Bristol Urban Portraits 8 ~ Pictures and Techniques

Apr 30, 2009 | Flash, Location | 19 comments

A classic Lovegrove shot started the shoot on Tuesday.

A classic Lovegrove shot started the shoot on Tuesday. Eleanor was back lit with hazy sunlight and I rigged a Speedlight vertically on a stand to provide the key. I shot this frame from below the eyeline with a 20mm lens on my Canon 5D mk2. Costa, our start of the day rendezvous point is on the left in the background. Bristol architecture makes a striking backdrop for an urban shoot.

Better weather and some Costa cappuccino gave us a great start to our shooting day on Tuesday. The variety of photographic opportunities available on the streets is fantastic.

A gloss painted piece of shuttering plywood was too good to miss as a background for this on camera flash picture.

A gloss painted piece of shuttering plywood was too good to miss as a background for this on camera flash picture.

A low viewpoint

A low viewpoint and some interesting louvers gives this picture it's simple appeal. I chose a tight crop to the top of the frame to add some tension to the composition.

Cafe lighting was all I used for the next few pictures. We all shot on manual to let us use extreme background tonal values without faffing with varying exposure compensation.

Cafe lighting was all I used for the next few pictures. We all shot on manual to let us use extreme background tonal values without faffing with varying exposure compensation.

I guess we would have needed plus 3 or 4 stops to have

I guess we would have needed plus 3 or 4 stops of exposure compensation to have captured this frame using aperture priority. I love the highlight flare, it is really in vogue at the moment.

Simple bar lights out of focus make a great background. Shooting into the shadowed side of Eleanor

Simple bar lights out of focus make a great background. Shooting into the shadowed side of Eleanor's face is one of the elements that make this shot work. The hair light on the left is from another window.

Back out on the street, it was time for a zoomed on camera Speedlight shot. Marko

Back out on the street, it was time for a zoomed on camera Speedlight shot. Marko used a very narrow colour gamut when he post produced this photograph.

The same graffiti as used as a

Here is the same graffiti as I used as a background on Monday's shoot. This time I used two Speedlights on stands, one as a backlight and one as a key light and I chose to use a wider framing to include the signature text. The extra lighting effort at the taking stage really pays off and I love the result we got from the ST-E2 triggered Speedlights.

The railway sleepers were dry on Tuesday

The railway sleepers were dry on Tuesday so we could take a series of shots like this. Natural light, a 200mm lens and the sun as a backlight are the vital ingredients for this shot.

If you want to be part of an urban portraits shoot, see here for details of the next available workshop.

Please feel free to comment on my pictures and techniques used. – Damien.

19 Comments

  1. Photography San Francisco

    I would say it is my first time viewing your website. Now this is the kinda of stuff i like to read about. Great website. I just finished mine and i was looking for some ideas and you gave me a few. Great read!

    Reply
  2. Ian Freelance

    Hi Gwyn
    Thanks for the e-mail. For the time being I am using Flickr to upload my images. Have uploaded around a hundred images from the day of Eleanor and she has made a selection for her portfolio already. Here is the link if you are interested:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/36669538@N05/

    Regards
    Ian

    Reply
  3. Rory

    Hi Gwyn,

    I am still working on a photo website and will be seeking advice from Damien and his team on this in the future via their photography business training.

    In the meantime, please either click on my name above or contact me on info@rossahillyhouse.com .

    We’re in danger of forming the Lovegrove Appreciation Society on this blog otherwise :)

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Reply
  4. damien

    Hi Pete,

    This is a great question and deserves a blog post of it’s own but for now I’ll try to summarise my thoughts.

    Do you like the music of Lilly Allen? Do you find it refreshingly open and magical or do you think it is twaddle and ‘affected’?

    Do you like Marmite?

    The best, and occasionally the worst things in life attract fans and foes alike. Should the makers of Marmite defend their product? Of course not, It’s fantastic, and I’ll do it for them.

    Should I defend my picture style? No of course not, I’ll let you, and a few others do that for me.

    Don’t limit your horizons with the occasionally narrow visions of a few photographers that you might know. Strive to satisfy your own soul within and stay true to your evolving picture style. Equally, respect their hero choices and understand that it’s okay to like different things in life.

    Regards, Damien.

    Reply
  5. Pete Tiley

    Thanks for the reply.

    The interesting thing is that as a photographer, of all I have worked with your words have impacted more than any other. I met you once, when you said ‘if you like a picture it works, simple as that’.

    In a heart beat my whole perspective of how I should see my images changed and I thank-you for that. However, photography like the FA is governed by old rules and people are afraid of change it seems.

