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……


Pete Tiley / Bike rider. said...

A great read. Truly inspiring and above all else I love reading your light management. Thanks.

topcat said...

very informative..i felt i was there on the shoot. The footage of you all leaving the shoot made me wish i was! Enjoyed reading this as much as it looked like you enjoyed the day's work!

Mark Howells-Mead said...

Isn't that Shakira on the sofa, third from the right? :-)

Unknown said...


Your work has always been inspiring. I find it really great when a pro like yourself shares...when you really don't need to. BTW I've attended one of your Dubai GPP sessions (inwhich you explained the setup of the pooping donkey shot :) )..

On the enlarged seamless shot i noticed the floor was pretty tainted with foot prints. Do you clean it up in PP ?


Simon Proudfoot said...

Fantastic image! I've only recently stumbled upon your work and I'm already a fan.

Anonymous said...

Another location to add to my list. See you at Focus!

Unknown said...

She does look like Shakira doesn't she?