Dade Freeman
Photographer & Trainer
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Dade Freeman's blog page for all the latest photographic news.

Burlesque & Boudoir

The sun may have been shining but there was a wintry chill in the air - in my excitement I barely noticed. After the last themed photoshoot - Jane Austen - I was very keen to be involved in this one and Melissa Love kindly offered to take me on board to coach and guide one of the four groups of photographers through a series of themed sets.

Being experienced in event management, I knew there would be lots of 'little things' that needed to be done before it even started, especially for an event of this size, so I got to The Brighton Ballroom early to help out. After a quick dash to Gresham Blake with Melissa to pick up the suits, Anna Wilmot Bowkis and I jumped behind the bar to start serving tea, coffee and delicious cake to the arriving participants. I was surprised by the number of people who recognised me from other shoots or from Facebook, and there were some who thought I actually worked behind the bar - let's hope that's not a sign of things to come!

Melissa set out the general plan for the day, thenTigz Rice gave a quick masterclass in posing and movement on stage, while Missy worked her magic with body positions and explained how to use the huge feather fans. The ballroom was transformed into a hive of activity as the photographers and models were broken up into small groups, given a quick briefing and then the main part of the day was under way. With our first victims, the male models, we headed down to the seafront for Scene 1.

Missy Fatale
Missy Fatale

The biggest challenge for this shoot was that every setup was lit differently, ranging from harsh outdoor sunlight to ambient indoor light, from a one-light to a three-light studio setup. All the lighting was supplied by The Flash Centre - well, not the sun, obviously! This meant that each scene had to be adjusted accordingly, then just as we had figured it all out, coloured disco lights were thrown into the mix - it certainly kept me on my toes with my camera settings.

The first scene comprised three gentlemen, Ziggy, Will and Andy, down on Brighton's seafront, all in suits from Gresham Blake. The guys looked great and got thoroughly into the spirit, even though it was a little brisk outside. The bright sun played its usual role in making sure that it was even more difficult for the team to ensure their shots were not overlit.

Men about town
Men about town

The second set had a beautiful vintage Rolls Royce, and a loving couple played by Meredith Hepner and Mat Keller. They exuded a 1940's feel, and my processing of the images reflects that.

1940s couple
1940s couple

For the third set, we headed back into the Ballroom for the Boudoir scene. Upstairs there were two setups to use, but it was a small space for so many bodies, and having to be aware of all the reflections in the mirrors made this an interesting shoot. The models did a fantastic job and, although they didn't contain much material, the outfits were simply stunning with great attention to detail. For this set I had the idea of using a keyhole cutout as a prop, and if time and space had permitted it, I think this would have worked wonderfully. As it was, it worked out OK - the concept was sound and is something for me to explore another time.

Through the keyhole
Through the keyhole
Boudoir Photoshoot
Boudoir Photoshoot

For the fourth set, our location was the main stage, and here we got to photograph the beautiful Hannah Webster - she is normally a photographer, but she did an amazing job as a burlesque model. She has the gift of being equally comfortable on either side of the camera, as you can clearly see.

Model Hannah
Model Hannah

For the finalé, we were treated to a glass of bubbly and a private burlesque performance, which encapsulated all the glamour, mystery, titillation and, above all, the skill, of the burlesque dancer. It was wonderful to see the girls performing and really owning the stage.

Missy Fatale
Missy Fatale

Melissa did a fantastic job of organising such a big shoot, co-ordinating all these professionals and creating wonderful opportunities for everyone involved. I can't wait to see what comes next. Whatever that is might have to wait a while as Melissa told me that her web design business (which was already busy), has really taken off after she designed Zach and Jody Gray's website and was mentioned on CreativeLive.

The service providers on this shoot were: The Tea SetProud BallroomShe Said BoutiqueJoanne Fleming Design Gresham Blake TailorsVelvet Lifestyle Store Tigz Rice Burlesque PhotographerThe Flash CentreVintage Wedding CarHey Day Honey Vintage Hair & Makeup

Of course, let's not forget the talented dancers, models, photographers and everyone else who made this event a huge success.

If you like what you see and are interested in booking me for a Boudoir photoshoot please do get in touch.

To see a sample of what you missed, I have put together a short slideshow - click below and, for the best effect, please watch it in fullscreen :)