    Wise words as ever. As for the evolve thing, spot on. I have gone from shooting Premiership football and Rugby to Lovegrove inspired images and that itself is something I am more than happy to admit to….and I am enjoying the journey and your advice along the way.

    Kind regards,

    Pete.

    Reply
  6. Pete Tiley

    Hi Damien,

    As a photographer who reads you blog and is openly inspired by your work, I was wondering how you advise other photographers on how to handle critique?

    Do people simply just not ‘get’ your 2 stops + push style and do you find yourself having to defend your images in any way?

    Personally, I love the style and as a photographer I get it, but I get frustrated by people who don’t, which I realise may be a failing on my part.

    Thanks,

    Peter.

    Reply
  7. Gwyn Cole

    Ian, great to hear from you! It would be great to keep in touch with you also. :-)

    Ian & Rory, do you have a place on the web where you publish your photos?

    Gwyn

    Reply
  8. damien

    Hi guys,

    I’ve let these threads run and I’m glad a sense of community is building.

    Ning, I will be shooting this workshop in New York in July. There will be 3 dates, 27th, 28th and 29th. I hope this helps.

    Kindest regards to you all, Damien.

    Reply
  9. Ian

    Hi Rory & Gwyn
    I am also still on a high from the Urban Shooting day and the follow-on with Marko. Still editing a number of my images from the day. It was great to meet you both and I am glad that you enjoyed it as much as I did.
    Rory – I will drop you a mail this weekend as I would really like to hear more about the studio workshop.

    All the best
    Ian

    Reply
  10. Rory

    Hi Gwyn,

    Unfortunately I can’t attend on that date. However, I have just returned from Damien’s Studio lighting day. Superb!

    Now, where’s my cheque book…..

    Reply
  11. Gwyn Cole

    Rory,

    It was great to meet you at the Urban Portrait workshop! I’ve been practicing all bank holiday weekend :-)

    Are you coming to the “one day spectacular event” also? I’ll be there…

    Gwyn

    Reply
  12. Rory

    Great images from a great day.

    I have been planning a start up business for some time and have, over the past few months or so, spent an awful lot of money in the direction of Lovegrove Consulting – Book, DVD’s and most recently an Urban Portrait and Marko’s Masterclass day.

    There are certainly other courses and other ‘trainers’. However, what I find extremely valuable from my current status as ‘enthusiastic beginner’ is that, both Damien and Marko explain what they are going to do, show you how to do it, and then let you do it yourself. Their technique is not about showing off their own skills but allowing you to take time at your own speed and ability, together with relatively straight forward formula’s for taking this forward yourself when they are not around.

    If I may use an analogy, it’s a bit like learning to fly a plane – all is well when the instructer is with you but taking your first solo flight is a different matter altogether. Luckily, Damien and Marko have ensured that I can take off and land safely! Thank you – much appreciated.

    Reply
  13. Scott Wiggins

    Nick,

    I’ll see you next Monday as well then.

    Scott

    Reply
  14. Ning

    Thanks for sharing these great techniques! Would you consider having some workshops in the US? I’m sure there will be lots of people that would love to learn from you!

    Reply
  15. Stuart

    Thanks Nick, it’s appreciated.

    Reply
  16. Nick

    Hi Stuart, some nice work there well done. Like yourself I have been following Damiens work for about 18 months now with his fantastic DVD’s, the blog and his websites. Damien also finds time to talk to me at shows and explain stuff which I am very grateful for. I am on his Urban Portrait day on the 11th and can’t wait and I have a 1:1 booked with Marko for June and I am really excited about that. Anyway where I have got to today by listening to Damien and using his advise can be seen on my website. http://www.nickbuntonphotography.co.uk

    Damien, another lovely set of images here and that last one is awesome!

    Reply
  17. Gwyn Cole

    Damien, thanks very much for everything on this shoot! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was great to learn how to take these kinds of shots.

    Anybody else reading this post, I can very highly recommend this workshop!!! Damien’s enthusiasm will really get you fired up throughout the day!

    I can’t wait to do the next workshop…

    Reply
  18. Stuart

    Just wanted to say that I read all your posts here in particular the ones on off camera flash, on the 8th April I managed to get out and use some of the excellent techniques you have posted here.

    Love the images you post from Urban portraits and one day I may get on a course :)

    Reply
  19. damien

    Hi Gwyn,

    I like your blog post here. It’s full of interesting resources for aspiring photographers. Well done and thank you for your kind words. Regards, Damien.

    Reply

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  1. How I got into Photography – Part 2 « Photo Rebel - [...] mentioned in my first post that the Urban Portraits workshop I attended (link) changed everything for me. The camera…
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