showcasing the best of the south west

Eaton and Woods

When portrait photographers Melanie Woods and Nikki Eaton set up their partnership Eaton and Woods in Somerset four years ago they decided that initially they would shoot each subject together. It was a genius decision for their collaboration spawned an offbeat and highly individual style which sets them apart. Melanie says: ‘We are two artists with different styles but our approach is similar. We both like to work in natural settings with outdoor light and we are always looking for something quirky and not too staged.’ The results – as you can see here – are mesmerising.  There is a sense of timelessness in their shots and always a uniqueness of character, no forced smiles, no cloying, clichéd gimmicks. The end game is to reveal the subject's interior in a way that might be quirky, irrepressible or touching and always slightly unexpected. When Eaton and Woods turn up for a shoot their subjects quickly learn to relax. With two photographers snapping away – one on close-ups, perhaps, the other taking group shots – they stop worrying about which lens to look into and start to reveal themselves. As with the best photography their pictures seem to tell a story. Look at the wonderful photograph of the girl pictured with her father and dog or the evocative image of a  mother surrounded by her children which feels both contemporary and period, it might just as easily have been taken in the 1940s. Eaton and Woods will take around 400 stills on an average two hour shoot, then they’ll pore over the editing process together. The results are always surprising. Melanie says: ‘When you start looking through you see how differently we might approach the same subject. One of us might have been working on close up and the other will have got a great profile shot.' The pair insist on keeping things natural. They might take their subjects on a walk or simply photograph them at home in the garden. Mel says: 'For the first half hour you just click away and then people realise that actually they are having fun so they begin to relax. That's when you get the best shots.' Although much of their work centres around children (both are mothers) they also shoot individuals, families, animals and landscapes. Prices start at £95 for the photo shoot and £40 per image.

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