French Vineyard Shoot

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It didn’t take long to persuade the Vineyard owner’s 16-year-old daughter to do a photo shoot, when I spent 4 days shooting at the wonderful Chateau Bauduc in Bordeaux.

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I shot everything from wine bottles and grapes, to kids, dogs and machinery! And with all these stunning backgrounds, all I needed was a model – and that’s where Georgie came in – she has such natural, pretty looks and had never had a proper shoot before – perfect!

The light was gorgeous in the early evening, a rich glow of the sun against the strong blue sky, which turned into pure orange as we finished the shoot.

We started the shoot, using an old Citroen van – I had seen it whilst shooting the wine bottles earlier, and thought it would make a great background, as the rusty textures and colours were fab – and of course it’s so very French!

I love the way Georgie’s knees and feet turn in on these shots - I asked her to sit down and turn her toes in, and this was the result, so I left it like that!

I love the way Georgie’s knees and feet turn in on these shots – I asked her to sit down and turn her toes in, and this was the result, so I left it like that!

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As with all my shoots, I have chosen the backgrounds first, so that when I looked at Georgie’s clothes I had an idea of what would work best with each location. The patterns on her blue top, work perfectly with the leaf shadows on the van. I also love the incongruous look of the black socks and boots with the shorts – I just think they look fab!

Top shade is being provided by the tree, which gives the soft flattering light on her face, with occasional speckles of sunlight as the leaves blow in the breeze. The yellow wash on the shot on the right is a Lightroom preset - Colour Creative.

Top shade is being provided by the tree, which gives the soft flattering light on her face, with occasional speckles of sunlight as the leaves blow in the breeze. The yellow wash on the shot on the right is a Lightroom preset – Colour Creative.

Next it’s into a black and white dress which contrasts beautifully with the pale yellow plaster of the wall behind. We’ve kept the long socks, because they look great with the dress, and accentuate how long her legs are, but we’ve switched the boots for some very high shoes.

Centre and Right: Georgie is in exactly the same position in these two shots - I have just altered the camera angle, zoomed in, and asked her to keep her head exactly where it is, but bring her eyes to look at me - those few simple directions result in a very different shot from the first one.

Centre and Right: Georgie is in exactly the same position in these two shots – I have just altered the camera angle, zoomed in, and asked her to keep her head exactly where it is, but bring her eyes to look at me – those few simple directions result in a very different shot from the first one.

The next sequence of shots is actually taken in the same place as the ones above, a few seconds later – only this time I’ve brought her out of the shadow area into the sunlight, and I am lying on the floor shooting up towards the amazing blue sky. I very rarely shoot up at people – because it’s usually more flattering to shoot downwards, their eyes look bigger and it improves most people’s jawlines. But in the case of someone who is young, has great features and looks like a model, it’s fine to do this.

Left and Centre: The blue sky was amazing, and you can even see part of the moon in the centre shot - just pure luck! Right: This shot shows how I have moved her into the sunlight area - the earlier shots were taken in the shaded area, which you can see behind her. These 3 shots are taken on a wider angle lens (24-70) whereas the previous shots are taken on the 70-200 lens.

Left and Centre: The blue sky was amazing, and you can even see part of the moon in the centre shot – just pure luck! Right: This shot shows how I have moved her into the sunlight area – the earlier shots were taken in the shaded area, which you can see behind her. These 3 shots are taken on a wider angle lens (24-70) whereas the previous shots are taken on the 70-200 lens.

Next, we decided to shoot in the rows of vines. Shot from below, they create a very dramatic effect with their height and density. So, on with a sparkly dress, which looked wonderfully out of place with the vines! Sometimes a stark contrast just looks amazing!

Because the vines at the edge of the picture are so close to me, they have gone completely out of focus, creating a very strong emphasis on the centre of the picture.

Because the vines at the edge of the picture are so close to me, they have gone completely out of focus, creating a very strong emphasis on the centre of the picture.

I asked Georgie to stand completely straight on to me to create a feeling of strength in the shot. In the centre shot below, where she is running towards me, you will see that the look is softer, because she is not straight on. None of these shots were thought through before hand – I just made it all up as I got inspired, I tried different things, different positioning and angles, and shot when I felt it looked right.

I definitely preferred her looking sullen on these shots – I didn’t want a “pretty smiley” feel to the pictures – I wanted them to look much more sultry and feel like a fashion shoot.

Standing straight on is not a good look for most people, as it tends to make them appear wider - look at the difference in the running shot, where her hips are not straight on - a much more flattering shape. However when the person looks like a model, they get away with it and straight on shots can look fantastic in a shoot like this.

Standing straight on is not a good look for most people, as it tends to make them appear wider – look at the difference in the running shot, where her hips are not straight on – a much more flattering shape. However when the person looks like a model, they get away with it and straight on shots can look fantastic in a shoot like this.

The vine pictures were supposed to be the end of the shoot; we packed up and were walking back home, when I was stopped in my tracks by this stunning orange sunlight. I had no idea how it would look, but I knew I had to shoot in it and see what happened!

The glow of the orange setting sun is fantastic in the colour shot, and in black and white, the shapes and shadows are enhanced by the intense contrast.

The glow of the orange setting sun is fantastic in the colour shot, and in black and white, the shapes and shadows are enhanced by the intense contrast.

Not many people can take strong sunlight on their face, unless they are young with great skin and good bone structure. It was far too bright for her eyes, however – so I used my technique for no squinting: I asked her to close her eyes, and then said, “When I say… I want you to open your eyes and look straight ahead… now!” You literally have a split second to take the shot before she squints – this light is way too bright for anyone to be able to look at it, but this method works if you prepare for it.

Wow – what a shoot – I just loved it! Beautiful girl, fabulous location, amazing light, and the most gorgeous Rosé I’ve ever tasted! What more could you ask for?

Annabel x


PS – Chateau Bauduc make GORGEOUS wine – and it’s available on line! They bottle it for Gordon Ramsey and Rick Stein too! Check it out here: Chateau Bauduc

http://www.bauduc.com/