A couple of weeks ago I had a really interesting portrait session with burlesque artist Loretta LeBonke. The session started with a relaxed drink in Home Coffee on Southsea's Albert road along with my partner, Wendy. Even though Wendy had met Loretta before I hadn't so this was a nice way to get to know her and get more of an idea of her expectations for the shoot in a less formal environment than a photography studio.
Drinks drunk, we headed back to the studio so Lorretta could get changed from her street clothes into her full burlesque outfit and put on her make-up whilst my assistant Mike and I set-up the lighting necessary for the shoot. I decided on a very simple light set-up for this shoot – 2 lights and Mike holding a reflector where necessary. I really didn't want anything too complicated as I like to keep things as relaxed and unfussy as possible. Plus the less equipment you use, the less can go wrong!
When Loretta appeared in her full stage costume I was struck by the difference in appearance between the reserved attractive young lady I'd been having coffee with earlier and her larger-than-life stage persona I'd be photographing.
The shoot itself was really fun – I'm sure Loretta was going out of her way to make Mike blush and I captured some great photos. Some of my favourite shots of the day – and Loretta's too – were candid shots between poses. I love these relaxed shots and Lorretta's big personality really shines through in them.
I'm always very mindful of my clients wishes and whilst I was really keen to put the images on-line I wanted to wait until Loretta had had a good chance to view the final shots and give me her approval before I posted them anywhere. Whilst I know all the photos were technically good, only Loretta could tell me if they portrayed the image she wanted. Happily they did and we're both very pleased with the results.
Lorretta will be performing in Portsmouth on the 11th February. See here for more information.