Amirah in the Field

Amirah in the field

Oh man, I have been waiting for this shoot for so very long. Not only have I finally shot in the field I have been stalking for forever, I finally got to shoot with Amirah. Many thanks to SueZ who’s been trying to get Amirah and I together for a few years now.

I was a little nervous earlier in the day. I always get nervous when I’m shooting with someone new. On top of that I was shooting deliberately with the light behind Amirah and using a flash to create the front light. I really like the look it gives.

Originally this shoot was supposed to be of a male model, a blue sky with a few white clouds and back when the grass was still green. I found a couple male models but it was hard to pin them down while also getting the weather right.

On hearing my frustration with it all, SueZ insisted I shoot with Amirah, so we set it up a couple of weeks ago. With the way the weather was today I called Suez to say it was starting to look nasty and considered cancelling the shoot, but then thought, “to hell with it”, I had to shoot.

I always pre-visualise my shots. And while photographers are always told that’s a good thing to do, I’m a nutter for it. An incredibly visual person I get a vision in my head and too often am not happy if I know it’s not going to turn out the way I want it to. Take the field for instance. This is what I wanted it to look like (but with real green grass, not the fake I did below):

Faked the green for my blog post

But Mother Nature just wasn’t playing nice. Ever. And today was the last straw. Basically because I’m pretty sure the field is going to be mowed down any day now and will soon be a field of hay bales (another opportunity for another shoot).

The shoot turned out, as these things often do, to be just right. Sure I didn’t want an overcast and cold day, but I think we did a great job. And it’s worth remembering a making photos isn’t just about what the photographer does. It’s most definitely a team effort when a model and assistants are involved.

All shot with a single flash (Canon 580EX II) on a light stand, often held in place by the wonderful SueZ when I couldn’t get the light stand to do exactly what I wanted it to.

These are just quick edits, but I think they’ve worked out well.

Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field
Amirah in the field

Unlike many other shoots I’ve done in the past I have to say this would be one of my most successful when it comes to the number of keepers to the number of throwaways. Amirah was a great model with an amazing outlook on life and having SueZ along made it all the more fun.

I look forward to shooting with Amirah again. I had so much fun and want to publicly thank Amirah and SueZ for an awesome afternoon of shooting.

Behind the scenes:

The genesis of this shoot was the field and a stool. I wanted the stool, I wanted a stool that looked just like the one you pretty much don’t even see in these shots. I scoured Ebay for weeks and then drove all the way to the other side of town to get the one I found.

The shoot was lit by a Canon Speedlite mostly off to the side, varying on the shot, held on a light stand for some. Then held by the awesome SueZ when the light stand wouldn’t give me the angle I wanted. The human light stand is always awesome but I think I need to invest in a C-stand with an arm for future shots.

Lighting was of course helped out by the giant ball of light in the sky, which for this shoot, was greatly diffused by the cloud cover.

Having a bit of fun between shots.
Models who claim they need a lot of direction, often don't. Amirah was awesome.
This is what it looked like on the camera.
Amirah's Goosebumps
Amirah was quite cold at times when the wind came up.
Amirah and the one light.
The one light I used.
My wonderful assistant for the day SueZ
My amazing assistant for the day, SueZ.

What did I learn from today’s shoot?

  • To stop worrying about the pre-visual in my brain. Use it as a launching point and run with the idea, understanding photography is organic and you just have to ride the wave.
  • To get out and shoot, bugger the weather.
  • To love your model, especially when willing to stand in summer clothes, in winter-type weather (but in Summer), who’ll lay down in a scratchy grass field. I do always appreciate my models, the photos wouldn’t be what they are without them.
  • Consider buying a battery pack for my speedlite. Or at the very least better quality batteries so I can get more shots out of a set of batteries.


  1. OMG Suez. Photography is all about the light and for this shoot that was you, and the giant sun thing, but mostly you. Thanks so much for helping out and bringing Amirah and I together.

  2. James, you must be so pleased and proud of this shoot it looks amazing .
    As for the wonderful Sue Z what can I say where would we all be with out her !!!!
    Amirah suited your theme down to a T the lighting perfect I must say, and the tones and comp brilliant for the day great eye for detail.
    WOW! WOW!WOW!Congrats all round for a job well done.

  3. James, these images are absolutely fantastic. well done, we miss you from our group. You are so clever. would be great to get together with some of the old crowd. cheers Ruth

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