A sad farewell to Chic……

Posted on November 30, 2018 by Admin under About
Leave a comment

Since going full-time with my photography a number of issues have slapped me in the face, not least that I’m running too many websites to show my work.  I am principally a photographer and I need to spend more time on that aspect and less on all of the support work that it produces.   A new website for my wedding work has driven the need to change, and for that change to take place now.

A major problem I have is that I do a wide range of people based photography, from weddings through to art nude work, and those styles have to be separated.   With a bit of reorganisation I can reduce my websites from three to two.   My main work and its associated blog sits on Mel Pettit Wedding Photography, and shows my wedding, portrait, family and non-nude fashion and lifestyle work.   I love the blog page on there, it is fully integrated, looks pretty and it is so much easier to read on mobile devices.

The rest of my work will move to my Sensual Edge site.   That contains any work with nudity, so some fashion/fashion nude, glamour and art nude.   It is in the process of being updated to accommodate the changes, but it will be finished soon.

Sadly for me, that means that Chic Fashion & Boudoir in its current form will cease to exist.   It has been fun, but all things change.   I hope you will still follow me on my new website and blog, and thanks for taking a look.

Qualifications?……. Yes

Posted on May 20, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized
Leave a comment

Why qualifications now?

This might be a lengthy blog about qualifications, but there’s a bit of background to go through.

I don’t need pieces of paper or qualifications.

I’ve never been big on qualifications before.   I dropped out at school around 14, when I found it was much easier to make people laugh than study.  That may have had something to do with the education system in place at the time, but only partly.   I loved going to school, but it was really all about socialising for me, the learning was definitely secondary.    Consequently I left school with just one ‘O’ level, in English, and that was due to the respect I had for my teacher at the time.  I made the effort, or as much as I thought was needed, and got a C.  I was content with that, but my teacher wasn’t.  She made it very clear that she thought I could and should have done better.

I didn’t stay on for the 6th Form.  I’d had enough and wanted to get out working and earning some money.   My initial job was with a superb carpenter, who taught me a lot, but it wasn’t the job for me.   After a year I left and got a job as a clerk with a tyre fitting company.   Employment there also lasted about a year before I got restless and wanted something more challenging.   Step forward the Royal Air Force.   They were looking to recruit, and after getting two jobs fairly easily without qualifications, surely I could get a third.   On top of that, an old friend had bet me that I couldn’t do it, that it wasn’t my type of life.  I love a challenge.

Perhaps some pieces of paper might have helped.

My first interview was at the Careers Information Office in Ipswich, Suffolk, close to my home town of Felixstowe.  I went through all of the basic stuff, they checked I was still breathing which was a requirement, and then invited me back for another chat.   They seemed keen to get me in, tough I found out later that manpower at the time was low.  We started talking jobs, but was pointed very firmly towards supplier which they dressed up to make it sound like a fabulous area to work in.   I was keen to join, so agreed.  It was only when I got home and started reading about pay that I felt a twinge of disappointment.  Technical trades got a much higher salary, and that was the first time that I got a feeling that some qualifications would have helped.

Now I want some pieces of paper.

Moving forward some 40 years since I joined up, my attitude has changed.   As a self employed photographer one of my tasks is to sell myself to potential customers.   That can be done by displaying my work, and hoping it’s of sufficient quality to get people to part with their money in return for some images which they love.   Therein lies the problem.  It’s an argument that has been flogged to death, but it’s still valid.   Everyone has a camera on their phone, which of course makes them great photographers.  Comments are left on their Facebook pages, like ‘stunning’ and fantastic photo’ and lots more besides.  Are they really that good?   I don’t think so a lot of the time.

This is where the piece of paper comes in.   The Guild of Photographers offer a range of qualifications.   When I say offer, I don’t mean that they give them away.   It’s hard to gain them, all panels are judged by a number of the UK’s leading photographers, and they are critical.   It’s my intention to go down that route.   I’ve managed to gain Qualified status in the area of professional photography, but I don’t intend to stop there.  As a wedding photographer, my next goal is to get qualified status in that specialisation, and then Craftsman in general and wedding  photography.   It’s going to be a long and hard road, but I want those pieces of paper.   I’ve seen the light after all of those years.

