• Ellie J

From around the end of December last year, I had in mind to do an Edwardian style shoot with a modern flare to it. I wasn't yet sure of the finer details but began looking for a suitable model for the job. My only criteria was that the model must have a clear, rosey complexion, hair long enough to style and generally have a 'look' that fits with vintage themes. I could not have been more lucky when I discovered Lois J Elise, a vintage fashion blogger and model. Not only did she fit the theme perfectly, she also had a huge wealth of vintage pieces suitable for our project.

To ensure the best results, I got in touch with talented makeup artist Bryony Robertson to ask if she would like to collaborate and after seeing my mood board, she happily agreed.


find me on Pinterest for my shoot mood boards: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/shootwithellie/

The Edwardian period was roughly 1900-1910 give or take, and I wanted to keep a few key elements for this look. This included the wispy, rolled hair, cinched in gowns, elegant gloves and natural dewy skin. I was looking to play with colour palettes that may not have been so prominent at the time and a more dramatic makeup look. As for the background, I wanted to keep them dreamy, but again in more of a modern colour scheme. We decided on two looks for the shoot; one more playful and bright, and the other more delicate and sombre.

The day before the shoot, I popped into a florist to get a little basket and flowers you'd most likely find in an English country garden. I didn't want to pick anything too bright as it would draw the eye away from the subject but I also wanted a little variety. I stuck to pink and purple tones as I thought they would accentuate both looks. That evening, I set up my work space ready for our session. This included clearing the space out, ironing backdrops and setting up lights.

On the day of the shoot, I collected both the MUA and model from the train station and we clicked straight away! We set up the kitchen as our base, Bryony unpacked all of her kit onto the table and Lois showed us all of the beautiful garments and accessories she had brought along. A company called Kiku Boutique very kindly lent us a violet corset and peignoir which completely tied in with the vibe of the second set. We started with the lighter of the two looks so we could transition into the darker look without too much disruption.

Once Bryony had finished working on both hair and makeup, we helped Lois get dressed in to the first outfit. Immediately, we were all excited to start shooting as she looked amazing! Here are some behind the scenes:

After the photo shoot, I was very eager to sit down and edit the work as we were all very pleased with the outcomes. I wanted both sets to have a vintage 'feel' to them to add to the overall narrative and look.

SET 1:

SET 2:

Click here to find these in my gallery: https://www.shootwithellie.com/modelling

From early on, Lois suggested that we enter our work into a magazine once the project was complete. Even though I loved the idea of it, I never really expected it to materialise for one reason or another. After sending the girls the final images, we agreed to submit the second set to FEMME Rebelle Magazine, which features high end, interesting, quirky portraiture of female models. The day after submission they emailed back to say we had been successful and the full set had been accepted! We were of course over the moon! Fast forward nearly a full month and here it was! We appear in FEMME Rebelle Magazine - March - Book 1 under the title "Lady in Waiting."

So as you can imagine, this was a super proud moment for me and a massive achievement. The team all worked incredibly hard and put lots of time and effort in and it really paid off. Hopefully this will be the first of many to come :)

Please check out my team mates here:

Lois J Elise: https://www.instagram.com/loisjelise/

Bryony Robertson: https://www.instagram.com/facebybryony/

Kiku Boutique: https://www.instagram.com/kikuboutique/

Publication: https://www.femmerebellemagazine.com

  • Ellie J

At the start of 2019, I had an epiphany to make this the best hair year of my life as I have never been particularly in love with it. It's either frizzy, flat, thin in patches, dry, with seemingly endless split ends or even worse, ALL of the above at once! I have had more than enough!

I have always been fairly enthusiastic but noncommittal with my hair routine and have gone through a lot of trial and error to find a handful of long term favourites, however it is certainly time for me to test out some new products to see if I could remedy a few of my hair nightmares.

My hair never makes it past that certain length, and by the time it gets there, the ends look raggedy and dead. I am definitely guilty of not going for a trim often enough, so the first item I looked for was some hairdressing scissors. I am in no way qualified to do any real hair dressing, however, with the help of Youtube, I am confident I could cut a half an inch off once in a while without too much drama. Of course, this is no substitute for a professional job, but will probably help in the meantime.

My next purchase was Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which I have been aware of for a few years but never got around to testing it. When applied to the scalp, over time, most people see a significant amount of new hairs growing in where there weren't any before. This is often paired with a few drops of Peppermint Oil which stimulates blood flow to the scalp, and in turn makes your hair grow. To add to this effect, I bought a scalp brush with silicone tips to use just before I wash my hair, and then again in the shower while shampooing. This is also great for those with dandruff or those who enjoy a head massage.

As for the shampoo itself, I have heard good things from The Fitzrovia Centre products and decided I would try their shampoo for fine and thinning hair. This claims to increase hair growth and density and decrease loss. The conditioner was a happy accident! I had run out of my regular product which I typically can only find online, so I looked up the best high street brand as a fill in. Charles Worthington conditioners had good reviews across the board, so I picked 'Grow Strong' for obvious reasons. I have used it a handful of times and so far it leaves my hair feeling glossy and not weighed down unlike most others I have tried.

