My three favourite shoots: Kid Circus on the content that made him

A fashion and beauty photographer's most memorable assignments – and the lessons he learnt from them.
Fashion photographer Kid Circus looks at the camera as he holds a Canon EOS R5 in his hands.

For fashion and beauty photographer Kid Circus, he wants the camera to become an extension of his hand so that he can focus on capturing the moment – which is particularly important when he needs to think on his feet during a shoot. His trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is always by his side, but the two Canon EOS R System cameras he recently used as part of the Canon Europe Learning Series on YouTube also make for ideal choices here.

In the ever-evolving world of fashion photography, where artistry merges with imagination, not everything is always as it seems. The end product may be ethereal editorials and captivating couture campaigns, but the story behind the shoots can be as awe-inspiring as the creations.

Kid Circus is a photographer who puts a lot of value on the people in front of and behind his lens. Once you hear his vivid stories of the atmosphere behind the shoots, it's no surprise that the resulting images are infused with personality.

"I think you have to remember that it's a small industry," he says. "I think a lot of people forget that. But if you work well with people, and people regard you in a good light, they are more likely to recommend you to other people." And what's more, it impacts the quality of the images you walk away with.

Following his fashion and beauty tips in the Canon Learning Series on YouTube, we asked Kid to share his journey into fashion photography, and the shoots that have stood out as his most memorable and made him the photographer he is today. He also shares how he draws inspiration from the minds and mechanics behind the glossy images and bring to life the components he believes matter most.

Four brightly dressed people sit around a table eating, against a bright blue background, in an image by Kid Circus.

Colour rendition is one of Kid's main kit considerations, along with an easy menu layout, and ergonomics. Colour was a particularly important focus during this food-meets-fashion shoot that needed to pop, complementing the company's bold new branding. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 44mm, 1/160 sec, f/7 and ISO 2000. © Kid Circus

Fashion meets food

Kid has worked with two food brands, despite being a fashion photographer – and it was the second such shoot he cites as one of his most memorable. "It was with someone with a background as a chef," he explains. "He set up a ready meals company based on his travels around the world." During a rebrand, he'd moved from functional brown paper packaging to bright primary colours and arresting graphic design – and he needed new photography to go with it. "He found me on social media, having seen the shoot I'd done for another food brand the year before." Kid's fashion portfolio, with his fledgling food photography experience, made him the perfect choice for the "fashion meets food" brief.

On fashion shoots, an art director or client can often take lead on creative direction. "What I loved about this is that he really leaned on me a bit for the creative direction, as well as just turning up with a camera," explains Kid. "The only brief he gave was that he wanted it to be like a real-life setting."

Kid immediately understood what the client wanted to achieve. "I saw some sketches he'd had, and knew immediately which set designers to recommend to him: they're called the Set Sisters," he says. "It wasn't just about product shots of the actual food and plates; it was about models interacting with food. He wanted everyone to look like they were genuinely having a fun night in with their friends, but they just happened to be on a colourful set wearing tailored suits."

Two sets, and many models later, it promised to be one of Kid's favourite shoots – although it had its challenges. "It was a studio more suited to food photography and still life," he says. "What we needed was a big white studio with one studio set at one end, one set at the other, so that we could walk between the two." Instead, the team had to shoot one set, and then work to rebuild it for the second "scene" with six models, a food stylist, the lighting technician with her three-man team, the makeup artist, hair stylist, Kid, two studio assistants, and the videographer.

But it was, in part, the size of the team which Kid credits as a key takeaway from the day. "It's one of those situations, with so many people on set, where you really need people on set to work together," he says. "It just takes one person to show up in a bad mood to ruin the atmosphere on set, or just set you back in ways that you don't really see until you haven't captured everything. And everyone, given how many people there were, everyone worked so well together and the footage came out amazingly."

Kid was shooting on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with his workhorse Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. But it was the atmosphere he credits with elevating his imagery. "Over the course of that day I think we all had this great working energy between us: mildly humorous energy, and I think it definitely came through in a lot of the final results," he says.