There’s a bit more about the Guild of Photographers qualifications here and here.

Mel Pettit Wedding Photography

Qualifications, The Guild of Photographers, Qualified

Scarlett Fox at ‘Ginger’ Cottage

Posted on May 3, 2018 by Admin under Fashion
Leave a comment

Fashion, Portraits and Boudoir

I’ve been wanting to work with Scarlett Fox since I saw her profile on a popular portfolio site.  Following a recommendation from a friend of mine who had worked with her previously  I got in contact with her.   We booked four hours together to shoot some fashion, portraits and boudoir at a location in a small town just outside Doncaster, in South Yorkshire. I had a two hour drive to look forward to, so it was going to be a long day for me.

Remarkably I found the location without taking my usual twenty minutes searching.   Sat navs are wonderful devices, but they don’t seem to be able to take you right to the door of your destination.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case this time and I was able to pull up right outside the cottage.   That’s always good for me, as I invariably have to lug my lighting case around.

We hadn’t worked together before, so we talked over the shoot with a mug of tea.  That’s always a great way to start any work, especially when the tea was as good as it was.  Scarlett was very easy to talk to, and it was obvious she had bags of experience.  With the shoot parameters set, we got on with the job in hand.

The cottage we were working in had lots of rooms and space in which to work.  We did most of the fashion using a mix of natural light and my Profoto A1.   I love that light, it’s so portable and good both on and off camera.   Once again, the B2s and my B1X didn’t come out of the case, but I didn’t need the power.

We started with the long green dress on the window ledge, then moved to the green top and jeans.  Most of the shots in below are fashion, but there’s more here on the fashion galleries page.  We changed the style after that, and did some boudoir in one the upstairs bedrooms.   The natural window light suited black and white, which I love.   I’ve included a couple of shots from that set here, but you can see more on the boudoir gallery page if you want to take a look.

Time was moving on quickly, so we grabbed some portraits , then moved to the bathroom for a few more fashion shots.  The final set of the day was my favourite. We used natural light on Scarlett, with the A1 placed behind her.  This had the effect of separating her from the background which clashed with her hair.  I love those shots.   the silver of her jumpsuit complements the red of the wall perfectly I think.

Suddenly it was all over and I had another 2 hour drive to get home, but I had a big smile on way face all of the way back.


Amber Chelsea Gray at Thurston lodge

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Admin under Boudoir

Amber Chelsea at Thurston Lodge

A lingerie shoot

This lingerie shoot proved a bit problematical to put together. I had booked the venue separately as I had worked at Thurston Lodge before and loved the place. All that was left to do was to find a model, but I had one in mind.  We got the date in her diary, but sadly she cancelled the week before the session, so I had to find an alternative quickly.

I had one particular model in mind, and after making contact I confirmed the booking with her. All was fine until the day before the shoot when I started feeling unwell. Without going into the gory details it became rapidly clear that I wasn’t going to be able to attend the venue.  A couple of phone calls and e-mails were sent to explain the situation. I’ve never cancelled a shoot before because of illness, but I simply couldn’t get out of bed.  Amber and Mark at the venue agreed that we could rearrange and it was left at that.

For a number of reasons, it took just over a month for us all to be available. Amber arrived at my house on the day of the shoot and we travelled together to Thurston Lodge.    The venue was some 40 minutes away from me, but that gave us plenty of time to discuss the shoot parameters.   We were both clear with what I wanted to achieve in the four hours we had together.

Lingerie and boudoir was the order of the day, and Amber had brought plenty of lingerie with her. I like to photograph lingerie away from bedrooms.  I much rather use other places at the location to add some variety. We moved around the house, from top to bottom, shooting as we went. Once again I used as much ambient light from the large windows as I could.  I did have to boost the available light with my Profoto kit occasionally as some rooms were quite dark.  Primarily I used the A1 both on and off camera, but I also used my new B1X with a large silver parabolic umbrella for some sets. For once, the B2s were unused.