The last bits were a few Primark essentials: bobby pins, open pins, mini hairbands and styling clips. These things never last more than a few days for me; I put them down in what I think is a sensible place, only to never see a single stray pin lurking around the house from that day forward. This may be due to having a very clumsy cat who knocks everything over as he goes, but I presume it can't be all his fault. Finally, I picked up a silk headwrap to wear when I just cannot face the oh-so often bad hair days, but mainly for when it hasn't seen shampoo for the best part of a week. Much to my disgust, the benefits of not washing your hair several times a week greatly outweigh my 'need' for it to be worn down and styled nicely, which I feel is nearly impossible for me when my hair isn't clean. I'm sure I can feel just as happy with a cute updo, it'll just take some practise.

Here is a list of the items i purchased and where to get them:


Open pins - £1.00

Bobby pins - £1.00

Mini hairbands - £1.00

Styling clips - £1.50

Silk scarf - £5.00


Charles Worthington ' Grow Strong' Protein Conditioner - £7.99

TK Maxx

Peppermint Oil - £2.99

The Fitzrovia Centre Shampoo for fine and thinning hair - £7.49

Ebay UK

Hairdressing scissors - £6.80

Jamaican Black Castor Oil - £6.99

Scalp brush - £2.59

Naturally, being a photographer, I cannot pass up an opportunity to get my camera out and really wanted to document all the pretty things I'd bought. In order to to get a mini backdrop, I headed over to Hobbycraft to find some big sheets of card. I knew exactly what colour I had in mind, and when I had all but given up I found a tub of paper rolls with exactly the shade of purple I needed.

Unbeknownst to me, I had the paparazzi eyeballing me while I was decision making

After my last product set, I really wanted to use a sturdier stand for my backdrop, as it wasn't the most reliable before. I have a frame that is mostly used for baby photography that helps to keep the blanket pulled tight which avoids creasing and subsequent work in Photoshop. I set up a portion of the frame with legs facing towards me and clipped the backdrop paper across the back. The paper roll was then clipped at the end so it couldn't unravel all the way. This gave a nice seamless backdrop and cost all of about £2.00.

After this, I began arranging the items so they looked the most eye pleasing. This is by far the hardest step, as sometimes you can see it doesn't look quite right but it isn't obvious which bit. This takes a lot of trial and error! I find that if you start with the biggest items in the middle, it makes the overall look more balanced. Then, once you have that as your base, you can move your other pieces around until they don't look awkwardly placed or at a strange angle.

For lighting, I had one softbox overhead on a boom, and a ring light right in front of the camera. I find this is mostly enough but I would have happily put a white or silver reflector on my left as the darkness from the window could have affected the overall look. After shooting, I selected just two images which had the composition I was happy with. I used Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to do a few alterations, including taking out creases in the paper, making certain colours pop and adding a slight vignette.

Here are the outcomes:

Please feel free to drop me a message if you had any questions about the products or to just chat about taking pictures!

  • Ellie J

So, like most of us, when January rolls around I snap back to the reality that I have neglected a few things over the Christmas period. For me, the main offender is my skin. I am kindly reminded that my makeup-free face looks 'unwell' or 'tired' (thanks mum!) and I have heard more than enough!

After some research on makeup groups, beauty blogs and retailers such as Just My Look and Beauty Bay, I came across a brand called "The Ordinary" which is under the umbrella of DECIEM. A lot of their products focus on treating complexion issues, such as dark circles, skin texture and pigmentation. The products seem to be unanimously 4-5 star rated across all websites and platforms which seems unfathomable considering their price range is roughly £3-£30.

The products I picked are as follows:

- Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG -£5.80 - for dark circles and puffiness - Glycolic Acid 7% Toning solution - £6.80 - for skin tone and texture - Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% - £5.50 - for dullness and uneven tone

As you can imagine, I have been eagerly awaiting the delivery so I can start to improve my skincare routine, and in turn, my face! However, not a single bottle was opened, instead, the inner photographer in me took over and decided it was time for a photo shoot. I have never attempted product photography but thought I could learn along the way.

I used a canvas with two backdrop clips either side to make a stand and clipped a piece of crumpled tinfoil to the front to set the scene. I used a wooden board underneath the tinfoil to lift it up from the worktop slightly, this was to help me get the correct angle of the shot I had in mind. Finally, I set a light right overhead of the space and a ring light directly in front. I hoped this would eliminate most shadows and it did seem to do just that. Also, using a reflective material for a backdrop significantly helped to reduce the unsightly shadows.

Behind the Scenes

I wanted to keep the look of the shoot fairly minimalistic and bright, similar to the packaging. I didn't take many shots but I quite like the outcome:

I did a small amount of editing in Photoshop and Lightroom to sharpen them up, stretch out the backdrop and to give them a split tone effect.

Now i have taken pictures, I can get back to getting the skin of my dreams!