Half a year delay

Oops, not kept this thing up to date. Not that anyone reads it of course, but it’s nice to think I am not just talking to myself…..

Since my last update I have shot loads, so here is a quick rundown of what, and why and a bit of how….

Chloe

I had been trying to get outside of the studio a bit and shoot in real locations, this set was shot at the models house, I went for a naturalistic, slightly voyeuristic look by framing in the door, I directed Chloe to ignore the camera for a number of shots and then engage.

Lighting for the set is mainly natural, the white sheets and walls provide a simple reflector, filling in the shadows.

The above shot is the same setup but with the settings tweaked a bit in Photoshop, a lot of the colour was removed from the images to help even out the tones. Half the light in the scene was provided by Chloe’s smile. The rest of the set can be seen here.

Ivana

I had been meaning to shoot more test footage for some motion portraits so I got in touch with Ivana, again shooting at her home to provide a real backdrop. I was using the Canon 7d with Zeiss prime lenses and a Zacuto shoulder rig for the video and I used the lenses for a few stills too. Stunning image quality but darn hard to focus with.

The above image was shot using natural light through a large bay window, shot on the Zeiss 85mm, the depth of field is pretty much from the front of her eyelashes to the front of her eye!

Again the above image is natural light with some available light to fill the background, colours were kept warm and slightly muted, Ivana has fantastic hair which is better shown off in the video, which can be found at this link.

Jill

The next shoot was with Jill, I was trying to maintain a theme across a couple of shoots, so I aimed for a very similar style to the shoot with Chloe, shot on location, natural even light and muted colours.

The above image was lit with a single flash head and kept very soft for a more natural image. The walls in the room took care of the fill. The rest of the set can be found here.

Holly and Katy

Next up was a studio day shoot with Ivory Flame and Katy Pectin, both awesome models, and the location was a bar with lots of cool backdrops. I wanted to get the ringflash out and shoot something a bit different to my previous shoots with Holly.

Not really much to say about ringflash, test shot for exposure, start boshing out the images, changing the light power if you move forward or back.

I also wanted to use the awesome wooden floors in the place, the light is coming from a window behind and a large softbox in front of Holly, again the processing removed a lot of the colour.

Next up was Katy, who has a dance background which is kind of obvious from this image.

Lighting was a simple softbox to one side, the processing consisted of balancing the contrast and exposure out.

This image was shot with natural light only coming through a tall narrow window, the curtains in the background give a very soft light into the back of the image too.

Then it all went a bit nuts and we shot some accidental raunchy images! We were talking about horror films at the time so not sure where this came from, I do admit to getting Katy to bite her own arm though. More images from the day can be found here and here.

FireSecret

Next up was a studio shoot, I did a few on similar themes to previous shoots with natural light and desaturation. I also chucked a few chairs around.

Ringflash and a backlight completed this shot, the carpet was red but that was a bit distracting in the image, I like this contrasty look.

Then I shot on the funky red carpet, processing includes removing loads of the colour but retaining the red and adding a pale vignette.

Raphaella

Next up was my first shoot with Raphaella, who is quite simply amazing, she works so much I had shot every card I own, I even had to go back to my old 512MB and 1GB cards, you can only get 16 shots on these with a 5D! My intention had been to spend the whole day up an a hill near the place I grew up, but it rained non stop all morning so the contingency plan was to shoot in the house I grew up in, we only used one room that had been emptied due to an imminent house move. It’s amazing to see the amount that can be shot in a very limited space.

This was all natural light with a load of processing to remove colour and control the contrast in the image.

Then the complete opposite with some crazy ringflash, the contrast of the purple to the muted colours works really nicely for me and I was trying to shoot at all sorts of odd angles, the camera was upside down for a good few shots…

Then back to a softer look for this one, it is a combination of natural light and fill flash, the room is an attic room so the roof slopes in almost from the floor and provides an amazing reflector, an on camera flash was pointed back to the roof and shot with TTL metering. I love the tones and textures in the above shot. It is actually one of my favourite shots I have ever taken.

With the same lighting, the natural light is giving nice shape and direction to the lighting and the fill is just evening out the contrast.

The ringflash came out again for some gritty, contrasty shots. The second shot shows how Raphaella can really express emotions for the camera with a simple look. Once we had shot all of these the rain was just about stopping so we headed out for the location, a fantastic old sandstone hill, with a quarry and loads of really good woodland.

Natural light only, I used my 70-200 lens and shot through some leaves to give more depth, foreground, subject and background.

Some more natural light, standing Raphaella in a beam of light coming through the clouds helps to pick her out as the background is out of the sunlight.

We headed to the quarry and shot loads of dance poses, these are natural light helped out with a flash off to camera right, I shot wide to show the scale and closer to concentrate on Raphaella.

We shot up on some of the rock outcrops, the light was filtering through the treetops perfectly and really gave some shape to these images. I was shattered at the end of the day but still had to back up and organise 36GB of images. I normally end up with about 15 – 20 useable images from a day, I had about 100 from this shoot!

Cat and Katy

The next shoot was going to be 2 models in one day. I shot at Barones again in Wolverhampton, which is a great space for natural and artificial light shots. The first set was with Cat, a fitness model who puts my exercise regime to shame. She has amazing eyes so I obviously needed to focus on that. Becky was in doing the makeup and the idea was to shoot super contrasty images with loads of detail burned out.

