Bristol Urban Portraits 9 ~ Pictures and Technique

May 12, 2009 | Flash, Location | 13 comments

Each shoot has it’s own chemistry and dynamic, and this one was no exception. The pictures I aim to produce to teach the intricate lighting techniques are suitably varied to keep the image making process fresh. Here are a collection of images from the day.

A belt of flash from the right of shot and a hint of sun from the left give this opicture it's characteristic Lovegrove look.

A belt of flash from the right of shot and a hint of sun from the left gives this picture it's characteristic Lovegrove look. We pulled the background down by a couple of stops to add drama to the scene.

Katie

Katie's smile was warm and rich. She made the shoot a breeze. We used dappled light without intervention to capture this simple portrait.

A patch of reflected light on a car park wall set the scene for the next 2 pictures.

A patch of reflected light on a car park wall set the scene for the next 2 pictures.

By now we were on a creative roll.

By now we were on a creative roll. A shot like this needs capturing at the time you see it. For some reason it was not available for shooting the following day, just one day after I shot the original, even though it was sunny. It's all about timing and being open to opportunity.

Surreal grass and a deserted housing complex are just right for a first exploration of off camera flash.

Surreal grass and a deserted housing complex are just right for a first exploration of off camera flash.

This simple natural light shot was aided by a Hollywood power wind machine provided by mother nature.

This simple natural light shot was aided by a Hollywood power wind machine provided by mother nature.

After a hearty lunch it was time for some key and kick lighting in the waterfront cafe.

After a hearty lunch it was time for some 'key and kick' lighting in a waterfront cafe. Burnout in the highlights is a must to make this picture work. If I had exposed this shot to hold detail in all the skin it would have looked flat and uninteresting. Life beyond a histogram is a good one.

Double kick light and a soft key all were naturally recurring in this scene.

A double kick light and a soft key all were naturally recurring in this scene.

With feet this good who needs shoes?

With feet this good who needs shoes?

Flare, shape, elegance, and a sepia tone all come together in this frame.

Flare, shape, elegance, and a sepia tone all come together in this natural light frame. A big part of the day was spent exploring and learning about light. Once you know what picture you want to create, finding light to do it is quite straight forward. A bit of know how goes a long way in photography.

Flash and burn is an old favourite of mine. Andy Earl taught me this technique ten years ago. 1/10th

Flash and burn is an old favourite of mine. Andy Earl taught me this technique ten years ago. 1/10th second, a splash of flash and a flick of the camera is all it takes.

This is the scene of the previous shot.

This is the scene of the previous shot. A great location and shot in it's own right.

A natural light low key frame.

A natural light low key frame. I love the light and shapes that make up this simple profile.

No urban shoot would be complete without a trip to a grafiti wall. I lit this frame with two Speedlights on stands.

No urban shoot would be complete without a trip to a graffiti wall. I lit this frame with two Speedlights on stands.

Here is the next set up. You can see the lighting stands with 2 Lovegrove flash brackets on each with Nikon and Canon Speedlights co rigged for training purposes.

Here is the next set up. You can see the lighting stands with 2 Lovegrove flash brackets on each with Nikon and Canon Speedlights co rigged for training purposes. Note: The ST-E2 and the SU-800 triggered the flash units faultlessly in sunlight at a range of over 10 metres. Don't believe the doubters that tell you that it can't be done.

And here is the resulting frame shot at f/16, 1/200th second, at ISO 200.

And here is the resulting frame shot at f/16, 1/200th second, at ISO 200.

All lit with Speedlights, this portrait lends itself as much to the flexability and balletic qualities of Katie as it does the

All lit with Speedlights, this portrait lends itself as much to the flexibility and balletic qualities of Katie as it does my lighting and craftsmanship as a photographer.

Please feel free to comment on the pictures or techniques used. If you want to be part of a workshop like this, look here for details and availability. If all dates are full new dates will be added very soon. Demand is high so please be patient and check regularly.

13 Comments

  1. J Lloyd

    Can’t decide if I like the strong colours in the graffiti shot more than the neutral tones in the final shot. I’d be happy with both! Fabulous pics :o)

    Reply
  2. jean Dawkins

    another set of great pictures especially the one in the cafe

    Reply
  3. damien

    Thanks guys, Sometimes everything comes together so well it feels like shooting in a zone. We stuck to my basic principles of lighting and when it didn’t exist we made it from scratch. Knowing what you are trying to achieve is the key to good portraiture.

    Some of our set ups were less successful and it it always important to ‘give it a go’. With the right knowledge and practice you can shoot great pictures just about anywhere.
    Damien.

    Reply
  4. Neil McClennan

    Damien,
    I just want to add my thanks for a truly educational, inspiring and fabulous day of photography! So many great tips on finding shots in places you wouldn’t think possible. I have also put some images on my blog linked.

    Cant wait for the studio lighting workshop, and of course Tuscany!

    Cheers
    Neil

    Reply
  5. Richie Carter

    As usual…. AWESOME!

    When should we expect the new book on portrait/location shooting? I’d like to be on the pre-order list!

    Reply
  6. David Jones

    Fantastic. The deserted housing complex shot has particularly caught my eye. The subtle colour tones are great. I wouldn’t have believed that was Bristol!! Can’t wait for June 8th when I’m booked on this :)

    Cheers
    David

    Reply
  7. Scott Wiggins

    Damien,

    Firstly thanks for a fantastic day and I know my photography lept forwards with the skills you demonstrated.

    Really interesting to see Marko’s post processing and how he’s brought the colours out.

    I’ve only edited a few so far but if anyone is interested in having a look they are at the website linked.

    Can’t wait to get on another course.

    Scott

    Reply
  8. Steve Hale

    Great set of photos as usual, however the last one really stands out for me. I love the models body position and the post processing just makes it special.

    Steve

    Reply
  9. Nick Bunton

    Nice to see Marko’s work on these shots Damien, a great set there. I am still wading through the hundreds I took and editing the best ones.

    An amazinig day and would highly recommend this workshop.

    Nick

    Reply
  10. DaveBulow

    Excellent collection of shots, Damien. It’s fun trying to reverse engineer your lighting on the shots you don’t explain in detail.
    It’s good to see a good ratio of beautiful naturally lit, fully flash lit, and combined ambient/flash shots in your work. A real inspiration.
    Regards
    Dave

    Reply
  11. Roger Griffiths

    Another great post Damien. The camera formula you use is so good and should be in everybody’s mind when using flash. Rog

    Reply
  12. Conor Heffernan

    AS always, educational and inspirational Thanks.

    Reply

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