A selection of images from the shoot are shown below. If you want to see more, head off to Chic Fashion & Boudoir and take a look at the Amber Chelsea Gray gallery.

Jessica’s Project for Genesis Hair Company

Posted on March 21, 2018 by Admin under Fashion
Leave a comment

Genesis Hair Company – Jessica Harvey’s Project

One of the things I love about my job, now that I’ve gone full time, is the freedom to do work that I wouldn’t have been able to do in the past.   After working with the lovely Genesis Hair Company in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, on a charity event earlier in the year, I was contacted by creative stylist Jessica Harvey with a view to photographing a project of hers.

The theme for the shoot was mermaids and woodland, and it was to be shot over two days.   The mermaids session was first and after selecting a suitable location Jessica got to work very early in the salon on the morning of the shoot.   Whilst Jessica was working I made my way to the location to await her arrival.   That gave me plenty of time to assess the weather conditions, although most of the photography was planned to be done in a disused and run down swimming pool.  Thankfully the weather behaved and we were able to work in and around the pool and outside too.

The woodlands themed shoot followed a week later.   The lighting was interesting, most of the shoot was done with natural light in the open areas, but the woods were very sheltered so I had to break out my Profoto B2 location kit to add the punch that was needed.   I was pleased that the winds were light, as keeping hair in place when there is a strong breeze is problematical to say the least.

The hair and make-up work carried out by Jessica for both shoots was very intricate and detailed and I think she did a magnificent job.   The models were her friends and had little experience in their roles, but they did all that we asked of them splendidly.   Photographers can take professional models for granted occasionally, forgetting how hard it is for those not used to having a camera in their face and lights going off all around them to relax and produce the looks that are needed to fulfill the stylist’s brief.

There’s a selection of shots here. but you can see more at Chic Fashion and Boudoir Galleries

Fashion in Budapest Day 2

Posted on March 20, 2018 by Admin under Fashion
Leave a comment

Fashion in Budapest Day 2

Day one was finished by a couple of beers and a rather nice Italian meal from a restaurant just a few yards away from our Airbnb.  After that came an early night.   The reason why I’m mentioning that is because day two was going to be a very early start indeed.  Alarms were set for 05:00, though in truth we were all up by then.   The courtyard at the back of the block we were staying in became active even earlier.   There was a shop attached to the building which took deliveries to sell during the day.  They weren’t the quietest at doing that to say the least.

We needed an early start as the first location was at the Fisherman’s Bastion.  It is a big tourist location so we needed to get there before they did to make the most of the views.  Our taxi arrived  on time and we set off, all laden with kit.   Most of the shots in this gallery were taken there, and we got two looks from each model.  It was a very busy morning for everyone, working in a temperature of 27c at the hottest.

My first shoot of the day was with Atalanta Smythe and I was assisted on lights by my shooting partner Jonathan Hilder and Mark Goddard.  Atalanta wore a long black and sheer dress for the first set and we shot right at the top of the location with stunning views.

The initial set with Amie-Jayne Boulton was shot on some beautifully lit stone stairs, enclosed by bricks.  By this time the tourists had arrived in large numbers.   We had to wait for bus loads of people to pass on occasion but that didn’t interrupt Amie’s flow.

From there we moved back outside with Atalanta.   Passing tourists meant that we kept on the move, but parties still formed to watch Atalanta do her stuff. Atalanta generated a crowd dressed in her black halter-neck top and salmon pink jeans.

Our enforced movement meant that it was inevitable that the paths of the models would cross and when they did we got the chance to do some duo shots.

After spending the whole morning at the Fisherman’s Bastion we went to a restaurant where I sampled an authentic beef stew with noodles.  It was delicious and very filling, so I was glad we got a few minutes of rest before setting off to our next location.   We shot on the Chain Bridge and on the river bank, again attracting a lot of attention.  Mobile camera phones were very much in evidence.

