Thursday, May 12, 2016

Shooting with Velvet D'Amour: Take 2


Back in April I went for my second shoot with the incredible Velvet D'Amour from Volup2. My first shoot with Velvet was (and I'm not overstating here) life altering. I wrote all about it at the time so if you haven't read it already do go give it a read now.

Each time Velvet comes to London to shoot she always chooses a different location. This time we were in a rather gorgeous modern flat in Old Street with huge windows and the most incredible light. Velvet shoots everything with natural light, so a lot of it is imperative for her work. She captures light, and uses it to frame her subjects. To reveal them.  

Her shoots are always pleasantly chaotic. A gaggle of women in various stages of undress, super duper makeup artist Rachel Williamson powdering, teasing, sculpting. It's a real body positive space too. A space where all bodies are good bodies, judgement is left at the door, and there is a positivity which boosts your confidence. And confidence is usually up several notches due to Rachel's wonderful skills anyway! I was going to have my hair curly and down, as usual, but Rachel decided to give it some super height to change it up a bit for some of the looks. Well! I am going to have to try and recreate this for myself, because DAMN! The higher the hair the closer to heaven indeed! 

I was a lot more relaxed than on my first shoot. No doubt a year of being in front of the camera for my blog has meant photos are a lot less daunting. And having shot with Velvet before there were no nerves.I relaxed and just went with it. Velvet knows what to do with big, curvy bodies. She knows how to accentuate curves, how to celebrate them. How to use negative space to frame them.

Velvet shoots quickly, so we got through a load of looks. But the most remarkable part of the shoot was what happened at the end. I had come armed with a sheet, with an idea to be draped Grecian style in it. Velvet and I discussed it, and tried it, but for some reason the look just wasn't working. We couldn't get the positioning right, or where to shoot it. Velvet suggested that I might want to do some implied nude shots instead. All I heard was nude. What? Was she crazy? Seriously!? Somehow it just kinda happened. Next minute I was nude, as though it was the most normal thing in the world. And it was incredibly freeing. And I think the pictures are beautiful. I have thought a lot about whether they are something I should be sharing on the internet. But then there is nothing really to see. They are after all implied nude. And when I think back about how far I have come with accepting my own body - that I stripped down and let a photographer capture it - then I think maybe this is something other women need to see too!



Leopard Print Velvet Body Con Dress - Lindy Bop

The first outfit we shot with this fierce Lindy Bop velvet body con. I love the boldness of leopard print, and the luxurious nature of velvet, and together, paired with the harness this just felt really edgy. I think this look was just perfect with my enormous hair!




Green Velvet Maxi Dress - One Off Design (not available)

I have been dying to have professional photographs in this Green Velvet Maxi since I first got it. Green velvet is one of my very favourite things, and with my red hair I am always drawn to anything that makes me look a bit Poison Ivy. This is like Poison Ivy: Luxury Bitch Edition. The second image is a picture I wouldn't have been comfortable with and wouldn't have shown to share a year ago. But now I love the curves. I love the honest representation of my body's shape, and I love how the velvet hugs me. Yup! I pretty much love it all! (Vain!)





Striped Top - Red Herring at Debenhams (long ago!)
Steel Boned Corset in Cream Satin - eBay

I love this look - a bit of a romantic, dreamy one for me. When I first saw the Society Plus tutus at UK Plus Size Fashion Week last year I fell in love. I bought one almost straight away but for some unknown reason this is the first time I really wore it. And I want it to be more a wardrobe staple! I am really pleased with the way this look came together, because it is pretty much exactly what I envisaged. Kind of a dreamy mime. Know what I mean? No? Oh dear. 





For this I chose a bit more of a pinup look. I love this nautically inspired Voodoo Vixen dress, and paired it with a cute captains hat from a Fancy dress store to give it a proper maritime vibe. I wearing a cheap eBay petticoat under the skirt (it does the trick). I've never done a full on pinup shoot (and I'd really love to) but this was an amazing taste of that look. I love it! 



