Thanks to Aerosmith for the post title! A while ago I photographed a number of dresses for a vintage dress company called Lady Pearls. They have a wonderful collection of dresses from various points in the last 60 years of fashion. Two dresses in particular caught my eye. One orange and pink, the other a “Shocking pink 80’s vintage prom style gown”. Every so often I’d look at them in my photostream on Flickr. Then I made my mind up, I loved them so much I had to get them. Dresses acquired I needed to find models. One of my 100Strangers, Catherine “#55/100 The World Is Her Catwalk” agreed to model the first. The shoot is more demanding, needs extras and a covered street and is therefore still being planned.

My luck was in when my daughter took me to a local shop recently to buy some cards for her friends birthdays, for there I met Abi. I had one of those awkward “I know your face but can’t quite place it” moments, until Abi told me which school she goes to – the same one as my daughter! She’s possibly given us a tour of the school at some point. (Abi’s now in the final year contemplating university life and her future career path).

Abi’s long hair and poise must have got the old grey matter slowly into action. Moments after leaving the shop a thought struck me (more like Tango slapped me!). Abi was possibly an ideal model for the dress. I did a U turn and went back to ask. She gave me a big smile and a yes! I dropped the dress in soon after, leaving it with a colleague. Thankfully it fitted and I got a text from Abi suggesting the 14th as a shoot date as she’d be free in the afternoon. Result! My birthday!

When I’d first photographed the dress it was on a lifeless mannequin. When I met Abi she was in her shop clothes. I had a very pleasant surprise in store at the studio. Abi and the dress were made for each other. With some nice French Connection “Gisella” shoes from Kurt Geiger she looked absolutely stunning!

The more I do fashion photography the more I’m slowing down, paying attention to the detail before clicking the shutter. I’m taking fewer shots but I’m increasingly happier with the results. The 10 minutes spent with the Expodisc measuring the light levels with my differential technique also helped. I’d use one of them over an electronic flash meter any day, using the cameras histogram to see the exposure of each light source.

Abi was very natural despite it being her first ever shoot. She took direction extremely well. Although she doesn’t dance now she’d done ballet in the past and it showed in the way she moved and stood. It made my work so much easier!

When working with people in the studio for the first time I always ask for a friend or family member to come along with them. It helps make the model relax, often gives me an extra pair of hands to help with things and helps the experience be a shared one they can enjoy more. Abi’s mother snapped a few shots on her new iPhone, I’ll have to try and get copies. Snaps taken it was a good excuse to get her on the studio floor and have a shot with her daughter.

Many thanks ladies, it made for a lovely afternoon!