Always a Student by Alexandra Gunnoe

So I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog so far this year.  So much has been happening and I wanted to make sure things were in place before I shared the news.

Firstly, I moved from the UK back to the Seattle area in December, where I’m originally from. This city has changed a lot from when I lived here previously and I’m so thrilled to be back, seeing it with fresh eyes.

A huge part of my motivation for moving here was the Communication Leadership graduate program at the University of Washington, which I had been researching for over a year.  And now I’m pleased to say that I have been accepted into the program; the degree I’m pursing is Master of Communications in Digital Media, and I actually just finished up my first quarter last week.  I couldn’t be happier…my studies are engaging and stimulating, and I’ve had the chance to use my photography in new ways.  As for my business, photography will continue to be my livelihood and my passion.  I can already tell my studies are changing the way I approach visual storytelling and it’s incredibly exciting to think about how much I will learn by the time graduation nears.

So what have I been working on?

One of my most recent projects was a little film I put together while working with Pet Partners, a non-profit that provides certification and training for Animal-Assisted TherapyDogs.  I had the privilege of attending several training and therapy sessions and learned a ton about how much these animals add to patients’ lives.  My aim was to show what Animal-Assisted Therapy is, the kind of impact these dogs have, and what it takes to get your pet certified.

If you have a couple minutes please take a peek (and watch in HD)!

Alexandra Gunnoe Photography

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Busy Busy by Alexandra Gunnoe

I know this blog is kind of a cop out and my excuse is that I’m really, really, really busy.  Beyond busy.  I’m suddenly moving to Bristol in the next few weeks and my daughter needs surgery, both related.  So instead of writing detailed accounts of our last two shoots, for now I will just post some of my favorite photos from them.  Both were a lot of fun and I got some images that will really complement our Calendar, which should be ready at the beginning of September. 

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http://alexandragunnoe.com

“Smooth Sailing (30’s Picnic Fashion Shoot)” by Alexandra Gunnoe

Wow, I can’t say enough good things about our last shoot. It was one of those times when everything just came together and things almost felt too easy. I try to prepare myself for one or two things going wrong so when they inevitably do, I don’t freak out. When all goes smoothly I’m a little surprised.

Being our sixth Vintage Bus Shoot, it’s nice to feel like you know what to expect and what you’re doing. I realize that by writing this I now open myself up to all sorts of challenges in the remaining shoots. But when you have a really good one, you should celebrate it, right? And the icing on the cake is that two of the images from this shoot were published on “VOGUE Italia” Online. I wrote a little bit about that in my last post here.

Instead of shooting in Winkleigh, near the hangar where the buses live, we ventured out to Bideford and shot at the home of Dan Shears, Proprietor of the West of England Transportation Collection. He lives in a beautiful house right on the river with breathtaking views from all windows. Not a bad place to spend the day. Thinking it would be nice to change it up from strictly shooting buses, Dan suggested we photograph his beautiful 1927 Austin 12 seater Charabanc. The automobile has no interior, and currently lacks brakes, so it was important to set it up in the right place. In other shoots, I’ve sometimes been finicky about the placement of the buses as the light changed. Luckily Dan had it set up in the perfect place before I arrived.

My fabulous stylist, Kate Sly from Fashion Farmer, picked out beautiful dresses from the 1930’s. Apparently it is a bit difficult to find fashion from the 30’s and we were lucky with the three she was able to find and style. They fit our model, Nicole de’Gabrielle very well, and with her classic features, she slid into the era perfectly. Nicole tells me she is new to modeling, but you’d never know it. She brought a natural grace and elegance to her poses that was easy to work and I’d highly recommend her to any other photographers. Trude Bosence returned for her second Vintage Bus Shoot with us and did an amazing job perfecting the look with fabulous makeup and hair styling. Trude, Kate and I had all worked together before, and Trude and Nicole had previously collaborated, so we knew what to expect from each other.

