This set of images was from a recent street photoshoot in the city of Leicester on a very warm Sunday afternoon in the middle of the 2018 Summer heatwave. I love using urban areas in cities because of the wide range of backdrops that can be used – walls, doorways, factory entrances etc. I use my small speedlights to mix artificial lighting with natural lighting to provide a dynamic looking image. The side streets of a city are generally quiet on a weekend afternoon, so we can get on with creating a great set of images without too much interest from passers-by. It is a great way to capture fashion and portrait images with a little difference.
On a recent commercial photoshoot for West of the Moon I found myself in the Leicester studio photographing scarves with the wonderful model Becki. The scarves were amazing to look at and no doubt destined for buyers all around the world, especially growing regions like China.
The shoot had mainly used the white cove background in the studio to show off the scarves on the model in full and half length poses. We had a few minutes spare at the end and I was asked for ideas for something different. I quickly setup a single light on the same white background on a low power. My favourite style of minimal lighting with lots of shadow gives the scarves a completely different look and feel within the image. The client loved the look and these last 5 minutes created another set of images that could be used in a separate promotional campaign.
I think I have probably completed my last urban shoot of the year now the weather is decidely more Autumnal. Cold, rain and wind are not a pleasant mix for a photoshoot. This was the first time I hve worked with Danielle, and we managed to find a small backstreet in Leicester which I had never used before. A quick bit of research on Google’s Street View helped me pick the location, as it appeared to have a few areas for possible backdrops within very short walking distance.
As it happens we were spoilt for choice and ran out of time before we ran out of street.
Here are a small selection of images from a recent model shoot in the backstreets of inner city Birmingham with the fantastic model Emily.
I love using run down inner city urban areas for fashion photoshoots. Theses areas are bursting with great colourful and textured backdrops – old walls, doorways, graffiti covered billboards and derelict buildings. And because of inner city regeneration projects, these areas are commonly now neighbours to new office blocks with modern architecture to create a great mix of old with new.
With the added advantage of these areas being relatively quiet, away from the main shopping areas of a city centre, makes a great location shoot with plenty of artistic options within a small area. It can be a challenge sometimes to see the opportunities within a rundown area, but it is great fun to get out of the studio and see what happens. These set of images were taken during a 4 hour photoshoot in just one individual street in Birmingham, just a 5 min walk from the Bullring.
The picture above was one of the first shots of the day, taken against a blue painted street wall using 2 x gridded Bowens Gemini flashes powered by Bowens TravelPaks.
Another brick wall, the other side of the street. Quick change of clothes to get a different look, adding variety to a portfolio.
A boarded up public house is an all too common scene in every town and city in the UK, but can be used as a great backdrop for street fashion images with the help of a couple of powerful lights.
I spotted this ‘Weekend Offender’ sign painted on the wall of a very large archway as I did my initial walkaround of the area before the model arrived. I made a mental note of the exact location ready to use when the time came. Another 2 x gridded Bowen light setup – one on the sign, the second positioned across the archway lighting Emily.
There is always a graffiti covered wall to be had in an inner city area, and this wall was just a few feet further on down the street.
More graffiti found in an old factory doorway with the ‘Weekend Offender’ sign making another appearance. Doorway was lit with a gridded Bowens and Emily was lit with a gridded beauty dish hand held just above Emily.
Final change of outfit, using the natural soft light in the shadow of a building on the opposite side of the street, shot with a Nikkor 70-200 f2.8.
I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed the afternoon capturing them. Contact me if you are interested in a street fashion photoshoot to build your portfolio or just for a different experience.
I did my second shoot with model Grace this week, trying out a few new lighting setups in the Leicester studio. Image above was shot against a bright red brick background which looked much better in black and white for this particular shot. Lit with a single Bowens head through a gridded beauty dish, my favourite lighting accessory.
I purchased a small vintage Union Jack flag from ebay a while ago with the express intention of using it as a backdrop to some studio portraits. Really wanted a very large flag for full length portraits, but this is just about suitable for half length max. Its made from cotton and doesn’t have the horrible sheen to it that new cheap flags seem to have.
The opportunity to use it only recently came along when I did a fashion shoot with Penny in the Leicester studio. Hung from a backdrop stand with black cloth behind to soak up the light. Lit with a single EZYBox softbox with grid on a C-Stand.
The Olympics may be just about on us but I will keep hold of this flag for the studio. Will be great for dynamic child and family portraits as well as fashion and beauty photoshoots.
One of Leicester’s inner city areas is aptly named Frog Island, an area of land situated between the River Soar and the Grand Union Canal. It was once a great industrial scene, with mills and breweries located in the area, and the Great Central Railway running over the top of the land via a series of viaducts. There is evidence all over Frog Island of its great industrial past, with old buildings being reused and some being left in decay.
I was asked to do a fashion shoot for up and coming dress designer Michelle Schoemaker with model Ellen Ferguson. Location requirement was somewhere old and raw to highlight the softness and delicate look of the outfits. After scouting several areas in Leicester, Frog Island fitted the bill nicely, with a great selection of urban scenery within walking distance.
The image above was taken in the one spot in Frog Island where you cannot see any urban decay. A lovely peaceful view on a bridge over the River Soar in the middle of a busy city centre. Off camera flash and cloud filled sky creating a dramatic environmental portrait.
My second urban shoot of last weekend was with Nottingham based model Neil. First time I have worked with Neil and we had a nice relaxed shoot in the gorgeous Leicestershire weather. Lots of interesting backdrops in a small area of Leicester to use as backdrops to portraits, saving on our shoe leather as we moved to each new location. Again I swapped between natural light and off camera flash to capture a useful variety of images. I work light, with one camera bag, a lightstand and small softbox to allow an easy move between setups with little fuss.
Taking advantage of the fantastic spring weather the UK is currently enjoying. I spent last weekend on two urban shoots in my home city of Leicester. First shoot was with up and coming model Ellen. This was my second shoot with Ellen, and we made great use of the mix of old and new buildings around Leicester as fantastic backdrops. A variety of natural light and off camera flash gave us a great variety of images to choose from.