Cherish The Dress – Manchester ~ Pictures and Techniques

Apr 24, 2010 | Flash, Location | 22 comments

I love the surreal nature of cross keyed Speedlights. The Hilton bar that I shot this frame in is aptly called Cloud 23.

D1 – I love the surreal nature of cross keyed Speedlights. The Hilton bar that I shot this frame in is aptly called Cloud 23. Two Speedlights on stands were triggered using infra red. I rigged Canon and Nikon Speedlights alongside each other on the same stands. ISO 200, 1/200th second at f/16

Here are the long awaited set of pictures from last weeks Cherish The Dress workshop at the fabulous Hilton Hotel in Manchester. Chris Hanley and I delivered a full on workshop with our team of assistants to the ten delegates. We split into two groups for the sessions. We regularly swap tutors and models to ensure that each group gets to shoot all the pictures. Chris and I share 36 of our pictures from the day starting with my set of 18…

This simple silouette shows the next shot without the flash. This shot works well because I was careful when posing our models Lisa Marie and Shawn

D2 – This simple silhouette shows the next shot without the flash. This shot works well because I was careful when posing our models Lisa Marie and Shawn.

Here is the same shot with the flash. I processed it slightly differently in Lightroom although the exposure settings were identical. Lit with 2 Speedlights on stands.

D3 – Here is the same shot with the flash. I processed it slightly differently in Lightroom although the exposure settings were identical to the frames above. Lit with 2 barefaced Speedlights on stands.

I lit this using my Orbis. I was careful not to deliver Chris his Orbis until after the workshop. I need to keep my edge

D4 – I lit this frame of Sarah using my Orbis. I was careful not to deliver Chris his Orbis until after the workshop. I need to keep my edge when shooting alongside him. The Speedlight in the Orbis was triggered with a Canon ST-E2 or an SU-800 or pop up flash in commander mode for the 2 Nikon shooters among the 10 of us.

Simple high key shots like this are a dream to shoot using just natural light and a bit of forced exposure compensation. All the technology and set ups shown are explained in full so no one gets left behind. This really is an instructional as well as hopefully inspirational workshop.

D5 – Simple high key shots like this are a dream to shoot using just natural light and a bit of forced exposure compensation. All the technology and set ups shown are explained in full so no one gets left behind. This really is an instructional as well as hopefully inspirational workshop.

A bit of random passion outside one of the meeting rooms on the second floor was lit with an Arri 300w Fresnel tungsten light

D6 – A bit of random passion outside one of the meeting rooms on the second floor was lit with my Arri 300w Fresnel tungsten light. Chris used his Lowel and Arri throughout the workshop too.

A slash of light from my Arri was all I needed for this mixed light shot. I set my white balance to 3400k and allowed the daylight spill from a nearby window to go blue.

D7 – A slash of light from my Arri was all I needed for this mixed light shot. I set my white balance to 3400k and allowed the daylight spill from a nearby window to go blue.

The same shot with the same lighting from a different angle. I've given this shot a more punchy process in lightroom knowing the shots that will be making up Chris' set below.

D8 – The same shot with the same lighting from a different angle. I’ve given this shot a more punchy process in Lightroom knowing the shots that will be making up Chris’ set below.

Here's a behind the scenes taster showing delegates and Shawn in the background.

D8a – Here’s a behind the scenes taster for the shots above and below showing delegates and Shawn in the background.

The same set up again but with Shawn playing a key out of focus role in the image. All these shots were taken at ISo 800, 1/60th second at f/4

D9 – The same set up again but with Shawn playing a key out of focus role in the image. All these shots were taken at ISO 800, 1/60th second at f/4

I'm never one to miss out on an opportunity for a minimalist frame like this.

D10 – I’m never one to miss out on an opportunity for a minimalist frame like this.

Next I was shooting Sarah in a pink dress. I'm into pink at the moment too. A slash of flash pushed through the stairs gave me the stripes.

D11 – Next I was shooting Sarah in a pink dress. (I’m into pink at the moment too, just bought 10 ‘shocking pink’ chairs for my studio). A slash of flash pushed through the stairs from a Speedlight on a stand gave me the stripes.

The same flash was aimed through the dingle in this shot to give the dappled light effect.

D12 – The same flash was aimed through the dingle in this shot to give the dappled light effect.

I then showed how to blitz a shiny background with an on camera Speedlight.

D13 – I then showed how to blitz a shiny background with an on camera Speedlight.

Next it was time for Orbis again. In the right places it provides the perfect lighting solution.

D14 – Next it was time for Orbis again. In the right places it provides the perfect lighting solution.

Two Speedlights on stands provided the light and a black bar top provided the reflection opportunity.

