A few weeks ago I wad contacted by HMS Vintage Photography who asked me if I wanted to bring a friend visit them in Manchester for a photo shoot. The lovely Emma at HMS Vintage diligently emailed me back and forth over the weeks before I visited, and was able to answer all of my queries and questions. In preparation for the shoot she sent myself and my friend a questionnaire to try to establish what kind of looks we would like to try out during the shoot.

The day arrived and sadly, it coincided with the recent stormy weather that hit London, and so myself and my friend of choice Callie Thorpe were unable to make it beyond Euston – or in my case, a mile or so down the road from my house! Luckily HMS Vintage and the train companies were able to accommodate the two of us the next day, and so Callie and I tried again the following day, and we were more successful and able to giggle hysterically all the way to Manchester!
Due to the train mishaps the day before, our train was a little late getting into the station, and the knock on effect to the traffic of Manchester meant that Ian, the lovely owner and photographer at HMS Vintage was unable to collect us for a little while. However, he soon got to us and whisked us to the studio, whilst telling us a little more about the company. He started it at the beginning of the year, and it has gone from strength to strength since then – it even scooped awards for ‘Best New Photography’ and ‘Best New Business’ at the recent Vintage Manchester Awards.
We arrived at the studio and met Ewa, the hair and make up artist, and Emma, the other photographer and Ian’s assistant. A delicious afternoon tea was presented to us, and we were allowed to ooh and ahh over HMS Vintage’s wonderful wardrobe of clothes and props.

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Ewa then set to work on mine and Callie’s hair – no mean feat, as we both have seriously thick hair. Whilst each of us waited for the other to be styled we chatted with the girls and put together our outfits. I had brought a whole suitcase with me in preparation for the shoot, and so it wasn’t all that easy to select which pieces to wear! Not only that, but there were some gorgeous dresses in the HMS Vintage wardrobe that I was sorely tempted to try. However, I did eventually make my choices, and Callie also chose two of my dresses to wear.

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Before long I was beautifully made up, thanks to Ewa, dressed and ready for my close up! The first dress that I selected was this Vivien of Holloway pencil dress that I teamed with some Primark heels and a belt and bolero from the HMS Vintage wardrobe. The dress was a size 20 and a pretty much bang on fit. It has boning in the bust, meaning that I was able to go BRALESS!!! Eek! I of course wore my What Katie Did Morticia corset under the dress, and I toddled off to the studio.
Ian was great at putting me at ease, but somehow I was really nervous! I have to say, the halterneck of the dress was a rather strange and slightly uncomfortable feeling, and I don’t think that helped me and my ability to take direction without distractions. However, Ian was fab at reassuring me and being very patient despite me usually turning right when he said left, and really just having a total blonde day! I was happy to do any poses he thought would work, and here are the shots he took:

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Next up was Callie! I would strongly recommend you check out her photos and her thoughts on the day over on her blog From The Corners Of The Curves – be prepared to be amazed! Callie doesn’t usually favour the vintage look, but you will have to agree that it suits her so well and she looks brilliant! Her cheeky expressions, gorgeous face and cracking curves were made for the pin up style – more please Callie!

Callie then changed into her final outfit – a a spotty Collectif Dolores Doll dress, the same dress as that I had also chosen as we were to have some joint photos. We both teamed the dresses with the studio’s petticoats, and I also added my trusty eBay garter belt, some cut off tights that serve well as make shift stockings on shoots, and my famous M&S heels. Whilst Callie got changed I was able to shoot in a pose that I have wanted to perfect since forever – that classic legs up look! So cliché, but so amazing! I have tried this pose out during some other shoots, but never with stockings on, and so, very gracefully, I plonked myself onto the floor to get into position. Ian helped smooth out my petticoat and dress and then snapped a few shots. I have to say, wearing a tightly laced corset and raising one’s legs up ninety degrees and positioning your feet in the perfect way is no mean feat, especially when you’re as hefty as I am! But between us we nailed it! The pose, the angle, the face… and thus my favourite photo from the shoot was born, so good I was to show you it in every colour way!

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I then VERY gracefully rolled onto my front for another classic pose:

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And then it was time for some fun in front of the camera with Callie! As it were…

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In these photos, the dresses Callie and I have on are size 18 and 14 respectively. The Dolores Doll is the best dress I have ever come across in terms of bust accommodation, and I think you’ll agree that Callie and I both look ace in them. We had a proper giggle posing for poor Ian, who was subjected to our filthy banter and probably wondered what he had let himself in for. And then, all too soon it was time to say our goodbyes and get one final work out as we sprinted for our train. Two fat girls running – it was a marvellous thing to see!

Sadly due to the weather and the impact it had on our timings, we did maybe miss out on having a few extra solo and couple photos, which is a shame but it was beyond our control. I also think that poor Ewa had her work cut out with the amount of badly behaved hair that Callie and I have between us, and maybe next time we would go one by one to be made up rather than swapping around between hair and make up. I do think that HMS Vintage a great company. They are friendly, their amazing wardrobe of clothes and props is sure to turn even the most tomboyish of women into a sizzling vintage vixen and that afternoon tea was a fabulous touch.
Another thing that I feel it is important to add is the fact that HMS Vintage are up front with the cost of their packages. A lot of photo studios will charge ladies a seemingly low amount for the pleasure of a shoot, but once there these women will get pressured into buying as many images as possible at around £70 per image, and walk away from what is meant to be a fun day out with a hefty bill that they weren’t expecting. At HMS Vintage you pay up front, but then you can of course increase or decrease the amount of images you want once the shoot is over. Ian was great at showing Callie and myself the images as he took them and allowing us to help with picking out favourites, and he also selected some that he liked. Emma edited them lightly and they were with us just days later. She made sure that Callie and I liked the final photos, and sent every image six times – larger files sizes with no logo for personal use, and smaller ones with logos for any usage online. Each photo was then given a vintage effect, a black and white effect and kept as colour. All in all myself and Callie adored our day, the way the team treated us and the photos we received. we both hope to revisit, and I can’t wait to see more from HMS Vintage.

If you fancy knowing more about the team, the process and the prices then click below for the HMS Vintage Brochure.
HMS Vintage Brochure

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