Untitled Document


Heather is a great model for any fashion photographer to work with. The first to arrive, the last to leave and when it came to any task off set she just pitched in. Such a blessing for the first head shots of the day.

Head shots

We went for a militaristic dress and a kind of Grace Kelly / Helen of Troy look with the hair and our stylist Sue-Tanya came up with the goods yet again. Since these were to be primarily head shots I wanted the hair to be pinned away from the face so as to create a more regal look and go for poses that made an emphasis of the accessories.

Shadows and lights

I’m a fan of working with an one-light setup and adding more if the look warrants it. A lot of my lighting influences come from the painting masters (Caravaggio, Vermeer and Rembrandt) and a deep love of shadows. Used correctly, shadows create three dimensional head shots. If the back lighting is handled well, the viewer’s mind will be able to paint in the missing details. Shadows can also be very metaphorical in the way they accentuate shape and suggest a sharp or soft outline to the image. This is an obvious carry-over from my photojournalism days; always looking for the shadows. It’s a balancing act but if you’ve got the shadows right, then the lighting you need is there already.


Do the hands. By this I mean ask the MUA (Make-Up Artist) to apply a little of the make up from the face on to the subject’s hands, even if it’s a headshot. So often there’s so much attention often that goes onto the model’s face that people forget about the rest of the body. Too many times I’ve found myself looking through head shots to find a wide colour discrepancy between the model’s face and his/her violently pink, magenta-ish hands. It only takes a minute to do.

In the end

For the first fashion shoot of the the day it went really smoothly. Usually everyone’s finding their feet in the first one but this setup worked out great. At the end Heather, trooper that she is, asked if it would be possible to do another look later in the day if she hung around. I said “Sure”, and that one worked out even better than anybody could have expected. It was the last dress of the day and you can see it here.

Team Credits

Photographer: Mark Esper
Model: Heather
Hair Stylist: Sue-Tanya Grant
Stylist: Upesh ‘Pash’ Mistry
Make-Up Artist (MUA): Monica Mao
Dress: Sarmite Ostanevica
Location: Richmond, London