The Shooting of Miss Kelly

1st Oct 2011

I originally saw Kelly Rennie on the website Model Mayhem sometime last year. I was looking for Models with outstanding athletic physiques that I could incorporate into a multitude of outdoor / action based photo's and there she was, staring back at me from my computer screen, a ready- made manna from heaven. I emailed Kelly and within a few hours she got back to me. I hadn't got anything immediate that I could use her for, but we agreed to keep in touch and a few months later an opportunity came along to work together. I'm not going to go into loads of detail here about the shoot, because that's a whole "other blog" but needless to say the day of the shoot turned out to be epic, with sub zero temperatures, snow, rain, wind and wild animals (my unruly dog Buis) dominating the day. What impressed me most about Kelly wasn't her ability to run up slippery snow covered Gritstone slabs while being buffeted by gale force winds, well it was, but apart from that it was her totally positive attitude throughout, I don't think she uttered a negative word all day - as opposed to my own sorrowful outpourings while rolling around on the soaking wet floor trying to attain the optimal angle. Yes, Kelly is definitely one of life's optimists.

  Kelly  2  3 fused 2I really wanted to work with Kelly again, but the work I'd been doing since had been more editorial and didn't involve Models. Fast forward a few months and Kelly emailed me to ask if I could take some photos of her. She needed a very specific style for the American fitness market, essentially a clean, crisp and uncluttered high-key look both with and without exercise equipment.

We both had incredibly hectic schedules over the next month, but for once this actually worked to our advantage and we managed to iron out all the details via email, txt and a few phone calls. Kelly was also in training for a competition so again the delay worked to our advantage as her already incredible physique was going to get even more honed.

Initially I couldn't decide what lighting set-up to go with, but after a few test shots in the studio I finally decided to go with my normal location 3 light portrait set-up - that's 2 x rim lights which are fired through small Chimera softboxes (we were only shooting three-quarter length, for full body shots I use bigger softboxes) with grids (stops me getting flare down the lens) and a front light on a boom fired through either a 3ft Octobox or if I'm wanting something a bit more "edgy" a beauty dish. Because we were shooting against a plain white backdrop, which we wanted to stay white, I also used 2 lights directed straight at the backdrop - See lighting diagram below.

I'd also thought about replacing the softbox / beauty dish with a ring flash because of the lovely highlights it creates in the eyes, I don't use them often but Elinchrom have just brought out a smaller, more compact and much cheaper Ring flash ECO to work in conjunction with their Quadra system (which can also work with their larger Ranger series with an adaptor) and after much effort I managed to track one down courtesy of The Flash Center (London) for the shoot.


The day before the shoot I was out on location close to the studio and so was able to get back late afternoon and set up the lights and shoot off a few test pics of my fairly bemused, sweaty and covered in mud assistant Rob (Kelly's not a patch on you mate!) and make it back home for Six, something I very rarely get to do!

I met Kelly the following morning at the studio and after carrying in the weights, Benches, Large Balls and innumerable changes of clothing we were ready to rock. As predicted Kelly was the consummate professional and new exactly the look she wanted, she'd even brought along some magazines for me to look at, just in case I hadn't quite grasped the concept - visual reference is always a huge help.

I think we shot for about 3 or 4 hours with various changes of clothes, some colour combo's seemed to work and some didn't, some body positions worked better with certain clothes than others, it's always a huge learning curve, if it wasn't it wouldn't be interesting to me - I had thought about shooting tethered so Kelly could see the action unfold as it happened but decided against it and just went with the image on the back of the camera.

The following day I was back in London but had managed to do a quick edit on the most important shots and emailed them to Kelly, who liked what she saw and selected 20 or so images which were later burned to a CD.

We both really enjoyed the shoot and will be working together on some interesting projects over the next few months, watch this space or if you fancy seeing a lot more of Kelly in her various magnificent guises visit her website

Kelly (1) 2) 3) fused