Thursday 29 January 2009

Hot Talent

Recently I undertook another of my BIG group shots, again for ‘Fabulous‘ Magazine.

Somewhat different to my previous shoot (18/10/08) in that it was all shot on location at the excellent and rather atmospheric Embassy Motors in the East End of London, which could best be described as a photographers playground, which has well as having bags of character is stuffed full of very groovy and cool props which the owners have collected over the years.

The commission was to shoot the ladies of screen, stage, literature and music who are tipped for greatness in 2009 - and beyond.

You can see a video of the shoot here

The advantage we had this time was that at least all of the talent was going to be there on the same day, just not at the same time.
This meant the task was somewhat easier than before as the basic structure of the set did not change.

The key to making the image work out was the pre production visit to the location to establish what props we would need and just what lighting we would use

We found the beautiful array of props you see in the image, deciding which ones was the tricky part, just SO many to choose from.

Then there was the lighting.

A very different prospect from before as we had the luxury of a glass roof so there was bags of available light, even on the greyest of London days

We used an an Elinchrom 1200S in a 2 meter Octa to give a lovely soft light, mounted on my beloved Red Wing boom angled at around 35 degrees

I used this monster of a soft box to give a good overall and softness of light while being directional too.

I exposed about half a stop over the natural light, just to make the whole thing ‘pop’ then under exposing the ambient by 2/3 stop by using a higher shutter speed 1/8th sec instead of 1/4sec

We used an old studio spotlight as a constant light source to give beautiful back light on the models hair

The only complicating factor was that in between shooting the ‘Hot Talent’ them in situ, we had to shoot them against a white seamless background, not a great hardship but it meant being pretty light on my feet using a whole bag full of cameras and ‘stuff’ I often look at the heap of equipment which pollutes my life and think I have too much, but not on this occasion.

For the seamless shots I used ‘butterfly lighting’

An Elinchrom 1200S in a medium Chimera soft box, angled at 45 degrees downwards at full power, with an Elinchrom 600S in a small Chimera softbox on the floor at full power angled at 45 upwards, so this was 1 stop under the main light above,
using a second 'Octa' on the background to give a clean pure white

We managed to get this really great shot of upcoming music talent Emma Deigman, who as you can see really got into the spirit of the shoot

All in all a brilliant day, in fact if you want to see what fun we had have a look at this video of my assistants’ leaving’ the shoot, in style.....

After all, we did become photographers to fun didn’t we?

As well as making great pictures of course……

The Zen of Radio Paradise

picture by Brad Trent

What music do you play when you shoot?

Playing the right music sets the tone of a shoot - period

I love my music, in fact as write this blog on the Glasgow to London train I’m listening to the wonderful ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ by UK band ‘Elbow’

How did I become aware of this gem of an album?

Well in fact two ‘friends’ of mine introduced me to it.

I say ‘friends’ because I have never actually met them, they are the Bill and Rebecca Goldsmith.

They run a shinning light of an internet Radio Station in California, called ‘Radio Paradise’

There maybe a better, music Radio Station but I have not heard it

Or one more aptly named

As they say on their own website……

‘RP is a blend of many styles and genres of music, carefully selected and mixed by two real human beings. You’ll hear modern and classic rock, world music, electronica, even a bit of classical and jazz.
Our speciality is taking a diverse assortment of songs and making them flow together in a way that makes sense harmonically, rhythmically, and lyrically – an art that, to us, is the very essence of radio.’

It has NO ADS! As it is listener supported radio, which means they rely on people like you and I to keep the great music flowing into our worlds for the occasional contribution of the equivalent of a beer or two.

Before I discovered ‘Radio Paradise’ I was often scrabbling about to make a suitable music mix the night before the shoot, often getting it wrong with the client or subject not liking my mix, or simply forgetting to put one together

So one less thing for me to do, letting Bill and Rebecca make my shoots rock into the bargain.

How do I fill the studio with these sound? Laptop speakers are simply not up to the task.
I use a cheap, cheerful but very impressive set of speakers by Creative, I have seen them as cheap as 20 quid.

If you really want to splash out, lose the cables and place the set up in an optimum location, you can hook it up to an Apple Airport Express and listen wirelessly
One of the most frequently asked questions these days at a shoots is ‘what is that Radio Station? It is wonderful’

So if you want to bring an extra bit of magic to your shoots or anywhere else for that matter, pay my ‘friends’ Bill and Rebecca a visit, you won’t regret it.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Why I have been quiet.....

Ok, hands up, I have not posted for more than 2 weeks.

Every waking hour I have been working on my DVD project with my good friend Jonathan Laurence

A labour of love which will be finished by sunday night, and then off to be pressed

I'm staggered by how much effort has gone into it

We have learned SO much.

It is my first foray into this field, and hopefully not my last

If I said I had hair at the start of this project but don't anymore I would be exaggerating (well, the bit about me having hair anyway!)

I do hope you enjoy watching the trailer as much as we enjoyed making it

It can also be viewed in HD on YouTube

Normal blogging service will now be resumed