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Salt Water Sirens: Shorelines

They say that as a photographer you should never shoot at midday. The sun is at it's harshest, brightest and directly over head creating strong shadows and often unfavourable or unflattering light. As a rule, it's one that many photographers stand by and chose to avoid this time of day at all costs. But can you actually shoot at midday? Can it be mastered?

Well to find out I embarked on a mission to see what I could achieve at this time of day with the help of my next Salt Water Siren, Maddie Wileman. Meeting on a beach in St Ives we set about creating the next entry in my series...Shorelines.

Photoshoot Info:

Models: Maddie Wileman

Location: St Ives, Cornwall

Photographer: Andrew James

Camera: Nikon D7100 with a Sigma Art 35mm f1.4

Inspiration: Pinterest Board


This shoot would embrace the surf lifestyle that is at the heart of Cornish living. In the mythology a siren is depicted as being a women who calls out to the ocean to pull the things she wants towards her. However it is often the oceans call that draws people to the coast and its the sea itself that is the inspiration for hobbies, fashion and art. This could not be truer of Maddie.

She is a student at Falmouth University studying textiles and art but she was born and bred in St Ive's and is so strongly pulled back to it that she told me she misses it every day. So with that in mind I wanted to represent her hobby of surfing so her boyfriend helped her bring her new surf board down to the beach so we could use it as a prop. Then he propped himself on a rock and fell asleep as we took pictures on the shoreline.

In terms of clothing Maddie brought several outfits down with her, many had been handmade during her studies and had been designed with the ocean and the sea in mind. Bohemian style dresses and a functional dungaree set made up the simple and relaxed ensemble with her hair naturally flowing over her shoulders. The bright sunshine did present a problem at times and the old advice of don't shoot at midday did start to become apparent. The harsh sunlight can lead your model to squint if the light is in their face, but if you back light them, it's very bright in the view finder. However after several angles we begun to find a few nice spots on the shore where there were no tourists soaking up the sunshine and worked for the daylight.

This was a very simple shoot but I loved everything about it. The natural styling, surfer vibe was spot on. Maddie's relaxed personality made her a dream to work with and she embodies everything that this shoot was all about. A sirens call works both ways, to lead and be led by the oceans around us.


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