Bristol Urban Portraits 12 ~ Pictures & Techniques

Jun 29, 2009 | Flash, Location | 8 comments

I’ve been shooting so much lately that I’ve barely had time to write up my shoots on the blog. I’ll be posting up a selection of images from the four recent Bristol workshops throughout the week.

Dappled sunlight on a blue wall gave us a great start to the shoot. The sunlight was going through a young tree and a glass canopy. If this was a client shot Marko would have cleaned the blue background somewhat prior to the viewing.

Dappled sunlight on a blue wall gave us a great start to the shoot. The sunlight was going through a young tree and a glass canopy.

I love to keep things simple. A patch of sun reflected from an office window was all I needed for this minimalist shot. I've never seen the same reflection in the same place twice so I keep an eye out for this kind of light on clear sky days.

I love to keep things simple. A patch of sun reflected from an office window was all I needed for this minimalist shot. I've never seen the same reflection in the same place twice so I keep an eye out for this kind of light on clear sky days.

Simple 2 point lighting created with a Speedlight on a stand as a key light and the sun as a back light. Even though I shoot using the same locations on a weekly basis I always like to vary the shots. That way, it is easy to build a big repertoire of shots that work.

Simple 2 point lighting created with a Speedlight on a stand as a key light and the sun as a back light. Even though I shoot using the same locations on a weekly basis I always like to vary the shots. That way, it is easy to build a big repertoire of shots that work.

A change of viewpoint adds a tension to the picture.

A change of viewpoint adds a tension to the picture. Charlene's eyes are bang in the center of the shot and I held the camera over my head to capture this frame.

Water features like this are great for pictures. When the sun is out it can be hard to get the shot you want. I like to shoot moving water on fairly slow shutter speeds but at minimum ISO and aperture I was still at 1/125th second.

Water features like this are great for pictures. When the sun is out it can be hard to get the shot you want. I like to shoot moving water on fairly slow shutter speeds but at minimum ISO and aperture I was still at 1/125th second.

The location for this high key shot is a dark grey dingy space. The lighting is all natural and the kick light makes the shot.

The location for this high key shot is a dark grey dingy space. The lighting is all natural and the kick light makes the shot.

I love shooting grafiti and I used my 2 point 'key and kick' lighting system here for this shot. 2 Speedlights on stands were controlled by an ST-E2 (or an SU-800 for the Nikon shooters).

I love shooting graffiti and I used my 2 point 'key and kick' lighting system here for this shot. 2 Speedlights on stands were controlled by an ST-E2 (or an SU-800 for the Nikon shooters).

I’ve selected these shots to show a variation on a theme seen in earlier posts. Please feel free to comment in the usual way.

8 Comments

  1. damien

    Hi Pete,

    If the groom is holding the flash then he is just out of shot where I’d put my stand. I hope this makes sense.

    Damien.

    Reply
  2. damien

    Hi Jean,

    It was ISO 800 1/60th at f/4 dark if that helps :) I exposed the shot until it screamed for mercy and then backed it off a bit. I used the camera screen to guide me on what highlight info was left in the shot.

    Damien.

    Reply
  3. Pete

    ” On some shots I use just one light or on pre wedding shoots I get the groom to hold one flash with the other on a stand and then swap with the bride holding the flash. They can gaze into each others eyes and have the light in the perfect position.”

    So the handheld flash is quite close then? If the groom was holding it, it would behind the brides head yeah?
    Sorry… just trying to picture it :)
    Cracking articles… and thanks for the bracket, arrived SUPER quick!
    Pete
    IOM

    Reply
  4. jean Dawkins

    love the high key black and white photo, how dark was it did you expose just for the face ? jean d

    Reply
  5. damien

    Hi Crash, Sean and Matt,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Matt, I do indeed use 2 Speedlights on overcast days with clients. Once rigged I tend to leave the units locked in position and carry the left stand in my left hand and the right in the right hand etc between locations. I always have the left flash on group A and the right flash on group B that way I can quickly set the ratio I need if a tweak is required. On some shots I use just one light or on pre wedding shoots I get the groom to hold one flash with the other on a stand and then swap with the bride holding the flash. They can gaze into each others eyes and have the light in the perfect position.

    Use the sun as the second light behind your model or client or better still use the sun as a third light and use 3 point lighting :) In this scenario the sun should be beyond the model to rim light her or him. Use a good lens hood to avoid flare unless you want it of course. Anything goes these days.

    Beware of double key shadows as they become confusing for the viewer to decode.

    I hope this helps, Damien.

    Reply
  6. Matt Murray

    Hi Damien

    Thanks for a fantastic day, it was great being the only Nikon shooter with 2 SB800s all to myself. Shame I didn’t bring a hat as I got sunburnt! :o)

    I did an urban shoot on the weekend in Birmingham and took out my SB800, my new SB900 and 2 lighting stands. I used both speedlights on a couple of different setups, but after that I reverted to using 1 as it was a bit of a hassle to keep setting them up while the models waited.

    A couple of questions…

    1) Do you use (or have you used in the past) 2 speedlights on a portrait shoot with clients? (I’m concious of the time it can take to set them up.)

    Or do you prefer to use the sun or other light sources as per your “2 point lighting” post?

    2) On one of the first shots of the day we had Charlene in the middle of 2 speedlights which produced a stunning image.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmurray74/3640761938/

    Does this style of shot only work when the model is not directly in the sun? I tried it on Sunday but this time the model was in the sun. I was happy with the images, but the shadows are in different places and wondered if I should’ve moved position.

    Cheers

    Matt

    Reply

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