My final shoot was with Atalanta Smythe in front of the beautiful Parliament building.  I don’t think we could have done that same shoot in front of the UK Houses of Parliament.   We wouldn’t have lasted more than two minutes before being moved on.  Things are much more relaxed in Hungary.

Chic Fashion and Boudoir

Fashion in Budapest – Day 1

Posted on by Admin under Fashion
Leave a comment

Fashion in Budapest – Day 1

I had been looking forward to this shoot for a long time, well before Christmas in fact.    Conrad Webb, the owner of WindmillArt Studio in Cambridgeshire, had mentioned that he was looking to put together a fashion shoot with two top quality models and a fantastic make-up artist in Budapest.   Everything sounded great, and I started making arrangements for my travel.   Fashion in Budapest, what could be better?

Four photographers would be shooting together over two days, for us that was a Friday and Saturday.   There would also be a practice shoot at Conrad’s studio, so we could get used to using his lights.   We would get to know all of the other gear and photographers as well.   We would be working in teams of two, one shooting and the other talking care of the lights, if needed.   Any other assistance would be provided by Conrad and Mark Goddard, another excellent photographer.  I’ve worked with Mark a few times, and it’s always been good.   The practice shoot went very well indeed and and all four us got on superbly well with each other.

The days seemed to drag whilst waiting for the trip to come around.    I packed and re-packed several times and bought a new case that was compliant with the airline’s stringent size regulations.   I packed and re-packed again juggling with different combinations of kit until I decided exactly the lenses I was going to take.  Documents were checked again and again.   Worries crept in about all sorts of totally insignificant problems, and Google Earth got a hammering.   My car parking site was scrutinised at the airport, as was a large chunk of Budapest, our destination.

Finally the day arrived and the plan dropped into place.   All four of us met at the airport and we found ourselves sitting on an aircraft for Budapest.   For one of us it was a big day as it was his first time on an aircraft and his only trip out of the UK.

In no time at all we had arrived at our destination which was very warm at 27c.   We met our taxi driver after clearing customs, and he took us to our lovely AirBnB.   We settled in quickly and headed into the city which was right on our doorstep and found a fantastic bar where we could relax and mull over the coming days.  During the evening we met the advance party and had a very enjoyable meal, and we got our timings sorted out for the first day of shooting.

The images in this gallery are all taken from day one and the models are Atalanta Smythe and Amie-Jayne Boulton.   The shots were taken at the Budapest Spa, Vajduhunyad Castle and around Hero’s Square.

Chic Fashion and Boudoir

Genesis Hair Company Charity Hair and Fashion Show

Posted on March 17, 2018 by Admin under Fashion
Leave a comment

Genesis Hair Company Charity Night

It’s been a while since I’ve covered a charity event, the last time being the Square Peg fashion show a couple of years ago.   I like shooting at them, especially when they involve fashion, so I was very excited to be selected from a casting by Ruby from Genesis Hair Company to work at their event in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.   They were supporting MAGPAS Air Ambulance, a charity I already donate to.

MAGPAS (Mid Anglia General Practitioner Accident Service) provide an emergency service around the east of England and they are based at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire.   I drive past that airfield, where I served for 18 months in the 1990s whilst in the RAF, nearly every day.   Fast response vehicles are frequently doing blue light jobs, and the air ambulance is often flying.   They are a busy bunch of people who are funded the donations, not by the Government.

The event was popular and a good sized audience were treated to a fashion show put together by the staff at Genesis Hair Company.   Before the show started a member of MAGPAS explained to everyone there exactly what their role was and how important fund raising was to them.   One of their most popular ways of raising funds was their weekly lottery details of which can be seen here:   http://www.magpas.org.uk/lottery/welcome-to-our-lottery.   If you live around the east of England I’d urge you to take a look, after all you’ll never know when you might seed the services of MAGPAS.

