Dancing with Katelyn – The Evil Doll

Katelyn is one of those persons, you wished you had met much much earlier.  I put out a call out to a dance company based Northamptonshire called Love Ballet asking if they had any dancers that might like a free photoshoot/videoshoot in return for me using the images for my own marketing. This is how I met this incredible young lady whom I have now been working with, for the past year.  Her dedication to her dance as well as her schooling is off the planet. I have never met such a hardworking young lady of her age. She is disciplined, polite, hard working and always on time. Her work rate is just awesome!  Anyways, this the 4th  or 5th shoot I have had with Katelyn and it was decided to do some standard ballet poses and have a bit of fun doing a “evil doll” look with the help of the fantastic makeup and hair stylist Cleo Young.

Shoot Ideas

Whilst perusing the web for ideas on my next shoot with the young ballet dancer Katelyn. I came across an image of an “Evil Doll”, which I thought looked a little like Katelyn herself. Although, it must be said that Katelyn is not evil at all. She is just a bundle of loveliness. I immediately got in contact with Katelyn’s mum (Debbie) who it has to be said, makes the most awesomely awesome BLT sandwiches. They are so thick, you need a fork lift truck to move them.Anyway, I provided Debbie with some images of the suggested clothing and she set about finding and buying the bits and bobs required. On top of this, I wanted Katelyn to mime to a song called “Hurricane” by “Mrs Mr”. I heard through the grapevine, that Katelyn practised her miming quite seriously. (Pity, I could not have capture that on video).

The studio I selected, was the Natural Light Spaces studio in Weedon, Northamptonshire. An old ex royal ordnance site, that was originally built to hold the ammunition for the fight against Napoleon and I believe was used by the military/UK government right up until 1983. These huge buildings have just tons of open space and the natural light streams in via a number of tall windows. Although, in this instance we used studio lighting, a black backdrop, an old curtain and an old Victorian bath. Tris, the owner was on hand to help moving and positioning the lights as he always is.


Makeup Artist

For the makeup and hair, I chose the brilliant Cleo Young who performs magic with her hair and makeup skills and comes highly recommended by me.  I briefed Cleo on the look and showed her the images, asking her to use the look as a base, but to add her own look and feel. But, at the same time keeping within the original idea. Something she always manages to do!  She comes from Bedfordshire and she began her make up career almost 10 years ago when she decided to take a makeup course and since that day, her makeup skills have gone from strength to strength. She has also recently completed a HND (Higher National Degree) in specialist makeup. Her makeup journey has consisted of theatre , media , bridal, occasional, teaching, fashion, yes, you name it, she has done it and that has made her services very extensive. There is not a particular area of makeup she prefer to others, she just loves all makeup.

The mission (shoot) commenced at 10:00hrs on the 8th September (2018) and Katelyn arrived on time with a big grin, courtesy of her private taxi service called “mum”.  We then went over what was going to happen. Although, that is quite difficult with Katelyn as she never stays still for more than 10 seconds. I sometimes find it a challenge having a conversation with her, one second, she is there and the next she is circling you, on-point whilst eating a banana or one of her legs will just rise up above her head as if being pulled up by string. It’s quiet disconcerting, when I can’t get my own foot above my own knee.

Cleo arrived on time with her box of magical colours, brushes and hair bits & bobs and set about transforming Katelyn’s angelic looks to an evil looking doll, which only took about 30 seconds – only joking. Cleo spent about an hour on Katelyn’s look and both Katelyn and I were in awe of the finished look.

This next portion of text has been provided by Cleo, herself …
I did not require much makeup at all for this look as it was quite a simple Halloween look with a pale face and the dark creepy eyes. With this look, I felt the hair was going to take the most time to prepare. I began with using a hot wand and began curling small strands of hair working from the back to the top. Once I finished,  I sprayed the hair with V05 hairspray and left it to cool down and set. The face, I began with darkening of the eyes with illumasqua  gel eyeliner on the waterline and on the outline of the eye. I smudged the eyeliner out and using Morphe pallet 39A  using muse, I blended the black eyes out further.  I then moved onto the skin and using Illamasqua SB8.5  and Illumasqua skin base, I lightened the foundation to a almost white colour and applied to Katelyn skin. This was a great method, because it was a off white, which suited the camera well. Once I was happy with the foundation, I set the look with Illamasqua translucent powder. I then went back in with my Morphe pallet, using colours Evolve and snatched, I  added some definition to the black ringed eyes and ensured the black rings reached Katelyn’s eyebrows to disguise them.
Moving back to finish the hair using a fluff brush. I began from the nape of the hair working my way to the front taking small amounts and lightly backcombing the hair ensuring I was keeping some of the curls in place. This added volume as desired. With Katelyn’s natural hair being long very straight and flat I believe it was an accomplishment that we got the volume we desired for the shoot in such a small amount of time. Katelyn was now ready to shoot, over to you Mike.  The shoot was great, I stayed on set to adjust clothes, touch ups to makeup and re buff the hair where it was needed. Katelyn mum was on set with us and she kindly bought along some nibbles . So,  when I was not helping Mike,  I was found on the “big hand shaped” chair munching on Katelyn mum’s homemade coconut biscuits, Now, thats what I call a perfect shoot.




Set One – The Exorcist Look

I know Katelyn practiced a lot at home on this one, using her own stairs. I wanted to mimic the infamous spider walk from the film “The Exorcist” where the scene, which was cut from the finished movie, is of the possessed girl walking upside down like a spider. I was amazed that Katelyn managed to do this and I have a short video (above), it looks even more amazing and spooky when the film is flipped upside down.


Creative Dance Photography


Set Two – The Peep Curtain

By this time Katelyn was really getting into the character, relaxing and enjoying herself. This set was to be a half face shot, although it turned into a full-face picture, using a curtain to peep out from. Katelyn somehow managed to double the size of her eyes, that combined with Cleo’s dark eye make-up exaggerated them a lot. Come to think of it she also managed quite a creepy looking smile. Or maybe it was too many Crunchies ??


Set Three – The Victorian Bath

This was where we used the old Victorian bath and positioned her sitting up. But, with her legs dangling over the edge. I said to Katelyn, open your legs and then these two feet just appeared at either end of the bath, with no suggestion of any discomfort from Katelyn. It spooky terms, it just didn’t look right and that was what I was after. In fact, they look liked someone else’s feet, I can assure you though, that Katelyn was the only one in the bath.


Set 5 – Standard Ballet Poses

 These involved some relatively easy poses for Katelyn which included some, to show off her improving muscle tone. We also did some nice beauty, I guess you can call them, poses and one or two aerial shots as can be seen below.


Dance Photography




The day was exhausting. But extremely enjoyable, I think Katelyn & her mum enjoyed the day as we had a good laugh. The doll shoot was a bit of fun to be had after the days Ballet poses. Although saying that, I will incorporate that element of the shoot into the video as it was too much fun to omit any of it. Katelyn’s mum, Debbie brought along her famous BLT’s sandwiches as well home made coconut cookies, Crunchies and plain chocolate McVities digestive biscuits, OMG, I love that woman …

Next shoot with this young lady is early next year …. I cannot wait!








About Me

Hi. I’m Mike, owner of Creativus Imago Photography, based in South West France (Dordogne) and the UK.

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