Photographic Profile of 'The Yoga Collective'

I was recently asked by Yoga teacher Mardi Bell, to shoot portraits of the teachers at her Yoga studio 'The Yoga Collective'. The studio is tucked inside a lane behind the main drag of Terrigal beach. The classes are intentionally capped to a small capacity, in order to ensure that the Yoga students receive personal attention and guidance during their practice. The Yoga teachers (myself included) are all passionate about their Yoga practice, and have a warm and friendly manner. The studio has a real community vibe about it,  and welcomes new and more experienced students with open arms. The studio offers a diverse range of classes from Vinyasa Flow, Hatha, Ashtanga and also Yin Yoga & Meditation. For bookings and info check out http://www.theyogacollective.com.au/

To book me in to create a photographic profile of your business,  email me on: ak@akfotography.net 

Mindfulness and the art of shooting portraits

No matter who the subject is, the opening conversation on most portrait shoots goes a little something like this 'just so you know, I don't like having my photo taken" or 'just so you know, I don't know how to smile'. Making people feel 'relaxed' and 'at ease' is a big part of shooting a good portrait, but to be honest, I am not much of a comedian and I don't really have a formula, until recently that is....

Being a Yoga and meditation teacher, I have noticed recently that on some shoots I have intuitively started using some of my 'mindful meditation' techniques to make the subject feel more 'present' and more 'at ease'. The basic dynamic behind 'mindful meditation' is to make people more aware of what they are 'feeling' from one moment to the next. This requires a 'letting go' of any attachment to past, or future outcomes, and allowing your attention to rest on bodily sensations such as the movement of the breath. 

When most people are being photographed they are initially experiencing some level of anxiety as to what the final outcome of the photo will be. Their attention is very much placed on the future outcome. This anxiety is translated into their body and posture, and the tell tale signs are a hardening of the face,  and a tightening of the neck,shoulders and chest. To make the subject feel more relaxed and 'at ease' I ask them to soften parts of their body for eg. softening their temples and brow. I also ask them to soften their neck, shoulders and chest and become more aware of their breathing. As soon as they start to become aware of tactile sensations of hardness/softness in their body and in the energetic layer of the breath, all sorts of magic starts to happen, and then it's up to me to know when to press that shutter. 

That's exactly what happened on this shoot below, where I was credited with helping Guy 'find his smile again'.

For quotes and availability contact Angelo on: ak@akfotography.net

Ludo's Gourmet Kitchen - Food Photography is serious FUN!

Who would have thought photographing a croissant could be so much fun ? first of all, you don't need to make it smile, second it has an easy going, laid back type of personality, and third you get to eat it when you're done. Food photography is not something I would have considered before but now that I've had a taste (excuse the pun) I would LOVE to shoot more! 

Recently I was privileged to shoot a food and documentary brief for 'Ludos Gourmet Kitchen'. Ludo's is a bakery which supplies the majority of the local Central Coast restaurants and cafes with desserts and pastries. It has a reputation for producing the tastiest treats in the land! The place has recently changed management, so they are currently in the process of rebranding and also revamping the shop front. The transformation began with a new logo design and it continued with the promo shoot, where I was briefed to create food images that looked fresh and modern. I was also asked to shoot behind the scenes documentary of the bakers in action, which meant a 5.30am wake up, but that hardly compares to the 1am start time the bakers do on a daily basis....

The creative process behind making Album art

Having worked as a music photographer now for over 10 years, I have been involved in many a project where my images have been used for both promotional use and as Album art. I also teach 'Visual Media & Design skills' at the Australian Institute of Music, where we cover the topic of 'creating a brief and mood board for artist logo and album art design'. In most cases, the promo photo shoot is considered a seperate entity to the album art design. The use of a promo shot for an album cover, is usually an after thought. However, with some careful planning you can get the most out of a promo shoot, by creating images that will be used not only for promo, but also for album cover, poster art, and web. Ultimately, this will ensure a 'continuity of aesthetic' across all the visual promotional materials, which is essential when building brand identity. 

