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.
I spent a few days in London recently and used some of the time taking in some street photography with my Fuji X-Pro1 and 18mm, 35mm and 56mm lenses.
I find street photography in London easier than some other places because there are so many visuals to work with, there are lots of other photographers (tourists) around and everyone is so busy going from A to B that you do not look out of place and can get on with taking photographs without apprehension. The weather was fantastic with the start of summer, and I used my morning and evening walks to take advantage of the fantastic light.
1. Street seller at Westminster Bridge. Prime spot and unbeatable footfall for the tourist market.
2. Cranes standing to attention across the River Thames. London is constantly changing, as much of a living and breathing city as the people who occupy it.
3. Trafalgar Square, looking at St Martin-in-the-Fields church. I sat my Fuji X-Pro1 on a mini-tripod with a 3 stop ND filter for a long exposure to capture the movement within the scene.
4. Nelson’s Columns, Trafalger Square. Watching the comings and goings since 1843.
5. Earl Haig Memorial, Whitehall. A bronze statue in silhouette.
6. Protesters opposite Downing Street. The dog is taking a great interest in something.
7. Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament. Red and blue is the order of the day.
8. Makeshift memorial for the victims of the recent terrorist activities on the bridge.
9. Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament is a popular location for foreign bride wedding photography.
10. The remains of the evening sunlight falling onto a building in shadow.
11. A waiter outside a cafe at Trafalger Square.
12. Nelson’s Column in silhouette. Everything is standing to attention.
13. Muriel at Southbank. Lovely colours in the sunlight.
14. A morning walk on the south side of the River Thames. Walking is so much better than using the tube when you have a camera and the weather is sunny and warm.
15. Red and black are a great combination at the National Theatre.
16. Wooden pier with a backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral and the modern world.
17. There are over 100,000 hotel rooms in Greater London.
18. Under the bridge in the morning light.
19. The Tate Modern Gallery, Bankside.
20. The Millenium Bridge, which started off as being affectionately known as ‘The Wobbly Bridge’. It was closed for two years whilst the issue was fixed.
21. The Millenium Bridge, with St Paul’s in the background. The bridge provides easy access for commuters travelling between Bankside and the City of London.
22. The Shard, 95 storeys in total and 310 metres to the tip.
23. Morning commute through the ancient streets of London.
24. Morning trains passing through Southwark.
25. Commuters in reflection
26. Heathrow is not far away.
27. I love the sharp anglesand straight lines that modern hi-rise office buildings can provide.
28. Statue near to London City Hall
29. The Shard sandwiched between two office blocks.
30. Construction on the North side of the Thames. The Gherkin is in the mix.
31. A commuter walking towards Tower Bridge. Tower of London in the background.
32. Sunlight reflecting off a modern building.
33. The Shard backlit by the sun.
34. Pedestrians passing through developed office and shopping areas in Southwark.
35. Red is the colour in Piccadilly Circus.
36. Victoria Memorial, The Mall.
37. Bronze statue in silhouette, Victoria Memorial, the Mall.
38. Buckingham Palace in the evening. The Mall was closed off the traffic for military parade practises in preparation for the Queens Birthday celebrations – Trooping of the Colour.
39. Union Jack and the London Eye at dusk.
40. Relaxing on The Mall with no traffic.
41. Practising for Trooping of the Colour down The Mall. British tradition in all its splendor.
42. Trafalger Square at dusk.
43. You are spoilt for choice for nightime entertainment.
44. Big Ben poking up above the treeline at dusk.
45. The London Underground, a city all by itself.
46. A 30 second exposure brings life to a nightscene.
47. The night time lights start to appear on the banks of the Thames.
48. The London Eye in all its glory.
49. Lights a plenty in the evening.
50. An old ship commandered as a drinking venue on the waters of the Thames.
London is all about moving around – from A to B to C…and back again. Like ants building a nest on a spare piece of land. Scurring everywhere – building and doing. Travelling to tomorrow. And travel options are bountiful – on foot, bike, tube, red bus, taxi, pedicar. The choice is seemingly ours.
Westminster Bridge with the London Eye.
London has some fantastic modern architecture spread across the city. I love glass fronted building and the reflections created.
The gentrified Butlers Wharf. Once the world’s largest tea warehouse in the world. Now a mix of luxury flats, restaurants and office space.
Ice cream break by Tower Bridge.
A London Evening Standard newspaper distributor by the entrance to an underground tube station. How much longer will this be a scene on the streets of Central London in the new digital revolution world with instant media streams.
Taking a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The 39 Steps – and a lot more once you have spent a few hours in London.
A meeting place for those who are halfway between A and B.
Stop and chat waiting for the traffic to halt.
My second photoshoot with the X-Pro1 was with local model Beth through Model Mayhem. First try out with the fantastic Fuji 35mm F1.4 lens, along with the wider Fuji 18mm F2.
We shot in the same area as my first street shoot of 2014, but using different buildings as backdrops. Even though the photo shoot was mid afternoon with bright sunshine, the use of off camera flash enabled us to create a night time look in some of the images for a dramatic effect.
The use of natural light and off camera flash on a 2 hour street shoot enables the set of images to include a mix of moody and dramatic images along with bright and sunny examples.
A street shoot is great fun for model and photographer, and is a great option for an editorial piece for a blog or magazine.
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.
Did a shoot with Sam last week using a combination of a local woodland location and then into Leicester city centre for some urban portraits. The weather threatened to be a real challenge but somehow we managed to dodge the worst of it and created some great images.
This image was shot with my now favourite lighting setup of a PocketWizard miniTT1 / TT5 triggering an SB800 through a Lastolite EZYBox 60×60 gridded softbox on a stand. Ambient light provided fill.
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.