The light was all ringflash and the burning out of the detail is simply done by overexposing slightly, as all the light is coming from the front very little detail is picked up in the skin.

Then using the same makeup I shot some natural light images, the walls surrounding the area are white so a really nice fill light is created and those eyes pounce of the image…..Hang on I don’t have a fitness regime….Next up I shot Katy, she is an English model living in America, but she tours around a lot. She specialises in Art Nude so that is what we shot….I used as much natural light as possible.

Both the above are simply natural light through the window, I have allowed space in the frame to see the source of the light and show the texture of the building.

Then we broke out the lights and Katy threw some crazy shapes on the wall, Light is a single large octa softbox. I have avoided removing the paper rolls at the top of the frame for reasons that are beyond me, I just prefer the shots that way??? The rest of the sets can be found here and here.

Caroline

Caroline contacted me for a shoot and I had Hallam Mill in Stockport booked. It is an amazing space, an old warehouse with epic amounts of natural light coming through the windows.  The majority of shots were natural light only, I experimented a bit with crazy framing, strange focus and flaring the light. A style I really like.

This was natural light with a reflector bunged in, the backlight has flared into the lens and washed out the image. I also got Caroline to pose slightly awkwardly with her feet turned in.

The image above was one of my attempts at odd posing, simply having the model looking away from the camera, turning the shot into more of an environmental portrait, again all natural light, as the two corners of the building have windows you get a version of key and fill lighting (if I had been on the other side of Caroline that is). In this case they create a rim light that gives loads of shape to Carolines outline, the fall off in focus also helps to make her stand out.

This next one was an attempt to alter the focal point, obviously the model should be in focus….or should she. I like the depth that this technique creates. More of this set can be found here.

Colleen

I wanted to shoot some more motion portrait tests so I banged out a casting call. Colleen responded, I had seen a lot of her work before and had wanted to sort out a shoot anyway, the main focus of the day was the videos but I also did some stills. I will talk in detail about the vids on another post.

The above image surprised me a bit, when it went up it was responsible for quadrupling the number of people viewing my flickr! It is simply ringflash, natural light and an awesome model.

An awesome model who is quite tricky to keep up with 🙂 This is another of my fave images, although it is slightly bonkers, the subject is hardly in the shot and her feet seem to be coming in at an impossible angle. But I love it. The rest of the set is here. The videos can be found on Vimeo.

Alice

I got the opportunity to shoot with Alice which was fantastic as it gave me an opportunity to shoot some real varied stuff. She is very creative and open to all sorts of ideas, there is a shot somewhere out there of her cutting a fish up on a bandsaw! Alice had some fantastic locations nearby which were really inspirational.

The first was a scrapyard filled with textured backdrops, muted colours and all sorts of fun stuff, the above shot was purely natural light with colours aged in Photoshop.

We also went to this fantastic old glasshouse. Most of the windows were broken, we started off shooting inside and I was struggling to find the right angle to shoot from. I stepped outside and saw the frosted look to the dirty glass and shooting Alice obscured from the waist up and diffused through the glass provided an interesting slant on the idea of shooting the subject out of focus. The rest of the set can be found here.

Jen

I had been talking to Jen for a long time about sorting out a shoot. I wanted to do some classy glam images. I used another real location and got Becky Hunting in for the makeup. Jens other half was there too, so I took the opportunity to bung him in some shots.

The above was shot using two lights, a beauty dish was fired across the room at Stu, and a small softbox at fairly low power was aimed at Jen, you can see the different quality of light from the shadows on the floor.

Then I shot the opposite, Jen in the foreground, I cranked up the power of the softbox and kept it fairly close to a front on light for Jen. The rest of the set can be found here.

Raphaella 2

I sorted out another shoot with Raph in Hallam Mill again. She is fantastic to work with in a very freeform way, the natural light really helps to be flexible with movement and framing. Many of the shots I used from this set were outside the area that I had lit. I preferred the captured moments, and the slightly chaotic shots with lights and stuff still in the background. I tried to shoot more images that took advantage of Raphaella’s dance background.

This is shot using the corner windows in Hallam again with the stunning wrap around light, giving the edge lighting.

This set was actually shot quite close to the end of the day, the sun was coming straight through this window so I shot straight into it, which meant I couldn’t see properly for quite a while!

The above shot was simply natural light again and Raph’s awesome dance skills and graceful posing.

Another shot showing her amazing ability to perform, although her face is almost hidden in the shadows the emotion still comes across.

The above shot was one of the captured moments. We had shot by a mirror on the floor and I was looking for some alternative angles, so I stood up on a chair. Raphaella stood up to stretch her legs and we just started shooting again, there is a beauty dish firing from camera left and natural light from the windows all around.

I jumped off the chair and carried on shooting, this time including the light in the background and allowing it to flare the lens a bit.

We shot a load into this mirror, I love the double image and the breaks in the image caused by the mirror surface, this was the lighting I had set up for the freeform images above.  More from the set can be found here. There is also a video here.

Okay, that is enough for now, a few more shoots from 2010 in another post and then I am going to write one all about my motion portraits. Time for beer and pizza now….

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