A Collaboration

‘Let’s work together again soon!’

When I took stills for Screen Northants during the filming of ‘Fortune Cookies’ – which I should tell you about someday – I met Vicky Stuart who was one of the Hair & Make Up Artists (HMUA). Since then, we have worked together a number of times in her capacity as a model and as HMUA and every time we finish a project one of us will always say ‘Let’s work together again soon!’

Vicky is currently studying for a B.A. Hons in Hair, Makeup & Prosthetics for Stage and Screen at University of Northampton and during a conversation we came up with an idea for a collaboration where HMUA & photography students might work with fellow students from the acting course being the models. The actors would receive free headshots, the photography students would have use of my lighting while the HMUAs would prepare the models and maintain the hair and makeup between costume changes. 

We decided that, it would make sense to keep this low-key – small and manageable – and, if participants found it enjoyable and useful, we could consider arranging another collaboration in the future.

Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, two of the participants (one HMUA and one photographer) had to pull out after the morning preparations at the University of Northampton before joining me at the Delapre Community Rooms.

When meeting the students for the first time, it was important to me that they felt relaxed and realised that – while they were all university students – this was a collaboration between individuals with different skills with each having an opportunity to practice those skills as well as having something tangible to use in their portfolio.

I am pictured here talking with Otis from the media course who, as well as being a photographer, helped Vicky co-ordinate participants and arranged access to a studio in the university where hair & makeup could be undertaken ahead of the afternoon photoshoot – many thanks to the University of Northampton.

Because the students were familiar with each other, there was an easy and immediate rapport between them and, as I took pictures, I found myself in conversations ranging from motorcycles, the perils of making tea for others and then to Funkadelic: the ice was broken as we found some common ground as we began to relax more.

A Collaboration

While the HMUAs worked on two of the actors, Owain and Sophie were immediately ready to sit for some portraits to be taken by myself and Otis from the Media course.


At this point, I want to acknowledge the fantastic work done by the HMUAs Esme, Ojas and Vicky. Ojas and Vicky worked all through the afternoon making sure that everyone was ready to move in front of the camera – Thank You!

collaboration 3

Once Lauren’s makeup had been completed, she took her place in front of the cameras (as can be seen from the ‘behind the scenes’ photograph.

….and then things went a little ‘off script’….



The idea was that Lauren and Owain would pose for some informal ‘couple’ shots – simple enough, I thought.

Of course, some prefer the more traditional ‘couples’ photos but I always think that the informal sessions tend to be a lot more fun and generally show the sitters’ personality far more.

The thing is, I was working with actors!


They were relaxed and comfortable and their dramatic instincts took over; on the spur of the moment, the ‘couple’ then proceeded to have a ‘quarrel’ at the photography studio which as an absolute delight to watch the young actors as well as capturing some fantastic, fun images.



The afternoon concluded with Justyna coming in front of the camera.

Justyna has a particular requirement for some more formal portraits which I was glad to take during the afternoon. As can be seen, there were a couple of changes of costume and a change to Justyna’s make-up which was perfectly managed by Ojas and Vicky.

While not pictured here, there were full-length shots showing Justyna’s evening dress and (not for the first time during the afternoon) I was assisted by Otis in the set-up of backdrops.

The afternoon finished with actors catching their cabs and lighting & backdrops being packed away. By the next day, my photographs had been edited and digital copies delivered then – on the WhatsApp group chat which had been created for the session: “‘Let’s work together again soon!’”

#headshots #portrait #portraits #informalportrait #formalportrait #couple #event #publicity #collaboration #workingrelationship #community #students

A Collaboration
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