Nicola Hughes – Press Shoot

Nicola Hughes

Nicola Hughes, the stunning Andrea Roche model and Miss Irish Sun 2012 makes her second appearance on the blog this time around. It was no accident that Nicola won the Miss Irish Sun title last year. The blonde bombshell is in fantastic shape these days as the pictures show….. thanks of a lot time dedicated to the gym and eating healthy.

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Nicola got in touch to get some new shots for her book and also to get some shots for press. The main goal of this shoot  was to get some high class lingerie shots and also some sexier shots for press. Nicola had a few inspiration images that she wanted to try and recreate, with our own twist of course. The shots that we took looked great, however as times are changing, they were a little too sexy for the press. Since the Irish Sun have stopped doing Page3 ,then are looking for a different kind of shot. There is indeed a fine line between trashy and classy sometimes. But hopefully I manage to stay on the classy side of it. If I don’t feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂

Nicola Hughes --4Nicola styled her self for this shoot. The looks were not that complicated and she had the bits her self. Aimee Connolly was in studio to apply make-up and Edel Jones was in studio to work her magic on Nicola’s Hair. Hair is one thing that I never really mention much on the blog, or specifically extensions. Nicola’s extensions are by Great Lengths Ireland. Hair extensions are not cheap, so one of the ways that the models can get them at highly discounted prices, or even for free is by getting the hair mentioned in press credits and in the media where possible. Fair deal really, you get a product in return you promote the product.

In the image just above, you can see my cyclorama in background. Although it is painted white, is drops off to gray due to a lack of light hitting it. Reduce the light even more and it would appear a darker shade of grey and eventually turn black. For those of you who are not into photography… that can blow some minds. It blew my mind with I first started to learn about lighting. “Why is this appearing grey even though it is painted white“, used to be the question I would ask my self. It was not until I started to experiment with lights and take test shots, that it all started to make sense. If you’re looking to learn more about lighting for photography, one book that you need to check out is “Light, Science and Magic” from Amazon.

Sinead Duffy – Miss Irish Sun 2013

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Sinead Duffy is a relative new kid on the modelling block, but already is making waves. The teacher from Dublin won the prestigious title of Miss Irish Sun for 2013, beating off competition from fellow finalist Kate McGlennon and Sarah Jane Dunne. She now joins the ranks of former Miss Irish Sun girls such as Nicola Hughes, Kate McDaid, Karena Graham, Georgia Salpa etc.  Sinead will now go onto represent the Irish Sun in this years Miss Universe Ireland competition later in the year.

This was my second shoot with Sinead, the first being the Flutterby shoot. That was a busy day and I didn’t get a chance to chat to Sinead properly and go through some of my usual pep talk stuff before a shoot. This shoot though, we had plenty of time to chat and to work on  some looks and posing advice. Comparing these shots with the last shoot and you can notice the difference.

It was a great shoot, the shots turned out great. Sinead is a pleasure to work with and I will be working with her again soon. No doubt she will do great in the Miss Universe Ireland finals later in the year.

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The shoot was for a spread in the Irish Sun and it was her hottest shoot yet. The shoot was styled by the fantastic Laura Mullet. She pulled some fantastic clothes from Harvey Nichols and other shops in Dundrum. For a full rundown on the styling of the shoot, check Laura’s own blog post about it on her site HERE.

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Julie Caulfield was down for the day to provide her fantastic skills with a hair and make-up brush. It was a busy day for my self and Julie as we were shooting for Darcy clothing straight after. Julie also have some of her showgirl pieces from her “Love Jewels” business. Remember you seen them first on Orlagh. Below is a different piece that Sinead modelled.

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Sinead Duffy

Gemma Fowler – Miss University 2013

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Gemma Fowler is the current Miss University ( 2013) and will go on to represent the colleges in this years Miss Universe Ireland competition. Can Gemma become, Miss Universe 2013 … we will have to wait and see. No doubt she will do great though!

I first met Gemma at the DIT Fashion show where she rocked the catwalk. After entering the Miss University competition and winning it, she got signed to Assets Agency She then got in touch to get her portfolio started and to get some tips for the competition. I don’t have any experience really with these competitions, so I am not the right person to be asking for advice. What I told her was to make the most of the experience and to enjoy it. Opportunities like this don’t happy every day and when they do come, all you can do is your best.

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For Gemma’s shoot we shot a wide range of looks on various backgrounds. I have some new colour background papers in the studio now so I am been using them a lot lately to try them out and see what works best. We shot basic headshots, natural looks and went right through to the wet hair, sexier look as show above. Gemma styled her self for this shoot and Aimee Connolly done her make-up and hair.

I will keep you updated on Gemm’a progress in the competition. In the mean time you can follow her on twitter also, @GemmaFowler

Lynn Kelly – Ninjamode

Lynn Kelly, the former Miss Universe Ireland (2008) has been causing a bit of a stir lately with her workout regime. Posting workout photos on her Instagram Feed was getting a Lynn lot of attention, and rightly so as she looks incredible. Lynn trains in No. 17 Personal Training, in Merrion Square, Dublin. Indeed since she started training there, a whole team of her fellow Assets models have started to train there, including Hazel O’Sullivan. If you follow Lynn on twitter, you will get the #ninjamode reference 🙂

Lynn had gotten in touch about a year ago to get some new shots for her portfolio, I was really looking forward to it as back then I was still getting my name out there in the photography scene (still am). To work with high-profile and experienced models like Lynn would have been a great addition to my portfolio. However, between different things happening and scheduling conflicts, we kept putting it off… until recently. I got in touch with her again and the timing worked out great for both of us and we made it happen. We planned out a shoot with the aim of getting it published and took it from there. I called up Aimee Connolly to get her on board for Hair & Make-up, she did an amazing job as always.

