Bristol Urban Portraits 16 ~ Pictures and Technique

Sep 11, 2009 | Flash, Location | 12 comments

I like to come up with different shots on workshops and this treatment

I like to come up with different shots on workshops and this treatment with light and Lightroom give a subtle twist to an old theme. 2 point lighting provided by a pair of 580EX11s with the ambient held back 3 stops was the shoot technique for this frame. 1/200th second 200 ISO and f/16.

The same lighting as the shot above but at f/22

The same lighting as the shot above but at f/22rather than f/16. I love rivets, Jasmine looks good too.

On camera flash was used here to calm the effect of the sun and to kick the black paint into life.

On camera flash was used here to calm the effect of the sun and to kick the black paint into life. Again f/16 did the trick. ISO 200 and 1/200th second on my 5Dmk11.

On camera flash was used for this shot too. f/16

On camera flash was used for this shot too. f/16 was my chosen aperture to make this shot.

I like to live my life at f/4. Now that Pocket Wizards will allow me to do this and use TTL flash in daylight at the same time I have decided to use the new radio system for all Urban Portrait workshops in 2010. The first workshops are in March. I still have an Urban Portraits workshop to shoot this coming Monday and it will be my last one with Infra Red. I am hoping that Pocket Wizard will have sorted out the Nikon units for us by February and I will be able to have them on my stand at Focus. I will continue to use Infra Red for the remainder of this years workshops including; Passion on the streets of Tuscany, Cherish The Dress and Shooting Weddings.

I had a fantastic day on Monday with a truly international cast of delegates. Please feel free to comment on these pictures or you can comment on your workshop experience if you were one of us on the day.



  1. Anthony Firmin

    Hi Damien,

    Just a quick note to say I really enjoyed the course and got a lot out of it. I will certainly be looking at more courses in the future.

    If any of you out there are considering a course I would highly recommend Damiens – I have a stack of high quality shots for my portfolio as a result and the confidence to go and quickly get more shots that are going to be right in the camera straight away.

    Thanks again,


  2. Radmila Kerl

    I only can say `VIELEN DANK!` (thank you very much!) for this outstanding day! I learned a lot, the pictures are simply brilliant and this won´t be the last Workshop with Damien, I´ll bet you!
    All the best, Radmila, Germany

  3. Chris Thomas

    SORTED!!!!!! Easy when you know how……… I suppose I will have to invest in a couple of these little gems and a 70-200 lens and a bla bla bla.
    Next years family holiday will be camping in Bristol, along with all the new gear/course, My wife love´s the UK not sure about the camping.

    ENJOY…Chris ´Norway´

  4. damien

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your kind words. The new Pocket Wizard TTL units use radio signals to communicate with the Speedlites. Unlike the standard radio triggers that just send a pulse to trigger the flash, these new units communicate both ways and deliver exposure information etc. This set up is way more reliable than IR when working outside or round corners inside. A spin off technology of the PW design is a better trigger efficiency for high shutter speed operation. This makes the new PW system a revelation. It gives me the chance to shoot f/4 in full sunlight and use flash. Not just fill in flash but ‘cutting the ambient by 2 stops’ punchy flash. The equivalent of 200, 200, f/16 ;-)

    There is more info here.

    It was great to see you and I’m glad the long journey was worth it.


  5. Chris Thomas

    There are course´s and there are COURSE´S, THIS WAS THE LATTER! If you are serious about fashion photography this day is for you. Damien burns for what he does, there´s a BUZZ about him and after being with him for 5 mins your hooked too, Great! 100% SPOT ON.
    Infact by 5 o/c i was, well knackered!
    Damien, one Question for you which I did not grasp. You say that you are now going over to only using PW´s instead of the STE2 Because of the benefits of longer len´s, greater distances etc. but my problem is I thought that the PW´s was just to send a signal to trigger the speedlights, but now you say that, ´you can use all shutter speeds up to 1/4000´ and sync speed etc etc. Now I´m lost. Any help would be great.

    All the very best, Chris Thomas, Norway……

  6. Tara Taylor

    Great shots, I am looking forward to receiving my PW’s and going on the course on 30th November.

  7. Will Pateman Photography

    Great shots as usual …looking forward to attending one of your courses next year

  8. Nigel

    Being a Nikon user and increasingly using off camera flash, I too am waiting/watching with great interest to see the advantages of Nikon PW’s over the in-built Nikon system. Aside from the obvious advantage of radio as opposed to IR firing, I’m mush more interested in the higher sync speeds potentially available. Nikon state higher sync speeds available as standard with the D300/SB800 combo but from experience this is limited in success. If only it did what it was supposed to. Lets hope the Nikon PW’s will.

    Thanks as always


  9. damien

    Hi Paul,

    It’s a great question. The limitation of the SU-800 is solely the infra red system. With PWs you can use brollies, softboxes, and flash from above and behind you. You can also use long lenses and work at greater distances. It may be that PW manage to achieve a more efficient timing for high speed sync with Nikon, like they did for Canon. If this is the case it will mean advantages for daylight shooting at wide apertures too.

    With PWs I can shoot my Canon at all shutter speeds up to 1/4000th seamlessly. In the past I could fill flash in daylight but there was not the power in the flash to be able to under expose the background by 2 stops and then correctly expose the flash.

    I hope this helps,


  10. Paul Hurst

    Great yet again. Do you think Nikon PWs would have that much of an advantage over the SU-800 for urban portraits considering most of your work appears to be off camera flash fairly close to the subject ?

  11. Nick

    Great set Damien but #2 is superb. I am looking forward to the Nikon versions of the PW’s too…

  12. Roger Griffiths

    The images and techniques are outstanding as always Damien and I’m really looking forward to the 30th November on your first PW course…. :-)


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