Yellow Floral Dolores Doll Dress - Collectif (similar here)

If you've not realised yet - I am obsessed with Dolores Doll dresses! So I couldn't get through this shoot without putting one on. I love a bit of yellow too, and this is one of my fave ever prints. So pretty! This is a size smaller than I usually wear (it's a 20) which is why my boobs are looking rather fabulous (if I do say so myself). I am often described as sweet, or cute. In photo shoots it's fun to play someone else for a little while. Vamp it up a bit and look a little fierce. But to be honest I think here Velvet may have pictured me as I really am. And I love that. 





And finally... the nudes. As I said, I really did deliberate a lot about whether to share these. I think they're tasteful and beautiful and a very important marker for me on my journey to self acceptance. They may not show anything (not that it would be for you to see anyway!) but they do show me a girl who has come far. A girl who knows that her body is good, and beautiful, and who finally inhabits her body rather than cutting herself off from it. It's a body. It's not the sort of body that gets regularly depicted in the media, the sort of body that is seen as an object of lust, the sort of body that people are meant to aspire to. But it's mine. And I live in it, and that means to be happy at all I need to learn to love it. And I am learning. This proves that. 

So...if you feel like pushing your boundaries, like feeling beautiful, like scaring yourself a little, like seeing yourself differently, then I couldn't recommend Velvet more highly. She regularly does really reasonably priced shoots in the UK (not just in London). So follow the Volup2 Facebook to keep updated. 

Have you had your own photoshoot experience? Done anything out of your comfort zone, or something that's moved your body acceptance journey along in leaps and bounds? I'd love to know below... 

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25 comments

  1. Such beautiful, vibrant and sensual photos. Velvet is an amazing artist, and she had a great subject in you x

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    1. Aww, Ali thanks so much! And yes, she is brilliant!

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  2. Sounds like you had a fabulous day. Looks very glamourous.

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  3. So lovely to have met you that day- so jealous of your voodoo vixen dress!
    Your photos look stunning 😊
    Rachel x

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    1. Get one! The link is up there, and they do it in red now too!

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  4. You have an amazing body and those curves ... Wow!

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  5. You have an amazing body and those curves ... Wow!

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  6. Fantastic photos Hayls. You look uber hot!! Very tasteful nudes too, well done Velvet for capturing such true beauty x

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    1. Thanks Kat, that's so lovely! She's incredibly talented!

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  7. Fantastic photos Hayls. You look uber hot!! Very tasteful nudes too, well done Velvet for capturing such true beauty x

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  8. Stunning a shoot with Velvet is on my bucket list you just look fabulous in every image

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    1. You need to do it Vicky! It's such an incredible experience, and she is brilliant!

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  9. Stunning a shoot with Velvet is on my bucket list you just look fabulous in every image

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  10. Oh I love your nudes - this is simply stunning!!!!! Really hope I can make her next shoots!

    C xx
    CurvyGirlThin.com

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    1. Thanks love - it was kinda terrifying, but I am glad I did it. And now it's on the internet! I must be mad!

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  11. i like the flower dress it is pretty! x

    jess x | https://wellwellgirls.blogspot.tw/

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    1. Thanks lovely. It's from Collectif and is one of my very favourites!

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  12. Absolutely stunning!!!! Especially those nude ones! I WILL shoot with Velvet one day :)

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    1. Thank you angel. And yes - you must! xxx

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  13. Love, love,love. Exquisite beauty, inside and out. Amazing!

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  14. Love, love,love. Exquisite beauty, inside and out. Amazing!

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  15. These are absolutely gorgeous, and I love how raw and real the nudes are. You're such a babe. Plus, I adore your smile in that sailor hat!

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  16. Hayley your choice of Outfits is amazing, Suck a pretty dressing especially for the nerds like me ! Thanks a lot for sharing the ideas you cute babe...

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