The “Hive” Shoot

This is my first actual blog, it was also the first time I switched my Canon mkiii’s to video (so bear with me).

Hive Introduction

I was recently commissioned by Brandon Messinger (a hairstylist from Rick Roberts Salon) to produce a series of images that would come to be known as the “Hive”. The shoot was to produce black & white images, dark on dark profile shots.

Brandon and I quickly got to work on which models we wanted to have showcase this creation. Brandon put a shout out to see who wanted to assist him and I contacted a MUA (makeup artist) I collaborate with a lot.

The brief was fairly brief but enough to come to an easy decision of a lighting setup (shown below).


To start this section I must say a big thank you to all involved:

Hair Stylist: Brandon Messinger
Hair Assistants: Ben Brown and Robyn Turnbull
Makeup: Toni Neylon-Walker
Models: Laura Slater, Harriet Donkin and Georgia Hannard

Whilst all the hard work was going on I spent some time filming the goings on (shown at end of this Blog as “behind the scenes”).

What can I say, braiding, cutting, threading, straightening and clipping. Everything was done at lightening speed on multiple models (and this was before we got to makeup).

Makeup was kept fairly natural but with a lot of emphasis on eyes as this shoot was monochrome. Toni did her thing as usual and the overall result looked amazing.

Then it came to my part.


Each shot was taken in the same way against a black matte wall with the model approx 1.5m away from the wall. Key light was a 80cm Beauty Dish and a softbox was added to the left of the model for a little fill light feathered. Two more strobes where added, one hair light placed high with a snoot to the right and a defused strobe placed behind the model at the wall for separation.

A large circular white reflector was placed about waist height to the model for a little bounce fill under chin. Finally a stylist was positioned at the side of the model with a hairdryer to add movement to the shot.

Lighting Diagram - Hive
Hive – Lighting diagram

I think of it as mental chess.

I asked Brandon what inspired the concept.

Brandon: “Honestly nothing. I sit down close my eyes and design, I don’t look into things. If I can draw it, I can make it. It literally takes me an hour to think up a collection. However the name “Hive” came from a bee Hive where all the bees work as a collective to produce something. I think of it as mental chess.”

The Selections

Behind the scenes footage

If you would like to know more about what I use to capture these images, check my Kit List


The Hive Shoot

For further information feel free to contact me.
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