A man holding a Canon camera smiles and talks to another man.

Canon Learning Series on YouTube

From portraits to wildlife, flash to editing, master your skills in photography and video with our latest video series.
A pair of legs wearing a dark skirt and black boots stands on a cliffside in an image by Kid Circus.

Despite a missing model and no wardrobe at the start of this shoot day, Kid managed to walk away with images that secured him a second job with the client. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 35mm, 1/1000 sec, f/6.3 and ISO 640. © Kid Circus

The missing model

"This shoot was for a shoe brand based in Spain," says Kid of his second most memorable shoot. "They'd seen an editorial I'd shot at Seven Sisters cliffs in Sussex a few years ago and decided they wanted an English seafront setting for a brand shoot."

Fashion samples were sent over from Spain, and the producer booked an experienced, well-established model. "She'd had a really successful career in the 90s and early 2000s and was perfect for this shoot," he says. "We had it all organised."

But despite the best intentions and well-laid plans, the day didn't start off well. "We drove across London to pick the model up, only to find that she wasn't there – she got the day wrong and was two hours outside of London, apologising profusely!"

The client had a hard deadline, so Kid and his team had to get resourceful. The model was also due to style herself, so they'd lost a model and her wardrobe in one fell swoop. Kid has many model connections, but at such short notice, options were limited. "I looked at my producer, Ari, and said, 'Maybe we could do you as the model'," says Kid. She was a foot shorter than the model, but she agreed. "We went to the nearest place we could go to get some decent clothes – a shopping centre in Kingston – spent £700 on clothes, and zipped off to Sussex."

Against the odds, the team shot everything they needed in record time. "It worked and the company loved it – they wanted to work with us again on some other shoots," says Kid. The lesson? "You get these little moments of drama and it's how you deal with them that matters. You have to be adaptable. You can't sit there crying into your flat white. You just have to just get on and see how you can solve this problem."

Inside two fashion photographers' kitbags

Fashion photographers Kid Circus and Jaroslav Monchak share with us their must-have kit.
A close-up of a person's head and shoulders for a beauty shoot by Kid Circus.

This was Kid's second ever beauty shoot – and things came together so well that it's still generating him work to this day. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM lens at 53mm, 1/125 sec, f/8 and ISO 100. © Kid Circus

Tomi Adebayo and Kid Circus stand next to each other, smiling, Kid holding a Canon camera.

Kid Circus spoke to Tomi Adebayo about his career in fashion photography and how he achieves his standout portraits for the Canon Europe Learning Series on YouTube.

When magic happens

The third of Kid's stories isn't one of calamity and triumph. "It was one of these shoots where everything just came together," he says. It was his second ever beauty shoot, with the first shot an extensive 18 months prior.

"I'd connected with an amazing makeup artist who then got an amazing hairstylist, and we had this idea of very sculpted hairstyles as part of this beauty shoot," he explains. "The makeup artist managed to source a model from a really top agency – somebody I never thought I'd get a chance to work with."

But it wasn't just the talent, it was the team on set that made this shoot stand out. "The teamwork on this shoot was just amazing," says Kid. "We all worked really well together. We had a model who was way more expressive than we were asking. The hairstyles, makeup artist, mode: those three elements just worked together so well on the day and I believe it's reflected in the results. It was so hard to narrow down our selection."


The attention the resulting images has generated is still creating work for Kid. "That shoot got me a job with a beauty brand, and interest for other jobs," he says. "Every time I post those pictures, the amount of comments I get is quite incredible."

For this shoot, it wasn't overcoming the challenges that stood out as the key takeaway, it was the importance of working with the right team. For Kid, it's part of the learning journey. "When you get good people who really are good at that thing they do, it makes you want to step up your game," he says.

In conclusion, it's more than the kit that matters to Kid: it's the team, and the right attitude that you need to succeed in the world of fashion and beauty photography.

For more inspiration and advice from Kid Circus and other content creators, check out the Canon Europe Learning Series playlist on YouTube.

Emma-Lily Pendleton

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