“This I not a pub, when you sit in the presence of Lord Bath you must adhere to what is called etiquette. I don’t suppose you know much about this but you must follow this when you are in front of me and eating at mine and the Marquess’s lunch table! I am his wife or as you may know this term, his wifelet and I look after him when I am in town!!! “[/perfectpullquote] Poor old paddy who was assisting me. He got both barrels from Lord Baths’ wifelet for not sitting and eating at the same time as the crew. He was late and Lord baths wifelet was NOT happy. The opportunity to shoot TV Celebrity is something that sometimes happens a little more frequently nowadays. These days are after drought with anxiety and speed for the very reason of time management and the time which a celebrity and their PR will allocate to a photoshoot.
Every now and then a great opportunity happens within your daily photographic week. Celebrity photography is not always how you imagine. Times allotted to work with them are quite a short turnaround.
One such opportunity was when I was asked to work on a commission photographing the Queen’s Cousin the 7th marquess of Bath, or as we really know him, Lord Bath. The commission was for a book cover and his personal website for the Marquess. It would involve traveling down at his substantial house at Longleat which is also a very famous animal sanctuary.
I was only allowed to bring very minimal equipment such as single flashlight such as Profoto B1X and my Nikon camera. We were not allowed to video any material at all. We were also not allowed to photograph in and around the great house as it was open to the public. I of course was a little worried about the amount of work we needed to cover in the day and if Lord bath would be up for this? The lighting in the apartment was fairly dark in general and had to use a slight timed exposure to balance out ambient lighting and flash.
Below is a screengrab from the elements for the official composite image. The images were all shot on the day by me ready to composite in Photoshop on my return. I have shown some of the processes it takes to create one of these composite images. The picture of Lord Bath was designed to emulate one of the master paintings of landed gentry so famous in the great houses of Britain. When combined, the final image was a very powerful version that was used on the book cover and of course on ALEXANDER THYNN, 7TH MARQUESS OF BATH website.
The Composite Image in the Raw
To photograph someone with such a closeness to royalty, there is a certain protocol that you must follow and criteria that you must first pass. It was an honour to be considered to get so close to a royal celebrity. When I was introduced to Lord Bath he was very gracious and patient with me and the team and was a very easy-going subject willing to work with us. At no time did he make us feel that we were in the way. We were there for the day to capture all his wonderfully bright waistcoat for his book and shoot images for his new website.
Lord Baths stylist for the day had provided an extensive wardrobe for him but of course, it was all about his waistcoats. I was, of course, a little concerned about his age and how he would manage the whole day with 60 outfits! We were initially thinking that working around his large house would give us ample shoot spaces, however, it was clear we would not be allowed into the public areas of the house and were to be restricted to his apartment in the house.
Having done a Recce on the apartment we had settled on a few key areas that may work but these would be very tight because the main living area was exactly that, a living area. Main areas were cramped so after a consultation with Phil & Paddy, it was decided that one simple light diffused would be just perfect, add in a white reflector and the look was complete.
The team Photographing the Eccentric Queens Cousin