Last year I had the opportunity to shoot a series of portraits with Sheffield Hair salon Volt. The shoot was immense fun to work on and Helen Porter and Jennie Copley, the owners and lead stylists, were so creative and fantastic to work with. I was extremely pleased with the images we created and they were ultimately used by Volt on their new promotional material as well as being featured in magazines such as Kirameki as part of an interview I did with the magazine.
When Volt suggested a vintage bridal shoot earlier this year I was immediately interested and we set about planning on locations and themes and styles etc. They mentioned that we would be using dresses created by local designer Vyn Johns whom, at the time, I didn’t know much about. Needless to say upon further research I found he creates incredible vintage styled gowns and accessories, often up-cycling material and dresses into stunning new creations. Needless to say it was exciting.
Recently joining the Volt team was stylist Danni Ingrosso and together with Volt team member Kevin Jarvis there was already talk of Marcelle waves and 30’s bombshells! The Four of them form a creative whirlwind and it’s truly infectious!
We were to use Make up artist Janeanne Hodgson ,who was involved in the original Volt shoot, and so I knew there was nothing to worry about from a make up point of view. It was all going to be fabulous! We just needed a venue. We wracked our brains to try and find a venue near to the salon and able to shoot on a Sunday. It needed to be glamorous (of course) but also not too modern. After a few phone calls – initiated by volt and Vyn (thanks guys) we settled on using the City Hall and The Leopold Hotel. I went out to scout the City hall and its absolutely beautiful but HUGE. Lot’s of potential places to shoot little scenes but I was worried by the fact we had to try and shoot 4 models in two locations in around 2 hours…. It was just going to be too much.
The Leopold hotel is a beautiful venue around 300 yards from the Volt salon (give or take). Built on the former site of a Grade II listed Boys Grammar School, the Leopold Hotel is Sheffield’s only four star boutique hotel and was recently re developed in the Leopold square district. I went to reccy the venue (after Helen and Louise had scoped it out as guests at a recent wedding they attended) and found it was perfect. Huge windows – an internal window that I planned to light from behind, two huge starcases and even a spiral staircase in the old servants area. This was really off limits to guests but the duty managers seemed to think it would be ok to shoot on. it was perfect and offered everything we needed in one venue!
We were on!
Models had been selected from clients of Volts. The first was Tilly. She is an absolutely stunning model and is so easy to shoot. She was involved in the first Volt shoot and we loved her so much we asked to also be involved as the model when Charlotte created the Instax dress. It’s hard to remember that this model is still a teenager. If she decides to follow modelling as her path in life I have no doubt she will make a great name for herself.
The other models I had never worked with before and consisted of Rhianna, Georgia and Kendra.
I roped Charlotte in to help again (thank you lovely) and we headed out after dropping the kids at their friends arriving at the venue just before 10am..We set up… And… waited..
We knew that Team Volt had been styling their asses off since 8am and so wondered what was going on as we waited for them to arrive? A quick phone call reveled that lunch was being undertaken by the team and models (you have to feed models!) and they would be with us shortly. A quick check of the lights and a much needed coffee and we were there ready to go. One glimpse of the girls showed that this was going to be a shoot to remember. Simply stunning. It was quite obvious that Vyn Johns is a genius and creates gowns to die for.. simple and elegant, retro and vintage in a classic sense. 30’s and 40’s Hollywood! Each model looked absolutely beautiful. The gowns, to me, did not really even scream “wedding dress” they could easily be used as a ball dress or for many other occasions. Only the accessories of vales and fascinators marked them to be of a more formal nature.
The hair created for each model also set off each girls looks perfectly. Styled with intricate detail and showing off the skill of the Volt team. Stylist Jennie had created Tilly’s hair with tumbling honey golden locks that fell around her shoulders whilst Helen styled the most intricate Marcelle wave in to Rhianna’s hair and tinted the brunette with a deep iridescent purple. It could only be seen in certain lights but it looked absolutely gorgeous. Dani cut and styled kendra‘s hair into the sharpest of bobs tinting it with a muted violet colouring. Kevin meanwhile created a spiral curling style with a smokey ash colouring for Georgia. Make up was set to compliment the colourings of both models and gowns with Janeane applying gentle yet dramatic eye shades of pale colours with a hint of metallic.
The key light was set high and to the left of the model. Balanced with the backlight and the reflective textures of the satin this gave a very soft and subtle effect to the shots. Exactly what I was after. Each of the models gave a different presence to the shots – Rhianna, I imagined, was glamorous and sensual, with a bite of aloofness. Like she was an untouchable film star. Kendra meanwhile was a 20s “IT” girl. Bobbed hair, a hint of wildness with her tattoos and ready to drink some champagne and have some fun. Georgia was sultry and smooth straight from the pages of vogue and Tilly was the clean, fresh -faced bride princess. (Well that’s the way I saw it anyway
In this part of the session there was a great moment where one of the film crew (yes we were having the shoot filmed) got into the shot. Charlotte was also in the frame showing a pose to Rhianna. When cropped it gives a whole new story to the shot. I think its one of my favourites of the shoot and really has been a talking point. Is this man in shadow a lover, a friend? a predator…
Whilst the models got ready for the next scene I whipped Rhianna off to the spiral staircase in the back area of the hotel. This place is not usually open to the public but it was SUCH a great spot. Its hard to use as its very narrow and so shooting is pretty impossible without a wide angle lens. There are windows every now and again and it allowed natural light to filter in for the shot as using a flash would be impossible also.
We ended the day with a team shot and I can say this was one of the most creative and enjoyable shoots ever. The team at Volt along with the exquisite talents of Vyn and his team helped shape a fantastic day and some shots that I am really proud of. Thank you to Charlotte, with whom i could not have done without as well as all the models, the Leopold hotel and Janeanne Hodgson for fantastic make up.
Hair and Colouring : Danni, Kevin, Helen & Jennie at Volt Salon Sheffield
Make up : Janeanne Hodgson
Styling and Gowns : Vyn Johns
Location : Leopold Hotel Sheffield www.leopoldhotel.co.uk/