Opera singers' photo shoot - behind the scenes

Great fun last weekend creating images with the professional opera singers Cripps and Saunders. Their approach to presenting classical music is to make it approachable and not at all stuffy - opera for everyone; and so the brief was to produce some photos to match. At all costs we had to avoid the 'Hinge and Bracket' look.

Alison Cripps and Jill SaundersAlison Cripps and Jill Saunders

We started with some fairly standard studio shots against a plain background, these could be used for their web site or for publicity material. By using a plain background other background images can be easily inserted, I will show an example of this in a later post.

We then tried some shots in a Victorian dining room but, mindful of the brief, I tried to get some less formal poses. The worst thing a photographer can do is to tell his subject to "Just relax" or perhaps even worse "Smile for the camera". I can't think of anything more likely to create stilted looking images. A photographer must do anything, no mater how ridiculous, to get the subject to forget the camera. In this case I got them to stage a fight with some roses and got some really natural and fun expressions.

Alison Cripps and Jill SaundersAlison Cripps and Jill Saunders

Then, to really push the envelope, I took them to the top of the Malvern Hills. Not a major hike but probably the first time the hills have been climbed in long dresses since Victorian times! This time to get natural expressions I asked them to start singing - a real treat for passing hikers. And the song? What else but "The hills are alive with the Sound of Music"!

Alison Cripps and Jill SaundersAlison Cripps and Jill SaundersOn the Malvern Hills

A really fun shoot due largely to Alison and Jill's willingness to throw themselves into the shoot and try whatever was suggested. For the next shoot with them I have some really whacky ideas to illustrate one of their signature songs - 'The Cat Duet'. I've already been to the local sweet shop for one of the props. 


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