12 November 2010

Some autumnal parkland and urban portraiture - part 2

Following on from yesterday's post which covered the first part of my recent shoot with AnneT, here is your final installment from the session.....

As we were finishing up in the park by the 'green wall', the weather took the turn that it had been threatening all morning and it started raining.  Luckily we'd got all the outdoor open air shots we were after so we dived into the cars and headed into Watford's town centre to our second location.  I'd got the inspiration for this location from a fellow member of the Watford UK Photographers flickr group who had posted a shot taken there a few weeks back.  Knowing that my shoot with Anne was coming up I went down and checked out the location a few days before we met up to make sure it was what I was after.  It turned out to be even better than I was expecting with lots of potential areas to shoot in for a good range of looks.  Best of all - especially given the weather we were now experiencing, the area was totally under cover and allowed us to stay dry!  The location was on quite a busy route from the town centre to one of the main retail parks in Watford so we got our fair share of interested onlookers here too but Anne took it all in her stride!

Once I'd worked out where we were going to shoot first of all, I went about setting up a couple of flashes on stands - one of which I was using a red gel on to give a bit of interest to the flyover we were shooting underneath.  This gelled light also ended up giving a very funky red 'rim light' to Anne in a few of the shots to balance the light from the main flash I was using.

Anyway, here are a few of the shots I captured:
Anne gives a moody look to the location

A gritty urban location brightened up by Anne and a splash of flash

Just enough of a hint of the red glow behind Anne to give added interest to this shot
By moving Anne just a few yards to one of the other pillars, I was able to take advantage of the little ambient light that was available to get some great, naturally lit portraits of her.  A simple boost of the camera's ISO and a bit of exposure compensation let me achieve the look I was after - beauty in the urban chaos:
A simple mono conversion gives this shot the look I was after.

A bit of cross-processing to give more of a gritty, urban look.
Overall I was really pleased with how well the morning went and I know that Anne enjoyed the shoot and loves the pictures.  Mission accomplished I guess!

My recent urban portraiture shoots have given me added enthusiasm for getting out of the studio setting and experimenting a bit more with what is there on our doorsteps.  Hopefully I'll be able to undertake a few more of these style of shoots soon and I already have a couple more potential locations to scout out which I think could give really interesting backdrops.

You can view a complete set of my favourite images from the shoot with AnneT on my flickr photostream.

11 November 2010

Some autumnal parkland and urban portraiture - part 1

I've just finished editing a set of photos taken at the end of last week from an outdoor portrait shoot I had arranged with AnneT. 

With potentially quite a wet day forecast, I was quite relieved to find just an overcast morning as I arrived at the first location in Cassiobury Park, Watford.  As I was a bit early I had a quick chance to recce a couple of locations in the park before Anne arrived.  The area I had hoped to use which I'd come across the week before and which had a lovely carpet of fallen autumn leaves had been all cleared up so there were no leaves at all!!  Thinking quickly and taking into account the ideas I'd got in my mind for the shoot, I was able to come up with an alternative location in the park which would fit the bill just fine.

Once Anne arrived, we headed up to the area I had in mind and talked over the look I was trying to create.  Anne had brought a selection of outfits and footwear so we'd be able to get a good variety of looks during the session.  Our first location was a long avenue of trees which gave a wonderful autumnal look and just what I was trying to create.

Our first location
We got a few frames here before just a quick and simple switch from one side of the tree to the other gave a bit of a different perspective.  Here's a shot from just the other side of the tree:

A simple change for a bit of a different look
Next we moved just 50 or so yards from our initial location and I was able to get this wonderful warm looking shot under the canopy of trees - even though it was a grey, overcast, cold November morning!

Recreating a sunny autumnal day on what was an overcast morning
After getting a few shots of Anne walking through and kicking up the golden leaf fall, we headed over to a more man made backdrop of a vibrant green wall on one of the park buildings.  I've been wanting to get some shots at this location for quite some time now and this shoot was the perfect opportunity to try out some ideas.

Anne created more of an 'urban chic' look to complement the new location and after setting up some off camera flash, I was able to get shooting.  We got a few bemused looks from several of the dog walkers visiting the park and a group of school children also took a bit of an interest in what we were doing!!

Here are a few shots from the 'green wall' location:

Anne struts her stuff!

A simple splash of off-camera flash to give a bit more kick to the image
For our final location shoot of the day, we headed into the town centre of Watford for an altogether different look but more of that in the next couple of days.......

4 November 2010

London Strobist Photoshoot

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to get myself a place on the monthly London Strobist Meetup Group's photoshoot.  Due to overwhelming demand the shoot filled up within 2 hours of it being announced and I was originally number five on the reserves list.  I gradually worked my way up the list as people dropped out and eventually I was in!

The organisers had hired a nightclub under the arches in Vauxhall for the day for us to use.  The ambient lighting was going to be very dark to say the least so photographers were even advised to bring small torches to aid focussing in the challenging conditions.

Upon arrival the photographers started sussing out potential areas to shoot in and teamed up into pairs to begin setting up.  I teamed up with fellow group newbie Jon White and we discussed lighting setups before we started shooting a couple of the models who were free.

As the day progressed, our confidence grew and we tried different lighting ideas and techniques and got to shoot a selection of models.  I was keen to try out my Orbis Ringflash adaptor which I've had for a while now but not got round to properly using.  I ended up getting some great results from it and am sure that it will now get the use that it deserves!

I'm definitely going to make it to some more of the groups shoots as it is a great way to share ideas and learn from other photographers.