Kate even brought her dog, Lennon, to participate.  You always hear about the challenges of shooting with animals, but Lennon was so good and did exactly was he was told. Oh yeah, and the weather was perfect. Six shoots in and we’ve not seen rain yet. Too good to be true? Hopefully not. Anyway, here is what we came up with. And if you want to see the two photos published on “VOGUE Italia“, please visit their site here.

To see more images from this project, please visit the Fashion Gallery on my website:

http://alexandragunnoe.com  I’ve recently changed up the design and photos in my portfolio.

CREDITS:

Model: Nicole de’Gabrielle

Stylist: Kate Sly at Fashion Farmer

MUA & Hair Stylist: Trude Bosence

Proprietor of the West of England TransportationCollection: Dan Shears

Photographer: Alexandra Gunnoe

Wardrobe Provided by: Vintage Tramp and Hay Does Vintage

 

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Alexandra Gunnoe Photography

The Vintage Bus Project: 1960’s Fashion Shoot_Day 1, Part 2 (The Outcome) by Alexandra Gunnoe

My last post about this 1960’s- inspired fashion shoot was quite text heavy so for all the dirty details, please revisit it here.
Since you have most of the back story I will let the photos do the talking this time.

Model: MorganDun-Campbell
Stylist: Fashion Farmer (Kate Sly)
Wardrobe Provided by: Vintage Tramp & Hay Does Vintage
MUA: Nicola Redman
Artistic/BUS Coordinator: Dan Shears
Hair Stylist: Trude Bosence Photographer: Alexandra Gunnoe at Alexandra Gunnoe Photography 
http://alexandragunnoe.com

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The Vintage Bus Project: 1960’s Fashion Shoot_Day 1, Part 1 by Alexandra Gunnoe

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Quite unexpectedly I had to make a mad dash from England to Seattle the morning after our 60’s fashion shoot.  I’m relatively new to blogging and I’m not sure how much personal information is appropriate to share.  Until I decide, I will purposely keep this part vague.  As I develop my voice, perhaps I will open up more but for now let’s keep things focused on the shoot. 

This was the first in a series of 11 Vintage Fashion shoots featuring these gorgeous old buses  from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, beautifully restored and provided by Dan Shears at the West of England Transportation Collection.  For more information on “The Vintage Bus Project”, please read my previous post about it here.  And to take a glance at the mood board for the inspiration behind this shoot, please read my post about “Preparing for a Fashion Shoot and the Importance of Mood Boards”. 

I will be expanding on this 60’s inspired shoot next week, once I am back in the UK and working from my desktop computer, uploading the behind-the-scenes footage and editing the photos properly in Lightroom and Photoshop.  So while I hesitate to give away too much right now, in the meantime I can offer this teaser image and a brief description about our experience. 

First off, everyone showed up with smiley, positive attitudes.  And get this… every single person was EARLY (and the good kind of early too… just a few minutes ahead of time, allowing for pleasant introductions and small talk… not the uncomfortable kind of early where you’re still scrambling around like a mad woman while everyone secretly watches you as they pretend to look at their shoes and discuss the weather).  The sun was shining, everyone was getting along well, and we had a brief pre-production meeting discussing the goals of the day.  I could just tell it was going to be a fantastic shoot. 

And indeed it was.   

Dan was a real trooper, shuttling us back and forth from the prep area to the shooting area after every wardrobe / makeup / hair change, and in the very bus we were shooting in.  I’m happy I was able to grab a few seconds of footage from the journey, because it all felt quite funny and surreal.  Not once did Dan complain, and he drove us around the entire day with a laid-back attitude that matched his smile.  I can’t tell you how helpful it is to work with people who are so mellow, yet also manage to have a fantastic work-ethic and a cheeky sense of humour.

If it sounds like I’m gushing, I am.  Again, this is probably the opposite of what a professional should do, and I’m likely violating a rule in some blogging handbook, but whatever.  The infectious attitude of our team helped set the tone for the day and produced a work environment that was conducive to creating the kind of photographic magic I was hoping for. 

