The Ballerina


Covent Garden & the stunning Royal Opera House is the locale for this weeks’ posting & a shoot with one of the Royal Ballet’s principal dancers; Mara Galeazzi.


I had high hopes for the session knowing what a visually superb venue the Royal Opera House is & arrived promptly at Stage Door, my rendezvous point with the Press Officer. Through some confusion with the PA system & a further complication with said Press Officer’s mobile phone, I was left twitching in reception for a half-hour. By the time he came & found me, I was already fifteen minutes into my alloted time!

As is often the case on these kind of shoots, time was a major stumbling block with our star due back upstairs & into the rehearsal halls. By the time we worked our way through the maze of corridors to the meeting point, I had literally five minutes to get my shots. I made the most of it, but was massively disappointed.


It was a far cry from the ‘big picture’ I had in mind when the job sheet hit my inbox.


I paused & took a look at the back of my camera before calling a halt to proceedings. This just wasn’t working…

I bent the Press Officer’s ear & explained the ‘bread & butter’ shots i’d created through a pool of frustrated sweat just wasn’t gonna be good enough. This was to be a lead Feature story in an upcoming edition of London’s favourite daily; Metro & I needed something more showstopping than what I had.

Between my subject & the Press Officer, we agreed to a further session once Mara’s rehearsal wrapped an hour & half from then, so I headed into Covent Garden for a touch of retail therapy. Christmas was fast approaching & me being a typical fella, I hadn’t done a stroke yet.


I headed back around to the venue & set-up properly in the main atrium. As i’ve mentioned many times before, one of the major irritations of this job is waiting. Usually, as was the case earlier in the day, this wait is an angsty nervous period as you hope everything is in order. In the past i’ve waited in receptions & holding areas for well over an hour only to eventually be told that the shoot had been cancelled or that the star hadn’t signed off on a photographer, etc, etc, etc.

At least this time around, I was inside the venue knowing the shoot was on. I had my lighting rigs set-up & was locked & loaded. I also happened to be inside one of the most beautiful buildings in the capital. All around me was the bustle of activity as table staff prepared the surrounding restaurant & bar for the evening’s service ahead, so I fired off a few stock frames as I waited.


As you might well have noticed, i’m a big fan of the social imagery movement Instagram, so I also dropped a few frames on my phone to keep the feed ticking over before my star arrived.


When my star did return, I was back on my game as per usual with three locations prepared starting with a shot using the quilted leather base of the nearby bar area.



Before moving across to the exquisite & ornate atrium windows


We wrapped the shoot with an ambient portrait in the restaurant.


And I came away a happy bunny knowing that my extra push had garnered a great selection of shots for my publication, as well as providing me with this weeks’ accompanying “Image Of The Week”



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