Same old Thrones...

It is not every day that I am asked ‘could you shoot something royal in pub in Balham? There will be a throne and model!’ Hell yeah OK!

I had been contacted by Sadie Sinner, whom I have met at Madam Jo Jo’s, to do a shoot as soon as possible for an event she was hosting later in July.

I asked for a few more details and realized I would need to bring my lights again. This would be my second chance to use my lights in anger as they were last used in Brighton for my shoot with Violet Blaze. They performed well then so I was excited to give them another go.

I arrived early at the Bedford in Balham with time to spare. My contact was the manager of the pub called Scott, who was not in work that day. No matter, I talked to the bar staff and as I could show I was knowledgeable about Scott and the throne I was allowed to go up and check out the area.

The pub hosts music and comedy nights and while I ascended the stairs I could hear some folk music coming from the central auditorium. I wasn’t sure of the exact room I would be shooting in so I wandered around a few rooms. Most were music oriented and some were furnished room with additional bar facilities.

I soon met up with Sadie and we scoped out the room. It was long on one side with windows giving lots of light. We moved a throne from an adjoining room and positioned it across from the windows.

The light wasn’t that great so I broke out the lights only to find there was no power. A quick call downstairs fixed that and we were ready. I had placed my lights to the left and right of the throne. This did off a couple of shadows but the theme was a Gothic/punk/royal/ anarchy shoot so I think they fitted.

Mynxie Monroe, the model arrived and we started the shoot. Sadie knew the kind of look she wanted so she was directing Mynxie instead of myself. This meant I could concentrate of shooting with my Canon 50mm f1.8. I had used this with the Violet Blaze shoot so I wanted to try it again today.

Having the aperture wide open at f.18 meant the depth of field was very narrow. I was trying to focus on Mynxie’s closest eye and as she was sitting still in the throne, the only movement that would spoil the shot would have been mine. Therefore I set the camera to multiple frames to hopefully ensure one will be sharp.

Moving on from the throne there was a great royal couch in the other room. We had Mynxie lounge all over it taking numerous shots. I dragged up one of the lights and placed it close to Mynxie and stood directly behind it. The light whited out her face so I decided to use this shot to try and create a vampire effect after.

Towards the end of the shoot I broke out the Sigma 10-20mm and locked off the camera on my tripod. I directed Mynxie to sit on one side of the couch and I took a shot, I then asked her to move to the other side and another shot was taken. Finally a shot was taken with Mynxie sitting in the leather chair next to the couch. These three shots were blended together later in Photoshop to create a final image.

We packed up the equipment and spent the afternoon looking through the shots on my Nexus 7.

The first picture is the original shot along with some lens adjustments from Lightroom.  Although it was supposed to be Gothic setting  I didn't want any distractions in the shot. There were two pieces of paper on the floor and a mark on the wall. I also removed the end of a light fitting above the throne to clean up the image. I removed a number of scratch marks on the painted walls as well which was ironic as I was soon to put some back.

In Lightroom I have some pre-sets which can make a shot look grungy and… well… horrid. The effect worked on everything including Mynxie! That was not going to work so I threw the shot into Photoshop and added a layer mask to allow Mynxie to show through the grunge.

I then added a couple of textures from the SLR Lounge Texture Pack and added them to the image. The first layer was intended to add scratches around the edge of the image and the second was to add blistered paint to the walls. Layer masks took care of the blistering walls. The other texture had a bright center and a dark outer edge, making this layer as Pass Through reversed this effect, adding scratches to the outside. With both the scratches and blister layers made I was able to use these layers on the other photos, accelerating the editing process.

All the requested shots were delivered in two days and this is the final result with the poster elements added.

You can find Mynixies web site at

The Royal Tease is playing at the Fiddlers Elbow on Friday 25th July Click here for the Facebook link.

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