Pictures that chart a photographers success

Oct 22, 2008 | Business, Flash, Wedding | 21 comments

I recently had the good fortune to come across a set of pictures by Chris Hanley that made me go ‘wow’. I want to share a selection of these pictures with you, plus the thoughts and ideas behind the man himself who created them.


"There is a down lighter set into the ceiling creating the top light on the model and I used a zoomed in speedlight bouncing into a Lastolite sunfire reflector back onto her face - This created the tight spot of diffused light." Nikon D300 in manual mode, ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/80th second, and 70mm lens.

Damien Lovegrove Interviews Chris Hanley…

What was the purpose of the shoot?
Several really. We wanted to develop a relationship with an exclusive fashion store called Timeless Bride in Poynton. It’s a new, upmarket shop right in the heart of our target catchment area. We approached them and discovered they too wanted to target the city types in Manchester, so we suggested a collaborative fashion shoot project and they set about contacting the fabulous Hilton. An approach by a fashion house is definitely better than one from a photographer. We also teamed up with GreenEarth florists, Hairlines (Hair and Make up) and Stephen Muldoon a bespoke tailor.

Backlit with video light behind her and to left of frame. All natural daylight coming from revolving doors in foyer. This dress makes the shape of the models body look amazing.

"This shot is backlit with a Lowell video light from behind and to left of the frame. There was natural daylight coming from revolving doors in foyer on the right. This dress really enhances the models body shape, she looks amazing!" Nikon D300, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/50th second.

Where was the location?
The Hilton Hotel, Manchester. We had to jump through several hoops to gain partially restricted access but the rewards of determination were well worth it.


"This picture was lit using one of my favorite Nikon technique: Off camera flash - zoomed in to 105mm with the camera in program mode (+ 3 stops on the flash and - 2 stops of ambient exposure set on camera)."

Where will these pictures be used?
We’ll use the pictures on our website. It’s a British take on the ‘trash the dress’ theme popularised in the US. They will also be used in the ‘Timeless Bride’ shop to advertise their dresses and of course Hanley photography. The florists and makeup/hair artists shops will feature the pictures too. ‘Timeless Bride’ has full page adverts for next three months in magazines called Live Cheshire and Live Manchester and my pictures will feature in the ads.

In Cloud 23 bar. Lit with off camera flash on the left and up high and pointing to Lastolite Sunfire reflector on the right and quite low.

"This picture was taken in the stunning Cloud 23 bar. Lit with off camera flash high on the left pointing to the Lastolite Sunfire reflector on the right and quite low." ISO 200, f/13, 1/250th second, with the camera set to Program mode. -1 stop of ambient exposure compensation.

How did you find your models?
We used professional models provided by Timeless Brides – they gave us time for promotional pics provided on CD.

Where do you go from here?
“We will get our clients to make a weekend of it – They get to stay at the Hilton Hotel for the weekend and have their ‘Cherish The Dress’ shoot on either the Saturday or Sunday”. Says Chris.

This fabulous picture was lit with glancing daylight from the corridor to the left.

"This fabulous picture was lit with glancing daylight from the corridor to the left." ISO 400, 1/20th second, f/4, manual mode.


Great fun, great looks, great dress, great location all captured beautifully. Well done Chris! ISO 200, f/13, 1/250th second, with a splash of flash.

Visit Chris’s Cherish the Dress website here to see the amazing night shoot pictures – Wow!

Visit Chris’s Blog here

Please feel free to add your comments on these pictures and the business strategy that Chris has employed.  Damien.


  1. JM

    Amazing Images, I like to read how other photographers create images. Thanks for sharing.

  2. photographe

    it s beautiful

    jean christophe

    • damien

      Thanks James and jean christophe :)

  3. Stefan Tell

    Great post, I love it when some information around and behind the picture is shared, it gets more interesting that way. Thanks.

  4. Chris

    Thanks for the kind words……………why not join us on a workshop in Manchester or Tuscany :)

  5. Steve Causon

    Cherish the Dress… So much more appropriate, positive and ‘British’ than “Trash the dress.” From a neuro-linguistic point of view it’s brilliant! Nice pics too!!


  6. Steve

    Wow – Nice pics.

  7. Dave Causon

    Amazing pics! Perfect lighting.

  8. Stuart

    Thanks Damien for the reply I thought that is what you meant, I wasnt being pedantic or anything just wanted to make sure.

  9. Chris

    Thank you everyone for your very kind comments. Sean, the video light is a lowel video light which I got from prokit in London
    Anyone needs any more detailed info by all means call or e-mail me

    Thanks again everyone

  10. Pat

    Great images and excellent idea joining up with a local bridal shop especially as they seem to have done all the hard leg work :-)

    An interesting take on the Trash The Dress theme.

    I’m sure all the businesses will do very well from there joint venture.


  11. damien

    Hi Stuart,

    Yes, You are right, I mean -2 stops of exposure compensation.


  12. Coventry Bob

    Wow. What extraordinary talent we have in this country. Great to see stunning images on a british wedding photographers website. Damien’s website not withstanding. What an inspiration to us all.

  13. Stuart

    When you talk about

    “and – 2 stops of ambient exposure set on camera).””

    are you referring to just -2 stops exposure compensation?

  14. Dave

    Great images backed up with useful information of how it was achieved.

    Wonderfuly inspiring – Thank you so much.

  15. Paul Hurst

    Lovely images. I think Cherish the Dress is far better for the UK market. A nice twist.

  16. Angela Stubbs

    Simply beautiful, Chris. Personally I would never have considered trashing MY dress, but Cherish is a fantastic idea and would be such a special experience.
    Stunning work – as usual!


  17. Sean Bolton

    Excellent images, very well lit and great use of the location. I like the use of the video light for backlighting, I assume it is one of the small portable lights that bolts to a video camera.

    The posh version of the Trash the Dress shoot is a good one and ideally suited to the British market. Something a little more restrained and dignified compared to some of the whacky TTD videos you can see on Vimeo or youTube.

    A good business strategy to tie-in with the bridal shop, lots of referals (hopefully) and the image will speak for themselves. Nice work.



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