D15 – Two Speedlights on stands provided the light and a black bar top provided the reflection opportunity. I dialed in a 4:1 ratio on my ST-E2 to get the punchy back light look. Nikon shooters set group B to +2 stops.

A simple two shot in the same place.

D16 – A simple two shot in the same place.

A change ov viewpoint is always a worthwhile exercise. Drop down low to make legs go on forever. All the tones in this picture have been carefully coaxed into place to ensure a fine print can be made.

D17 – A change of viewpoint is always a worthwhile exercise. Drop down low to make legs go on forever. All the tones in this picture have been carefully coaxed into place to ensure a fine print can be made.

My last shot of the set used a key and kick lighting set up to make a funky shot of Shawn.

D18 – My last shot of the set used a key and kick lighting set up from a couple of Speedlights to make a funky shot of Shawn.

Below are Chris Hanley’s images from the day. Chris and I have fun and a certain amount of rivalry on a workshop. This keeps us on our toes and helps us focus on trying to achieve excellence. The captions are in Chris’ words

1

C1 – Work it girl, both Sarah’s slink through the bar in the sky. Jamming the lens against the granite wall ensures a great reflection. f/4 @ 1/160th ISO 400

C2 -

C2 – The East wing of cloud 23. placing clients in strong lines and warm sunshine with a fantastic view gives them a VIP feeling. f/4 @ 1/320th ISO 400

C3 -

C3 – Tighter crop and a different angle with WB set to 3450K for a cooler look. f/4 @ 1/320th ISO 400

C4 -

C4 – A great place to shoot is in elevator doorways. This one benefits from a beautiful wood veneer surround. Here Lisa-Marie and Shawn “own the space” f/4 @ 1/200th ISO 400

C5 -

C5 – areas like under stairs are places clients just dont notice as great shoot spots so when they see the final pictures, they are truly wowed. with a white balance set to 3450K and a lowel light on Sarah, we get a great fashion image. f/4 @ 1/40th ISO 400

C6 -

C6 – This is one of my favourite shoot spots at the Hilton. With our clients relatively small in the frame in this space, this increases the sales potential for larger wall products. f/4 @ 1/40th ISO 800

C6 -

C7 – One of my signature shots, I call this my “Bohemian Rhapsody” (remember the video, gallileo, figaro, magnifico) A beautiful woman in a little black number and a single downlighter. Recreate this in every hotel in the world. f/4 @ 1/160th ISO 800

C7 -

C8 – The same space as the shot above, just looking from a different angle. f/4 @ 1/500th ISO 800

C8 -

C9 – Clients always want a nice couple picture. This ticks all the boxes as a great momento of their cherish experience. Elegant enough and not too arty as a present for the grandparents mantlepiece. f/4 @ 1/30th ISO 640

C9 -

C10 – I love reflections and textures and always on the look out for little out of the way shoot spots at venues. It gives your client an opportunity to be more direct with the lens without feeling self conscious. The picture comes alive with a slash of light from the Lowel. f/4 @ 1/30th ISO 400

C11 -

C11 – Same shoot space with a tighter crop for a lovely head and shoulder portrait to grace the clients portfolio. f/4 @ 1/30th ISO 400

C12 -

C12 – This picture and the next: More reflections, but changing the pose and moving to natural light gives us more options for the album or portfolio. f/4 @ 1/60th ISO 400

C13 -

C13 – As above

C16 -

C14 – Clients love our “stolen moments of passion” set ups. A moment of passion in a phone booth is like a set on a Hollywood movie. Adding a splash of light with the lowel and altering the white balance to 3450K gives a colourful image. f/4 @ 1/30th ISO 400

C14 -

C15 – Of course cherish isn’t just bridal, plenty of clients invest in couture dresses, for big occasions. A simple natural light dress portrait makes clients happy. f/4 @ 1/80th ISO 800

C16 -

C16 – Make use of a wide lens if you’ve invested in one. I used my 14 – 24mm Nikon for this frame.

C17 -

C17 – Another shot at the same location as above.

C18 -

C18 – A new little out of the way shoot spot in the hotel, this time to really emphasise the reflection we used the Arri 300w. I love this light.f/2.8 @ 1/ 60th ISO 800

The kit Chris and I used to make these pictures:

Canon 5D mk2, 2x 580 EX2 Speedlights, ST-E2 trigger, 21mm Zeiss 21mm lens, 24-70mm Canon lens, 70-200 Canon lens.
Nikon D3, 2x Nikon SB-900 Speedlights, SU-800 trigger, Nikon 14-24mm lens, 24-70mm lens, 70-200mm lens.
Lowel iD battery light
2x Arri 300w Fresnel lights
Orbis ringflash adapter

The day ended in the Hilton Podium bar, it was my round :-0 If you would like to attend a Cherish The Dress workshop at the Manchester Hilton, please Email Blaise. Please feel free to comment on these pictures or your experience of the day. Which ones are your favorites and why?

