What’s with all those colors?

Sometimes the simplest thing like a walk through the park can bring so many ideas and inspirations. Early in the spring this year, when the woods were still in the shades of grey and brown I came across this amazing patch of trees that completey stood out from the rest of the surroundings. We’ve got to use that for a scene and we’ve got to be quick before it is lost in the wake of spring. The concept practically painted itself: colors, colors, colors!

So how to do such a look? To be honest it took me a while to figure it out. How to get those vivid colors and not spend a fortune for professional make-up products? Well, this time I’ll let you in on my secret.🙂 It’s chalk. You know those sticks children use to paint onto sidewalks? Yup, it’s that simple. Buy some in a local shop, crush it quite thoroughly so you end up with a pile of very fine color dust. And there you go.

I think Stephanie was the perfect model for this. She was up for it immediately, and of course my favorite make-up artist Magda – she took care of the rest. Here’s the result:

Gothic look

Earlier this year I got contacted by a girl who is designer/model/make-up artist. Once I saw the photos of what she had created herself I was really impressed and I agreed to do a photoshoot of one of her creations. I really admire talented people who are so good in so many different fields. To put the dress into a proper scene we headed to the Villers Abbey which I think was the perfect spot for the purpose. It was bitter cold! Minus something (don’t remember anymore). I was completely wraped up but still hardly able to resist the cold and the strong wind. I have to admit she was very brave!
See for yourself:

The last couple of shoots in 2011

The year 2011 has ended on a high note. I managed to squeeze 2 more photo sessions in my schedule just before taking a break during the holiday season.

The first was with this amazing model Laura, talented jewlery and accessories maker Zanne and a great MUA Isabelle:

The second shoot was with an incredibly tallented young model Sanne and another great MUA K Makeup:

United colors of autumn

This year we were really blessed with what they call a long indian summer. Unusually high temperatures, sunny days and a mixture of really beautiful color shades autumn has to offer, all this was just calling for a themed photoshoot.

Magda (the make up artist) and Laura (the model) were immediatelly up for it. Also Cindy (an amazingly talented stylist) joined the team. We did 2 looks. A beauty shoot involving autumn colors, leaves and things you can find in the parks this time of the year. And an outside shoot with Laura wearing this stunning victorian dress made by Cindy.

And here is the outcome:

Finalist Mister Belgium 2012 – Part 2

So the D-Day finally arrived. I was invited to attend the finale of Mister Belgium Personality 2011 in one of the biggest Belgian clubs called “Carré”. Arriving a bit late, the candidates were already walking up and down the runway and the crowd cheering after their favorites. The event was well organised and really lots of fun.

And at the end – the big moment everyone was waiting for: the announcement of the winners. There were several winning categories and the most interesting for me was of course the award for the best photo project.

Alexander was doing really great. By the time the photo projects were anounced he was already holding two other titles.

And then the photo awards. “And the best photo project award goes to: Alexander”. I couldn’t believe it. It was my photo! I was really happy and proud of all of us. Even more so, as I knew I was competing against some very talented photographers whose work I really admire.

All the efforts, emails, phone calls, late night work… In the moment all of that didn’t matter. We won!!!

And the winning photo:

Finalist Mister Belgium 2012 – Part 1

As hinted some days ago, there was a lot going on this past week. I got contacted by Alexander Pauwels who is a finalist for Mister Belgium Personality 2012. Yes, yes – on the national level!
The assignment was to create a photo that would depict a scene from a movie that the candidate finds inspiring and in a way shows their personality.

Alex came up with several keywords like adventure, traveling, courage, passion… and two completely different ideas. After exploring both and discussing our options the decision was made. Yes, let’s do that! Let’s go for this one! From then on things started rolling so fast that I still hardly believe we made it!

Phones, emails, messages… Alex was amazing. He pulled some connections and got us straight into Antwerp Airport. Any clues already about the theme? Not yet? Let me continue.

We got to the Antwerp Airport in the afternoon, went straight to the security office, left our IDs there and got visitors passes for the whole team and for my car. From there through the checkpoints into the heart of the airport. Target: school for pilots. Alex quickly swooped into the pilot’s uniform. I guess by now the theme is pretty obvious, right? Indeed: a civil pilot.🙂 We were escorted into hangars where we were able to shoot various cool scenes with different types of airplanes. The atmosphere was amazing and everybody from the school was so kind and helpful I cannot thank them enough! See the result below.

BTW: Have you noticed I mentioned that we were in Antwerp in the afternoon? Well, we weren’t sleeping through the morning part of the day. There was another location, where we did the first part of the shoot which will have to stay undisclosed until the finale! But I can promise you it’s worth waiting!! I am really excited about it. Stay tuned to find out about the first part in the coming days.

Slovenia – the photographers’ place

I know it’s been a while since my last post and the things I’d like to write about are piling up in my head. And on top of that I really feel bad when looking at the date of my last blog post. But in the last month or so I’ve been just too busy with everything else, so the blog had to wait for a while. Even now I’m stealing minutes from my schedule.

I just came from Slovenia – a really short trip, to visit my family. Every time I go back I realize how beautiful this country is. It’s small. I mean tiny: you can easily get from one end to another and back in a day. And with a landscape so diverse and full of surprises around every corner, you can’t help but fall in love with it.