When planning out a shoot to get it published, what I have learned so far is that there are two main things to take into consideration…. back story and pictures. The back story is the text of the spread, the hook of the shoot. A spread being a double page spread, usually 3/4 of the space is pictures and text and the other 1/4 is adverts. Timing the shoot to coincide with something interesting in the models life will help with getting a shoot published, i.e. the ICA Boot Camp with Rachel Wallace or Tallafornia with Kelly Donegan. If there is nothing interesting happening with the model at the time and if they are not that well-known, then the chances of getting a spread are reduced… you might get a quarter page out of it. If the models are of a higher profile, then you have a better chance of landing a spread. Of course, it goes without saying that back story alone won’t land you a spread, the pictures are going to be the main part of it.  The main rules of thumb that go for the pictures is that sex sells and give the photo editor choice.

For Lynn’s shoot, we decided to focus on her super hot “ninjamode” body that she has been sculpting with the help of John Belton and Sophie Kavanagh… who are now known as #Team17. Initially we were going to shoot in My Studio but Lynn sent me some shots of the gym and I liked the look of, in particular the outdoor gym section. I liked the outdoor section as it is different to a normal gym shoot. There is a big climbing rope out there too and as soon as I saw it I knew the type of shot I wanted to do with it.

Shooting on Location is always a challenge…. but a fun one. It’s great to get out of the studio and to be able to have shots that are different from your usual studio stuff. For this shoot, I decided to keep it as simple as possible in terms of lighting. All of the shots were lit with a single speedlight in an umbrella. Using speedlights is easier and faster than using my Elinchrom studio lights when on location… and in particular when space is tight. Another reason for using the speedlights is that I wanted to shoot at 1.4 for these shoots and the studio strobes would not stop down enough to obtain correct exposure. Helping me out with the light and gear on the day was Jason Ennis. Jason works for me in my School, Sports and Events Photography Company, DE Photo Ireland, so it was good to have him on board and giving him some experience.

Big shout out to John, Kevin and Sophie for helping us out on the day. They have a great setup, go check it out if you’re looking for a gym in Dublin. Thats if for now on the shoot. It was published in the Irish Daily Star and Irish Daily Mail on November 29th. I will be hopefully shooting with Lynn again in January, in studio this time. Stay tuned for that 🙂

In the mean time, follow Team17 on twitter:


Miss Midnight – Emma Rogers

Meet Emma-Louise Rogers, the winner of the 2012 Miss Midnight competition. Miss Midnight is an annual pageant that is a entry qualifier for the Miss Universe Ireland pageant in October. Emma-Louse won the Miss Midnight title in Dandelion nightclub back in July. I knew Emma before she entered the competition through her Gymnastics work and my DE Photo business. We had been trying to organise a shoot for a while and when Emma won, it gave us that extra little push to get it done.



Technically speaking, this was Emma’s second shoot. We had a shoot ( Emma’s first) shortly before this one. The first shoot was kind of like a practice shoot and was Emma’s first shoot, so she was naturally nervous at the start. The shots that you are seeing here are only from the second shoot as the different between then is like night and day. It really goes to show how much of an effect that confidence has on the end result of a picture. All the nerves were gone on the second shoot and we were getting much better stuff.

We had a basic shoot planned out. We had our inspiration images, we had our clothes, we had Emma doing her own hair & make-up and we had an afternoon to shoot the breeze and get some interesting shots.

We got some cool images from the shoot and its a great start to Emma’s portfolio. We are planning the next shoot already which will be even better again as her confidence is building with each shoot.

Confidence is an interesting thing. Being a gymnast, Emma would have performed amazing physical routines while been watched by 100’s of people. Yet when it comes to being infront of one person and a camera, she was nervous at the start. This all comes down to experience. In the gym, she knew excatly what she was doing…. each routine was memorised and perfected to every beat of the music. Weeks and weeks of practice meant that it was the best it could be. In the studio, it was a new experience, being told to look a certain way, wear certain cloths, look towards a certain light etc. etc.


This is no different to any body who comes to my studio for their first ever shoot. Working with people who may be nervous in front of the camera is all part and parcel of portrait photography. People come to the photographer to make them look good. Looking good however is not just about looking good physically, but feeling good is a big part of it, for me. It is much easier to get some one to project a certain look if you can actually make them feel it. If you can make some one feel like a super star, then chances are you will get some pretty amazing and confident pictures out of them.

It is a huge contrast from working with fashion models or for a client. In this case, a model is being brought in to do a job and they should know how to get the looks that are asked of them, without a photographer having to draw it out. A good model will light up the studio with confidence, fun, flair, energy…. things that makes them stand out from regular people. That is that they are used to advertise products and to make people want them and why they get paid so well. Obviously physical looks plays a part and is a requirement for certain types of job… but the personality has to back up the looks.

To book your shoot and to experience what a photoshoot is like, drop me a line