I don’t remember how I first found Kayleigh-Jade on Instagram, but she’d done a bit of modelling, and I loved the photos of her. She’s an actor, too, which had worked well for previous shoots with models who had done acting, so I asked if she was interested in doing a shoot. Fortunately, she was.
Since she lived in Ottery St Mary at the time, Wildwood Escot seemed like a good place to go. It’s close by, and it has otters and birds of prey. We didn’t know at the time, but they’d also added wolves. There’s plenty of woodland for some good backgrounds, too.
There were some good hedges, and at one point it turned into a sort of hedge tunnel, which seemed like a good idea for some shots. Kayleigh-Jade suggested a change of outfit for it. For her, that is, not me.
I hadn’t done many shoots at that point. I’d worked with models who just wore what they’d come out in that day. I’d worked with models who would go and change in any handy toilet. Since then, I’ve had a model change in the back of our car while I wandered away out of sight. But Kayleigh-Jade had a technique I hadn’t seen before, or since.
She changed from trousers and shirt into a dress, right there. With people wandering around us. Without flashing anyone. It’s an impressive ability. Dress goes over, other clothes come out from under. Reverse after for another outfit. Same again for yet another later. Most models do one or two outfits for a shoot. I’ve seen Kayleigh-Jade use five outfits in a couple of hours without ever needing to go anywhere to change.
We wandered into the woods, and saw a see-saw. It’s good to see a see-saw. So we saw it. I’m not amusing anybody but myself here, am I? Ah, well, as long as I’m having fun.
A big tree looked like a good prop to me, and Kayleigh-Jade had the perfect dress to clash wonderfully with the greenery.
We may have been there to photograph Kayleigh-Jade, but I couldn’t resist photographing the wolves and one seriously big owl.
Entry isn’t cheap at Wildwood Escot, but there’s plenty to see, and it includes the falconry show, which was enjoyable to watch.
There was a medieval village setup too, and we couldn’t resist trying to give Kayleigh-Jade antlers.
The dark of the medieval huts made for an interesting lighting challenge, but between a torch and a reflector, we had a go, with variable results.
We grabbed a few more shots around the outbuilding at the end of the bird cages, including some nice close-up portraits.
We then used some hedge and a gate for a few last shots.
While taking the ones of Kayleigh-Jade right next to the hedge, I started to ask “could you just…”, and she leaned in closer to the hedge. “Oh. Yes. That.”
“Whenever a photographer starts saying ‘Could you just…’, it’s always move closer to something” she told me. Sounds about right.
It was a good day, with some photos I love, and Kayleigh-Jade is really likeable and fun to work with. It was a good few months until we got to work together again, because she’s been busy starring in a TV series in production for Amazon Prime – look out for Ragtags when it appears!
Oh, and the story of our next shoot, when I get to that one, too.
But mainly Ragtags.