One of the favourite pastimes in Singapore is shopping, so we headed off to a shopping mall to shoot some urban portraits of Gabrielle from Basic Models Management. Air conditioned and largely empty during the working day shopping malls make great locations to shoot in.
01. Gabrielle on the stairs lit with a single bare faced Speedlight on a Lovegrove Flash Bracket. Crisp clean light from a Speedlight is far more punchy and exciting than softened light that comes from using a soft box.
Our workshop was planned and arranged by Karen from Baobab. She did a fabulous job of arranging the permissions and other challenging tasks. Here are 36 of the pictures from our day…
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro1 with 14mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/1.4 prime lenses plus 18-55mm and 55-200mm zoom lenses.
Lighting: 2 Canon 580EX2 Speedlights with stands. Unbranded radio triggers from Ebay.
Post Production: A whizz through Lightroom 5 at 60 seconds per frame.
02. Our session started with a simple one Speedlight set up. I taught the group how to balance the ambient exposure with that of the flash. We used manual exposure and flash settings to ensure consistent results with every shot.
03. Soon I was drawn to Gucci. We avoided shooting the brand names and logos while in the shopping mall for copyright reasons.
04. The two point lighting created by the alignment of windows was perfect for lesson one in finding and using great natural light.
05. My time was spent ensuring each of the delegates was creating striking images with a sense of balance and good composition.
06. I found a really textured wall made of rusty steel plate to give us a backdrop for a Lovegrove two point creation using symmetrical Speedlights.
07. This close up shows you how a Speedlight wraps around cheek bones to define and slim down a face. Not that Gabrielle’s face needed slimming down. Soft light widens faces and hard light narrows them.
08. Exactly the same lighting was used for this square on portrait.
09. There is no shortage of colourful backgrounds in a shopping mall.
10. I adjusted the black and white mix in Lightroom to get this gritty conversion. Gabrielle is in the same spot as she was in shot 9 above.
11. These natural light shots were at the limit of light that can be used to get great images. Fast prime lenses and monopods came in handy here. I always challenge a group to use dark spaces as well as bight ones in full sun if we can get it. Sometimes the most magical light lurks in dark places.
12. The 55-200mm zoom was perfect for this head shot.
13. Even the mannequins in Singapore look fantastic. This was just a grab shot taken on the fly.
14. The area of the mall that we were in was almost deserted. Evenings and weekends are another matter of course.
15. Channel had created a fabulous place for us to shoot.
16. I love to isolate and simplify backgrounds.
17. Both vertical and horizontal compositions are easy to shoot as required in places like this.
18. The same place as above given the Speedlight treatment.
19. Striking portraits and fashion shots can be created with minimal lighting kit with the right know how.
20. A marble floor in full sun posed it’s own problems and gave us something to work with.
23. Lighting is all about direction and control. I love hard light like this. The shadows from the eyelashes are fabulous too.
24. This colour zone has directional natural light landing on it. I placed Gabrielle into the light and used her shadow in my composition.
25. Don’t be blinded by colour though. I much prefer this monochrome version of the same image.
26. After lunch we went outside and braved the sauna like conditions that being on the equator delivers.
27. Gabrielle has a great natural flow and we had fun with spins. The 55-200mm lens was perfect to compress the perspective in this shot.
28. This was an exercise in composition. I showed how to line up intersecting angles into the bottom corners of the frame.
29. It was hard to avoid the LV branding here. 18mm end of the 18-55mm zoom on my Fuji X-Pro1
30. 14mm prime time.
31. We used a pair of Speedlights on half power in the Gemini bracket to light Gabrielle. I used half power to speed up recycle times.
32. A more classic harbour view.
33. I then showed the group how to shift white balance to create striking colour contrasts.
35. Finally I showed how to use a small silver umbrella with the Gemini bracket for a soft light finish.
36. The sunset after glow was short lived but worth capturing before settling for a cool beer or two.
My thanks go to Karen for her excellent organising and for putting up with me. Please feel free to comment on the pictures or your experience if you were with us on the day.