In the early summer I had a shoot with wonderful Spela. It all came down very quickly. During my short stay we just decided to have a go. There was no time to get a proper MUA or stylist… But Spela was amazing. She took care of everything and did a wonderful job. I am very happy with the results.

Geeks and water splash

I promised to explain what happened with that guy, who posed as a geek and ended up half naked in water.

The guy I am talking about is Dash and we already worked together earlier this year. And no, it was no accident that he ended up in water. Sorry if I disappointed you.😉

Although I strongly support creativity, I believe that this is something that needs to take place in the steps before the shoot. It is the creative process during planning that defines the actual shoot, the story, the scene, the styling, the make-up… Of course there will be still plenty of room for creativity or let’s rather call it improvisation on the spot, as there are hundreds of different factors that may influence the session. However I think that the vision, good planning and preparation is essential.

And this is also how it was with our Geek / Water-splash shoot. We started discussing it with Dash, who btw. came up with the idea, weeks before the actual shoot. So we had to figure out the scene, the location, the styling… Of course Magda was also heavily involved and as always made sure that finally everything looked perfect for the camera. For the geek look that was pretty straightforward. Location: some modern style glass buildings, followed by a book shop. Here I really have to thank the Waterstones bookshop in Brussels that let us use their premises.

Well, the water-splash part took a bit more effort. First: finding a good location near Brussels. We needed a lake, a pond or something, which besides being nice is not private property and at the same time not crowded with people (like most public parks around here are). Not an easy task! Then I’d decided I need to test the concept before the actual shoot. I wanted to make sure that my camera catches the splash of water properly and at the same time the model is nicely exposed. The guinea pig was of course me. We did some tests on one chilly and windy afternoon on a meadow nearby where I live. It turned out that the setup would not be too complicated. For the lighting I used 3 flashes. Two from the sides to freeze the splashing water action and get some details in the water drops. The third one with umbrella was put in front of the model as the main light. It worked perfectly.

Unfortunately on the day of the shoot we had a bit of a bad luck. At the initially planned water location they started charging for the entry and before we managed to move to another location, a storm had started to approach rapidly. I knew we had to act quickly and that there was no time to spare. After more or less 12 shots with splashing water we had to pack our equipment and run to the car because it started to pour with rain. Luckily those 12 shots were just enough to get what we wanted!

And me – testing the water splash. Grrrrr… Cold!

Rock & roll-of-film

Music has always played a special role in my life. It is a resort, or a safe-heaven if you will, from the worries of everyday life. I must confess that my guitars have been heavily neglected in the recent years and they are probably looking jealously from the corner of the room at my camera and lenses which get much, much more attention nowadays.

Nevertheless, headphones are basically like an artificial limb attached to me most of the day. I love to explore the world of music, and I get absolutely thrilled when I come across a great song or an inspiring talent.

Momento is a Slovenian rock band that has been rapidly climbing up on the Slovenian music scene. I love their music, I admire their talent and their endless will to push forward, but probably most of all the energy the guys are radiating either on stage or when you just hang out with them. You can find out more about the band at: www.momento.si

In June they asked me if I could spare some time for a photo session with them as they needed some material for the promotion of their upcoming album called Era. After the usual brainstorming about the concepts, scenes, locations we finally got on the set. I wanted to create a kind of a dramatic feel.

The first location was a passage full of graffiti. Kind of a standard location for a rock band you might say. Indeed. That’s what made me think about what we could do to spice it up. Dramatic lighting. That’s it. Semi-hard light on them and a couple of bare flashes behind on the floor to get a sort of an “aura” effect on the walls of the tunnel. At the same time I wanted the back of the tunnel completely dark, to create this feel of infinite length.

The second location: a train. But putting the guys in a cargo wagon wasn’t enough for me. What if… What if we could get them on top of the train. That could be cool. It would give this ominous feeling of breaking the laws a bit. After checking my theory in practise, it turned out that the location looked just amazing. As the French would say: “On y va!”. The guys were easy to work with and no questions asked they climbed up, even though that was not really the easiest task, since we had no ladders with us.

The afternoon was fun and full of laughter and a job well done just called for a beer at a nearby pub.

Big belly and lots of fun

Shortly after returning to Brussels, I was contacted by Kim, a make-up artist I once worked with. “Dejan, do you have time for a maternity shoot this weekend? It’s kind of urgent. The couple would like to have photos of the belly, but her due date is next week.” I knew I still had about 1500 photos waiting to be reviewed, selected and finalized from the 5 shoots and 1 wedding I’ve done before and during my holidays. But I quickly made up my mind and said: “Sure, why not!”, while at the same time looking at my suitcase still to be unpacked🙂.

Well, it turned out that Sofie and Didier are actually Belgian celebrities, who won a reality show. So cool, ha? They were really easy going and up for every suggestion I’d made. After a short introduction and discussion about their wishes and expectations, we moved to the studio. There was a lot of laughing while Sofie tried to position herself in various poses (which wasn’t made any easier by the size of her belly). The session went really well and they even trusted me with the name of the baby. “But, psssst, it’s a secret. You are the only one who knows this besides us.” said Sofie. I was really honoured!!

The very next day after the session, I got a text message from Kim. Sofie just gave birth to Iano. Everything went well. And I thought – GOOOSH, that was CLOSE!🙂