22 Comments

  1. Leo

    Inspirational set of images. It must be awesome to shoot at the Hilton. Would love to sometime with you guys.

    My fav’s:
    D1-it has a story, colour, blue skies
    D5- I always love images with flare and high key shots
    D10-like the solid white line down the middle
    C16-like the perspective of the lines

    Reply
    • damien

      Oh yes Leo,

      You are my friend. You’ve leveled the score and I appreciate your kind words. Damien.

      Reply
  2. David

    Hi Damien and Chris
    Great stuff once again.
    Have booked on Vintage Cherish The Dress in June and have no doubt it will be inspirational and I have to say, very different!
    Looking forward to working alongside you both.

    David

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi David,

      I’m excited about the Vintage Cherish shoot too. It’s on Chris’ patch so he has a bit of a head start on me. I will approach the day with fresh eyes and together we will all have fun and creativity in abundance, I’m sure.

      Damien.

      Reply
  3. Peter Stancliffe

    Wow, wow, wow! C6 is now my desktop image. Pure theatre…these images are magical in their intensity, classiness and emotional value.
    Really looking forward to my next DL workshop!

    Reply
    • damien

      Peter, Shh, C6 is one of Chris’ shots. This adoration will only go to his head, HaHa, Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  4. Roger

    Ditto to all of the above. Absolutely outstanding day and as always a complete learning experience. Big thanks Damien and Chris loved the whole day and came away with some great material but more importantly, with more knowledge to help me in the future.

    Thanks again

    Rog

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Roger,

      It was great to have you with us. By the end of the day we were all exhausted but excited too. I’m glad you took so much away from the day,

      Damien.

      Reply
  5. David Jones

    As bag carrier (or should that be wheeler?) on the day it was an absolute joy to watch 2 of the worlds best photographers at the top of their craft.

    I didn’t see many of the actual shots on the day so have been waiting with baited breath to see them posted here – truly outstanding!

    Whilst it’s true that The Hilton is a stunning place, I’m just amazed at the shots that can be found in the simplest of places that exist in any large public building. The telephone booth, a corridor with some grotty carpeting, a public area outside a conference room with a bog standard halogen downlighter, a corner outside the entrance to a toilet – even a stairwell!!

    It’s just inspirational and all the images are now on my iPhone to remind me every day to simply keep my eyes open :)

    Thanks Damien, Chris and Claire, not forgetting Lisa-Marie, Shawn and Sarah (the fab models) and Michelle who supplied the dresses and made the models look great.

    One amazing day!

    Reply
  6. Chris

    Thank you all for your generous comments, its a fab workshop, there no other quite like it. Lots and lots of info and banter. Hope those of you that joined Damien and myself will be inspired to take fab pictures over the coming wedding season.
    Chris H

    @Chris Costello, its a normal standard halogen downlighter you see in most hotels :)

    Reply
  7. Chris Costello

    Great pictures, love C7. Is that just a regular light in the hotel or do you have a speedlight held above the model?

    Reply
  8. Chris Milner

    Fantastic photos from both, I’m yet to get round to editing my photos from the day but certainly looking forward to seeing what I can achieve from them

    Reply
  9. Darren

    Utterly stunning and outstanding as always! If its possible i think they get better with every blog!

    Damien and Chris you are inspirational! :-)

    Look forward to the wedding workshop on Thursday! :-)

    Darren

    Reply
  10. Alex Brandon-Smith

    Awesome images chaps. I would have to agree that they are probably some of the best images I’ve seen on your blogs Damien. Great work.

    Alex

    Reply
  11. Mirko Herzner

    For me it’s C2. Sure, working with such beautiful shadows is nothing new, but this image is just outstanding. There are many more shots that I like though…

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Mirko, Alex, Darren and Chris M,

      Thanks for your kind words. I’ve had a week off posting so expect some more image posts this week.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  12. Rich Bailey

    Outstanding work Damien (and Chris!).

    C1 is just fantastic (assume it’s the same technique as at the Bristol Hotel?), and I love C5.

    D1 and D4 are really eyecatching as well – can’t believe you kept hold of the Orbis Damien!

    All the best

    Rich

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Rich,

      Thanks for your kind words. You are right about the Bristol Hotel reflection technique ;) Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  13. Andi Goodman

    wow just WOW….as always

    Reply
  14. John Humphries

    Beautiful photographs.
    Especially like the Cloud 23 shot
    Wish I could have attended the course.
    John

    Reply
  15. Rufat

    I love these photos Damien!!! Thank you for the explanations and tips as well. Very inspiring!!!

    Reply
  16. Fizmoo

    Yes !
    Realy interesting and useful informations !

    Reply

Ask a question or leave a comment. All comments get a reply.