We had wide selection of fabulous clothing to choose from, thanks to Kate Sly at Fashion Farmer (pulling vintage clothes and props from Vintage Tramp and Hay Does Vintage).  And they fit our model, Morgan Dun-Campbell perfectly.  Almost every person on the creative team came up to me at some point in the day to mention how perfectly she fit the theme. 

I found Nicola Redman, our stellar makeup artist, about a month ago, and she definitely lived up to the work I had seen on her online portfolio.  She slowly built upon the makeup with each look until the very end when Morgan looked out of this world in the best way possible.  We all had a laugh at how she would have to ride the train home in these very bold Twiggy lashes that were so high fashion and out of place in a country setting.  I’m sure she received quite a bit of attention from curious passengers not used to seeing that kind of beauty riding a train in the middle of the nowhere back from Eggesford to Bristol. 

Then there was the hair situation.   Let me start by saying there was a bit of a hair crisis at the 11th hour and I had a slight moment of panic (which actually means “major moment of panic with a slight side of meltdown”, but in an effort to save face, I’ll downplay it here).  I’m used to living in LA, where if you need a substitute mua or hair stylist at the last minute, ten people are chomping at the bit, all ready to go by the time the figurative ink has dried on your casting call.  I’m sure it’s the same in London, but things are a little different in the country.  There are artists of great quality in the south west, but it takes some resourcefulness, time, luck and lots of digging to find them.  And at that point, time was definitely not on my side. 

My original hair stylist (who seemed incredibly enthused, trust-worthy and together when I booked her) ended up letting me down at the last minute by not responding to my emails and calls.  I won’t go too much into it except to say I am baffled, as she is the one who responded to my casting.  I did not seek her out specifically.  As time went on I saw that she was posting online publicly, and I realised I would just have to swallow my frustration, cut my losses and find someone new.  And fast. 

So what lesson did I learn?  Well, if possible, be sure to work with people you know and trust.  If that is not possible, work with those who have great references and who respond to your emails right away, even if you come off like a neurotic freak who needs constant reassurance they will turn up on time and understand the concept you are going for (hence the importance of mood boards). Though the hair stylist situation was a huge headache, I am actually grateful it happened because I was able to find a more qualified, creative and truly amazing hair stylist, Trude Bosence, at the last minute.  And now I have added another member to the creative team who I definitely plan to work with in the future. So for all the hassle and stress this bit of drama put me through, it was definitely all worth it.

As I said before, I will soon have the finished photos up and ready for you to view.  Thank you all for reading.  I look forward to sharing the final product with you next week.  Stay tuned!

Model and Muse Morgan Dun-Campbell

Styling by Kate Sly at Fashion Farmer

Clothing provided by Vintage Tramp and Hay Does Vintage

Hair Styling by Trude Bosence

Makeup Artistry by Nicola Redman

Photography by Alexandra Gunnoe at Alexandra Gunnoe Photography

alexandragunnoe.com

 

Preparing for a Fashion Shoot (and the Importance of Mood Boards) by Alexandra Gunnoe

Right now I’m in the middle of preparing for 11 separate fashion shoots featuring theses gorgeous vintage buses from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  For more information on this project please read my previous blog “The Vintage Bus Project”.  It’s a lot of juggling, and in an effort to stay organised I’m trying to focus on a few shoots at a time so it doesn’t all catch up with me later.

As of today, I have held castings for models, hair stylists and makeup artists for the first four shoots, and I am lucky to have found an amazing stylist, Kate Sly, of Fashion Farmer who is pulling looks for the entire project.   Most of my recent days have been spent emailing my creative team (soooo many emails), deciding on locations and trying to make sense of everything by creating excel sheets and mood boards.  I haven’t been the most organised person in my past and I’m trying out this system, which seems to be working for me so far.  I feel very, very busy but I’m not overwhelmed, which is a good place to be.