 Below is a step by step breakdown of the creative process behind my shoot with artist Kim Girdlestone. The shoot and design project was in collaboration with one of the music industries best designers/videographers Jefferton James of Jefferton James  Designs

After my first phone conversation with Kim, I set up a drop folder for her to drop image references into for the purpose of setting an 'artistic direction'. I asked her to add images that set the tone for colour palette, styling, location, props, and overall mood. I also asked her to send through mp3s of the tracks, song lyrics and any other info that would help to set the tone. Here is a moodboard of the images below....

Moodboard for kim Gidlestone shoot

Moodboard for kim Gidlestone shoot

I digested the mood board and info Kim sent through, and after a second phone conversation, me and Kim came up with a few words to set the tone for the shoot - 'black and white, sexy, understated, soul, classic, and cool'.  

Like most independent artists Kim is operating on a small budget, so we took this into consideration when planning the shoot. We decided that to get the most value out of the shoot, we would attempt to create images that would be used for both promo, poster art, and album cover. Furthermore, we also decided to shoot on location, as opposed to the studio, to help cut back on expenses. We then decided on a basic shot list that would take in 2-3 set ups in Kim's apartment, and then a final outdoor location where we would have access to the blue mustang on the moodboard!!! Going by the exclamation marks you can say I was already a bit excited!!!! From here Kim went away to source the styling and I went away to have a think about lighting. 

My personal taste with lighting is to create a cinematic feel. 'Tight and bright' images have their place, but I prefer to blend available light with flash to give the images a more documentary, candid feel. Looking at the images, and taking into consideration the catch words, I decided I would take the same approach to lighting for this shoot. 

The shoot day went well, and we created a variety of striking images with different looks. I even got to fulfil one of my dreams, by driving the mustang! A big thanks to Mr Tom Bradley for making my dreams come true.

After the shoot we looked over the shoot and decided to first choose an image to run with for promo and poster art.  Even though the original brief had been to make black and white images, we decided to go with a colour image for 'high impact'. I have a soft spot for black and white, but in the interest of creating an 'eye catching', 'high impact' image for promo, we decided to go with the colour version of the image below. 

This was then handed over to Jefferton James designs to work his design magic. Jefferton first created a logo for Kim and then set about creating the poster art. The finished poster art is below. 

Kim had her heart set on black and white for the album cover, to help create that classic feel. To create 'continuity of aesthetic' we decided to use the promo image, also for the album cover, but of course converted to black and white. Together with the album cover image, we need 2 more images for the back cover and the inlay. We chose the images with a similar mood, and the images that work best as a set. Here are our choices below...

These choices were then passed onto Jefferton, who used his design skills to create a variety of versions of the album cover with different tints, and effects. The final album cover and back cover designs are below...

The last image was used to sit under the cd case, and next door to the credits. See below...

Finally one more promo image was chose to be used in the banner head of her facebook page. Jefferton James are also currently working on creating a wesbite for Kim. See banner image below...

All in all, a very productive shoot, that generated imagery for promo, album art, poster art and web. It's amazing what you can achieve with a bit of careful planning! The end result is a polished looking package with all the necessary visual marketing tools.  Most importantly, the package demonstrates 'consistency of aesthetic' which is essential when building a brand. 

For quotes on Promo shoots contact Angelo on: ak@akfotography.net

For quotes on logo design and album art packages contact Jefferton on: guymorrow@gmail.com

Creating 'eye catching' imagery to promote your business

When your creating logo, branding, promo photography, video content that will be used to promote your business, you should be aiming to 'stand out from the crowd'.  What's the point of spending large sums of money to create something that's mediocre, and will blend in with all your competitors advertising and marketing.  You should always be aiming to create 'visual tools' that are 'eye-catching' and visually alluring. For this shoot,  Yoga teacher Sarah Owen had an idea to be photographed doing Yoga poses with high heels and a pretty dress. Sarah was a little unsure at first, but I said 'Why not? Let's try it out, and see what we come up with. You might be surprised'. If you do a google search for Yoga photos you will find a large number of them are either on the beach, are silhouetted, or are sun-drenched. Heck! some of these 'visual cliches' are even repeated on my Yoga photography page.  

When I shoot I like to shoot a mixture of safety shots, and then I like to go out on a limb and try something more creative or experimental. A lot of the time, these are the images that end up getting noticed on social media, and sometimes even go viral. Not only that, these type of set-ups, that break from the norm, help to make a shoot more enjoyable!