My brief was to capture some editorial, hair and beauty and runway shots from the event.   This mini gallery shows a selection of images from the event.   The shots are a small selection of the evens of the evening and show stylists from Genesis Hair Company in St Ives in action, working on models who gave up their own time to support the event, as well as some head and shoulders portraits and the runway segment.   The show was very well run and displayed the creations of the hair stylists perfectly in some clothes lent by Town Row, Newlook, Cream Rose (Prom) and Shades of White (Bridal).

There are three larger galleries from the night that you can see by clicking here.

Chic Fashion and Boudoir

Fashion with Saffron Jaye Richardson

Posted on by Admin under Fashion
Leave a comment

Fashion with Saffron Jaye Richardson

Early spring weather in England is very unpredictable.   Occasional warm and sunny days can be followed by long periods of cold and rain, accompanied by horrible flat grey skies.  Nothing is there to add background interest to a subject.   That’s how it was when I arranged a fashion shoot with Saffron Jaye Richardson.

The weather on the day before the shoot had been lovely, but the forecast for the day of the shoot was poor.   I live in one of the flattest places in England, so you can see the skies for miles around.   You know when it’s going to be bad, and when the same greyness can be seen from horizon to horizon you know it’s not going to change quickly.   The omens were not good for shooting outdoor fashion.

The drive from my place to meet Saffron was made through driving rain and fairly strong winds.   Those elements make using location flash difficult. Wet gear tumbling down the road isn’t good.   Forty minutes after leaving and arriving at Saffron’s location things were no better.   Plan B was the order of the day.

Saffron is an experienced model. She has a good knowledge of lighting and angles which has allowed her to create a studio in her bedroom.   I was able to shoot from a number of angles, and use ambient light from a well-placed window. When needed, I used one of my Profoto B2 heads to add a bit of fill.   For this shoot I used a white Profoto OCF beauty dish.

Saffron’s entire wardrobe was readily to hand, so we were able to get through a number of outfit changes in our allotted time.   Four hours flew by very quickly indeed and I ended up with some fashion and portrait shots that I was very pleased with.

Chic Fashion and Boudoir

Fashion at Studland with Angel White

Posted on by Admin under Fashion
Leave a comment

Angel White Fashion

I recently got the chance to work with Angel White to shoot some fashion at Studland Bay House.  It’s down on the beautiful and affluent Dorset coast.   It’s a four hour drive from home for me, so quite a distance. The shortest route uses a chain ferry to travel to the peninsula that the house sits on, something out of the norm.   The building is Edwardian, faces the sea, is wonderfully restored and has large gardens.   It’s a photographer’s dream location.

I knew exactly where I was going on the day of the shoot because I had been to the same place the weekend before.   Annoyingly I had mixed up the dates.   You can imagine my disappointment in arrival at the house to find the place empty after a four hour drive.   I couldn’t even take advantage of my error to go shooting around Bournemouth.   The weather was horrible giving me virtually no visibility.   To say it was cold and wet that day is an understatement.

The day of the shoot was slightly better in that it was dry and not quite as grey as the weekend before.  The wind was still bitingly cool though.    That meant that we shot inside the house only.   The size of building and the rooms available meant that wasn’t an issue at all.   We had four hours to work together, but we could easily have run to eight and not exhausted the location.

The brief was to shoot some fashion and fashion nude, and leave the final hour for some lingerie and art nude.   I took along my Profoto B2 heads so I had plenty of fill light to use.   With everything ready and Angel made up, we headed for one of the sitting rooms for our first set of the day.

Angel is a great model to work with.   She has a fantastic look and has tons of experience so needs very little direction.   Her wardrobe is extensive, she has loads of outfits to suit all types of shoots and she knows how to get the best from them.   We set about our task with a great deal of enthusiasm.

There are a variety of shots from the day included here, but my favourite is the set using the horizontally striped dress.    The material was black and transparent, and was shot using natural light only through a window.   I love the results that were produced, whether in colour or black and white.

Chic Fashion & Boudoir




  Fashion & Boudoir Photographer Cambridge
All images © Copyright protected Mel Pettit Photography
57 Lode Way, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, GB
Tel 01354 696896 or 07990 573372
E-mail mel@chicfashionandboudoir.photography