The first shoot will be a 60’s theme and we’ve built the concept around this beautiful 1959 yellow double-decker.  Hopefully you can see from my mood board what I want to get from the shoot.   My mood boards aren’t too fancy or elaborate in execution but they get the point across.  Our model, Morgan, fits the theme perfectly and the wardrobe Kate has pulled is more than amazing.  I now feel confident everyone involved is on the same page.

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Here are two more mood boards for the 2nd and 3rd shoot, which are a 40’s and 50’s theme, respectively.

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And Kate’s efforts deserve their own photos, as I couldn’t be happier with what she has chosen for our first shoot.

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Not long now, we start shooting in a week!

Alexandra Gunnoe at Alexandra Gunnoe Photography

alexandragunnoe.com

My Photography Slideshows by Alexandra Gunnoe

Okay so not too long ago I created a few slidewshows on my Alexandra Gunnoe Photography Youtube and Vimeo channels to show some of my recent collections (Wedding Photography, Fashion, Beauty and Baby)

Please Check them Out!

Fashion & Portrait Session with Brooke” by Alexandra Gunnoe

Wedding Photography” by Alexandra Gunnoe

UK Asian Wedding Photography” by Alexandra Gunnoe

Newborn & Baby Photography” by Alexandra Gunnoe

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Alexandra Gunnoe at Alexandra Gunnoe Photography

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Met a Model on a Bus by Alexandra Gunnoe

I recently wrote a blog about an old, abandoned lookout tower I stumbled upon in 2014.  Apparently it dates back to WWII and I just found it to be so overwhelmingly inspiring.  I wanted to do a fashion photography shoot there ever since first spying it from the road and I finally got my chance.

Around the same time I wrote that blog, I met a girl on a bus who would later become my fashion model inside that building.  She had never modeled before but you would never know it, she was so professional and her instincts were right on.  When I met her I was a Seattle photographer getting lost in the middle of the UK countryside.  I didn’t even have a card on me and was surprised when Brooke gave me a call, as I had hurriedly scribbled my information on a scrap of paper before getting off the bus.

For anyone interested, I used natural light (obviously) plus a soft box on a 430EXII flash.

*To view a slideshow of our session with more photos, please click on this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww7zD4U3VSI

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Alexandra Gunnoe Photography

alexandragunnoe.com

My New Fashion Photography Project by Alexandra Gunnoe

Life has been so inspiring lately, and I can’t wait to tell you about an upcoming project that I’m taking on.  Starting very soon, I’m photographing 10 fashion shoots featuring beautiful vintage vehicles from the West of England Transportation Collection. The owner, Colin Shears, started collecting vintage buses in the 1960’s, and now they have hundreds of beautiful vehicles housed in their country hangar.

I immediately contacted Colin’s son, Dan, the proprietor of the WETC, to see if he would be interested in collaborating.  Surprisingly enough he was very interested and has been extremely generous with his time.  The WETC restores an astonishing number of buses and it’s a real playground for a photographer like me. I took a tour of the facility recently and the ideas were just flowing. As far as our creative team goes, so far I’ve found a stylist and am holding castings for hair, make-up and models.  My budget isn’t huge but I’m making it work.  This isn’t one of those projects that you do for money, but passion, and I am absolutely positive we’re going to come out with some incredible images.  For a Seattle photographer like me, England has really provided some amazing inspiration.  I’m doing some location scouting right now and there are just so many viable options, it’s amazing.  The whole project is an incredible amount of work, but the kind that doesn’t actually feel like work.

I can’t wait to get started and document my experience!  What do you think?

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My Valentines Day Baby by Alexandra Gunnoe

I am not one of those photographers who shoots infants in elaborate sets and all dolled up.  I have no problem with that type of photography; in fact, I follow the work of some photographers who really do it well.  When I shoot my own child, I prefer a more natural feel that captures life in the moment.  That being said, I couldn’t resist staging this photo just a little on my bed.  She was very patient for a baby and it was fun to get into the spirit of Valentines Day just a bit.

Happy Valentines Day from our family to yours!ImageAlexandra Gunnoe at Alexandra Gunnoe Photography

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