this photoshoot is “Sensual Romance”. Our aim was to create a series of images that tell a story in photos. Not a story that has a beginning and an end, but a story that “paints a picture”. It is a story as old as mankind – that of two young people falling in love. We wanted to show “yearning and desire” while remaining in “good taste”. Now I suppose the concept of “good taste” is subjective. So how far did we want to go?
“Sensual” not “sexual”
While planning this shoot we took inspiration from commercials on the telly. There are many such adverts on the telly. For example those paid for by chemical factories who are trying to sell smells. Sorry, I mean “perfumes” and “fragrances”. Although I am personally rather cynical about this type of marketing I believe some of the adverts are very well made indeed. They depict sensuality through suggestion but are tame enough to show on the telly.
I wanted to emulate that style. Sensual, but not sexual. Suggestive, but not showing too much.
In my experience most young couples don’t want images quite as suggestive as the ones shown here. Some clients would like to but find they are too inhibited to act like this in the studio. I was lucky in this shoot because both these youngsters are models, and the lady in particular is very experienced in front of a camera.
Models or actors/actresses?
As a general rule if I am commissioned to “tell a story” with my photography I prefer to choose actors rather than models. This is because actors and actresses are usually better at acting than models are. For example on one occasion I worked with a model once who was totally unable to look fierce. She simply couldn’t do it. And that’s fair enough, but in my opinion a casting director should check such things beforehand.
Colour or black and white?
My cameras always capture photos in colour but sometimes I like to transform them into black and white images. I can’t really say why. I used to pull the legs of other photographers who claim that black and white is somehow “better than colour”. I would suggest they preferred black and white images because as a breed photographers lack the visual sensitivity and perception to take in all the extra information in a colour image! That was very cheeky of me and a bit tongue in cheek.
Sometimes I prefer black and white versions of photos, and as I wrote above I don’t know why. Maybe I also lack the sensitivity to take in all the extra information contained in the colour images? Ho ho.
Joking aside, I do find it enlightening to superimpose colour and monochrome versions of the same image one above the other and toggle between them. More often than not I find I react differently to the two versions of the same photo. Almost always my eye is drawn to different areas of the photo. In any case I prefer the black and white versions of these images.
Two speedlights plus a small softbox for the beauty shots. I also used small silver reflector for keylight in some photos, along with carefully positioned gobos to cast shadows (eg across the man’s chest).