Save & earn with MPB; trade-in and buy pre-loved

Dixie Dixon At The Apple Genius Bar London

Stuart Fawcett went along to meet Dixie Dixon at an event all about her fashion photography.

| Events
Dixie Dixon At The Apple Genius Bar London: Headshot
© Dixie Dixon
Dixie Dixon is a fresh young female photographer living the dream of being famous, in-demand and flying all over the world as an ambassador for G-technology and Nikon. Last week she was at the Apple genius bar in Covent Garden London where I went along to meet Dixie and listen to her talk. 

There are two stories here, one is about the little girl in the suburbs of Texas who was given her first Nikon FG film camera to her by her Dad and then getting a great opportunity to study photography in London and shoot, at the age of 17, with a fashion photographer in Prague. The 2nd story is much shorter and is about one of the sponsors G-Technology supporting great photography.

Dixie started out photographing anything and everything she could including quite a lot for her local sports team and the parents of families around her. As she easily engages with her clients and works collaboratively to get the pictures both parties want, Dixie quickly built up quite a following and soon became in-demand around the world. 

What I enjoy about these Apple events is the gems of information that they are packed with and I’d like to share some of Dixie's hints on how the click of the shutter can make the subject feel relaxed and special. Dixie's advice is to 'shoot through' to the shot you want rather than pausing early on and muttering about how to improve the scene. She encourages photographers to shoot more and have fun, relaxing the model until you get to the one shot you want.

Dixie is also a big fan of light reflectors (particularly gold reflectors to bronze the skin) and light blockers (gobos) and only adds extra lights as they are needed. Dixie's a big fan of wide open apertures such as f/2.8 that allow her to blur the background and she is almost formulaic in producing classically beautiful fashion shots.

Dixie Dixon At The Apple Genius Bar London: Beach portrait
© Dixie Dixon
Her goal is to find the soul and connection in each shot so that she captures the essence of the scene and the beauty of the model all at once. She is keen to point out that the models are her partners in this and being attentive to their feelings and needs is key in the shoots. Remember that within 5 minutes on a cool day the model will feel cold so you need to take fairly quick shots - preparation is key and part of the preparation is knowing that many shots happen in the middle of the day and shade is essential for avoiding harsh shadows.

One story she told about the need for preparation revolves around a new D4 she got for a shoot and then having to call her mum for hints on setting the ISO! In the end, her assistant finally saved the day but it does highlight how important it is to know your equipment!

Dixie always researches her corporate clients before planning shoots as she wants to know what they like, what they stand for and how their style promotes their brand and makes it effective as she wants her pictures to capture the essence of all of this. So she looks at colours, fonts, logos and the expression of the themes the client uses then tries to bring all these elements into her shoot.  She even once read a whole book for a cover shoot where she ended up summarising the story with 2 helicopters and a model in one image. She will typically use a Vision Board to draw all the ideas for the shot together so that she can show this to the other collaborators so everyone clearly sees what’s required.

Beyond this she also researches the models she’ll be using, looking at their model profiles to make sure she gets the right model for the look, and then their social media feeds, ideally finding out what they like, so she can quickly develop a bond and remove the initial awkwardness of meeting new people. Another trick she uses is a massive hug when greeting people as a warm hug back indicates an open easy to work with person, where as a cold initial response indicates that there is more initial getting to know you time needed before the shoot.

Dixie Dixon At The Apple Genius Bar London: Portrait
© Dixie Dixon

Being a professionally trained photographer she has a building block or two up her sleeve, one of these is colour theory and knowing what colours work with each other and how they evoke different feelings. Knowing about complementary colours on a colour wheel being opposite each other such as happy yellows and sentimental blues, and also about analogous colours working together with themes such as you might see in a corporate brochure.  A rule of thumb she uses though is that if colour does not add to a shot then it is probably better presented in black and white as it's then more likely to depict feeing in the image.

Ensue music is always playing to lighten the mood of shoots and don’t over expose the background too much as you’ll get lens flare. Longer lenses flatter faces though more space is required and always be prepared to edit during post production. Another neat idea was a shared studio space with 5 other photographers to keep costs down who all work in different genres so there is no competition for clients and work can even be shared sometimes between them.

Dixie Dixon At The Apple Genius Bar London: Portrait
© Dixie Dixon

She urges new photographers to shoot lots of styles/subjects for a while, but as soon as you know what style you want to shoot only to publish work in that genre so that your clients get to know you as being excellent in that area alone. Also, she said not to flood your profile with hundreds of shots, rather to keep the photo numbers down as clients won’t spend that long looking at your portfolio. 

Other ideas from Dixie also included putting Vaseline on a filter's edge to soften a shoot and to try out low light, f/1.4 shoots with hand-held LED lights.

I asked her what and where her ideal next shoot would be and her answer was that it would be for Sports Illustrated on a warm sunny beach - she loves fashion photography.

Dixie Dixon At The Apple Genius Bar London: Dixie Dixon
© Stuart Fawcett

Right at the beginning I did mention a second part to this article and it’s that this is the second time I’m aware of G-technology producing a little photographic hints booklet given out at these events with some real gems of knowledge (the first was around extreme sport photographer Lucas Gilman whose interview you can see in ePHOTOzine's article section). Now I’m wondering if the people behind these back-up storage drives are themselves keen photographers? I hope so as I’d like to see more of these booklets in the future based around their team members

Article and last picture © Stuart Fawcett (JackAllTog)

MPB Start Shopping

Support this site by purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, MPB. It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.


Other articles you might find interesting...

Free Entry Tickets For The London Photo Trade Show And Convention 2024
Get Hands-On With Bluetti Power Generators At Solar & Storag...
Best Amazon Prime Day Photography Deals 2023
Dig Deep! The 42nd Leitz Photographica Auction Is Set To Tak...
'The Hole World' Is A Free Pinhole Photography Event You Can Join
Nikon Is The Future
London Photo Convention Live Stage Speakers Announced
Pre Register for FREE The Societies' 2023 London Photo Conve...

There are no comments here! Be the first!


You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.