Melissa Walton (now Wells) stars in Urban Portraits

Apr 4, 2012 | Flash, Location | 9 comments

Congratulations go to Melissa for her recent marriage to Ryan. They both featured in shots 1-9 on this blog post here. Their wedding was shot by my buddy and top photographer Simon York and his pictures of Melissa and Ryan’s wedding grace 6 pages of this weeks Hello magazine :)

Melissa and her reflection created in-camera on the streets of Bristol.

Todays blog is all in colour to contrast with my recent all monochrome set shot in the same locations but with different background choices. I love shooting with Melissa, she has a spirit and energy that is so refreshing. Enjoy

2. We met for coffee at 09.30 and then started with a simple sunlight set up across the street from the coffee house.



5. I then rigged the Lastolite Ezybox and a Speedlight. 1/8th power was all we needed for this simple shot.


07. Reflected sunlight was in plentiful supply. I spotted this patch about ten minutes before we shot it as it had yet to move into the right place for us.


09. Colour harmony and contrasts were considered and planned for throughout the day.




13. A trust and strong rapport makes a good portrait great. It helps to look this gorgeous too. 100mm f/2.8 macro lens at f/2.8. Notice I focussed on Melissa's mouth. It is a mouth we look to for communication. I used to focus on the nearest eye in my portraiture but now I'm not so sure. This works for me.

14. I love to make shooting fun. The quality of delegates and the energy in this group especially made the day whizz by.







21. A slash of flash from a zoomed in Speedlight set to 1/16th power and activated with cheap Ebay radio triggers. 21mm f/2.8 lens.









30. After lunch and a mini shoot in a Bristol bar we went back out into the mini heat wave for some more urban street shooting.

31. I used a Speedlight for this shot too.


33. It always amazes me that some photographers avoid full sunlight. I love it.






There they are, my first Urban Portraits workshop pictures of 2012. I won’t be blogging every shoot but I’d love you to join me for what is a wonderful adventure within a 400m radius.  Please feel free to comment on the pictures or the day if you were lucky enough to be with us.


  1. Ali Lovegrove

    A truly fantastic set of portraits Damien, hard to choose favourites! Love the bokeh in 27 and love the series from 22 to 24, gorgeous! Fantastic locations too :)

    • damien

      Thank you Ali,

      Your smile transcends into your writing. Thanks for the compliments abou my pictures. I hope you are well and happy.

      Kind regards, Damien x

  2. Howard Angus

    That bokeh in 25 is killer! Love it. As well as the pose in 19 and the Speedlight in 5.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • damien

      Thanks Howard, You probably recognise the locations. Your comments are always welcome, Damien.

  3. Daigo

    Hello Damien it’s my 1st comment.
    Focusing on the model’s mouth (with explanation on your mind-set) is very mind-shifting inspiration for me.
    I was always sticking on the nearest eye but realized sometimes should change my point of view.
    Thank you very much.

    • damien

      Hi Daigo,

      Thanks for your comment. I try to challenge each aspect of my photography because it is easy to be stuck in a rut of sameness. I’m not saying all changes are good but some are worthy of implementing into my work. When I started photographing the true essence and soul of my subjects rather than how they look the techniques changed too.

      Kindest regards,


  4. Thorsten

    Wonderful work as always Damien and a timely post too as I’ve embarked on a personal mission to improve my own urban portraits by committing myself to doing a personal urban portraits shoot at least once a week and paring it right back to the bare minimum, which means using just daylight, an 85mm lens and minimal post-production. Not that there is anything at all wrong with using flash, or an assortment of lenses or more post-production as each can be an essential ingredient in a successful image, but this is more an exercise in self-discipline and a means of forcing me to think outside the box!

    Keep your inspirational posts coming!

    – Thorsten.

  5. Richard Hart

    As much as I love natural light, the shots with flash kick arse!

    • damien

      Hi Richard,

      Haha, I know what you mean however my clients prefer natural light images in their albums. Out of the 400 or so pre wedding shoots and 100 or so urban portrait shoots it’s the natural light images that sell. The flash ones get the initial wow in the viewing room but they often don’t make the cut in the album.

      Cheers, Damien.


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