Personal work: building a fashion portfolio by Ellie Gillard
Words and images by Eleanor Gillard
I have been interested in fashion, and fashion photography for as long as I can remember. I actually studied Fashion at University and worked in the industry for 6 years before becoming a full time wedding photographer.
Maybe in another life fashion photography is a path I might have liked to have taken, but anyway... In the spirit of remaining curious i decided that 2016 would be the year I'd get to grips with how to use Studio lighting confidently and maybe take some tentative steps into building a portfolio away from weddings, with the view that maybe at some point I might like to scale back the number of weddings I do, and introduce other types of work and keep everything a little more balanced.
Back in May I did a further course with 2016 Snap speaker Rosella Vanon, who is a working fashion photographer (and very lovely) which got me to the stage of feeling like I knew my way round the lights and the various modifiers that helped to shape the light. A few months ago I bought a set of Bowens lights, a beauty dish, a medium size Octabox and set about creating a home studio in one of our spare rooms.
Living in a (still) new City I didn't have a huge pool of people I could ask to model, or to do makeup (though I am getting to know more people now) so I Instagram stalked and reached out to both the girls who have modelled for me that way. I pulled together moodboards for styling, makeup and to show the models the general feel of the shoot to help them pose and started about creating my first couple of test shoots that will hopefully become a bit of a foundation for me to keep portfolio building throughout 2017.
The other thing that has been fab about doing this, is that it's really allowed me to indulge my interest in fashion, to get back to putting together looks, styling up outfits and building colour palettes, but I think it's also allowed me to absorb other influences for my wedding photography - use of colour, props, and even posing ideas all have the potential to seep over into that work, and knowing how to use the studio strobes is going to be really helpful for my winter weddings, and I'm planning to use these lights to help light group shots at my next wedding, and may throw them into the back of the car 'just in case' if the weather looks awful.
I kind of love that it's a different discipline, that you are able to design and create the light rather than working with it, but I'd love to continue to develop a voice and visual identity in this area, and to look at hiring studio space so I can create more fashion stories rather than fashion inspired portraits. There's also a whole world of high end retouching to try and learn - I already have a love hate relationship with that. That, as well as learning to cull a whole days worth of shooting into just a few images, is going to be one of the challenges on the road ahead!
What I do know is that I've loved creating some work just for me, and if there so happens to be anyone reading this who wants to collaborate in 2017, I'd love to hear from you.
@eleanorgillard_photographer / @elliegillardphotography (insta)
1st shoot (B&W)
Model: Alisha Whitworth
Makeup artist: Melissa Abel http://melissaabel.co.uk
2nd shoot (pink)
Model: Florence Jones
Makeup artist: Hannah Causton https://www.instagram.com/hannahc.mua/