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.
A recent trip to London gave me the opportunity to get out onto the streets at night to test the low-light capability of my X-Pro1. London is such a busy place that there is always something going on at every corner, and I have found the best technique for me is to stop and observe for a while out of the way of everyone before taking a shot. The combination of a rich sky at dusk and lighting from buildings and vehicles can really make an image pop.
A London red bus and pedicab competing for customers and road space.
There are some great colours from lit buildings, and the contrast of the colours deepens as the ambient lights falls. Cool Britannia with cool lighting.
Even with urban landscapes, I still prefer to have people in my photos to maintain the sense of living.
London is full of graphic imagery and signs, all competing for your attention.
Amongst the hurly burly of the city, this type of scene can be captured easily without drawing attention to yourself.
A quickly grabbed shot of a pedicab. The X-Pro1 did a fantastic job of coping with a mix of Neon lighting from nearby shop fronts.
Shops for the tourists. On every street….and the ubiquitous black cab.
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.
I took advantage of the start of Spring and the kinder weather to kick off my 2014 Street Shoot season with a photo shoot with local model Yasmin. I took along my new X-Pro1 camera, with its small design and fast sharp lenses being ideal for this type of shoot.
We met at a predesignated point in Leicester and used a handful of side streets in the same area for the photo shoot. This reduces the amount of walking to each area and maximises shoot time. A mix of natural light and off-camera flash gave us a great selection of images against different urban backdrops, ideal for model portfolios, editorial portraits or family portraits with a difference.
We battled with the wind somewhat but had a great time,and produced a fantastic set of images. The X-Pro1 performed brilliantly, and as I learn how to get the best out of it, will become my go to camera for portrait photography. It is very easy to carry around, and the quality is amazing. It worked flawlessly with my pair of Nikon SB-800s and Pocket Wizard Mini-TT1 trigger and TT5 receivers.
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.
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.
I was recently commissioned to shoot a portrait of Dr Dali Edwards, Executive Director of Par Excellence Magazine .
Par Excellence is a successful site designed for professional women at the top of their game, and the site is packed full of interesting articles including business, lifestyle and wellbeing.
I split the shoot into two halves, the first to get a nice headshot of Dali to use in an official capacity, and then the second half was spent in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter to create a set of fantastic urban portraits which are ideal for editorial and lifestyle use.
Now that Autumn has arrived with its typical wet and windy weather it’s time to start thinking about getting some great family sessions and stylish 1-on-1 urban portrait shoots booked. There is no need to hibernate until next year. Strong colourful images will brighten up any living room wall during these darkening nights and will last a lifetime. A family session or individual urban shoot will look great with softer lighting from overcast skies and the wearing of hats, scarfes and jumpers.
Paul Hurst Photography is now offering a 1hour family session and 2 hour individual urban shoot in Leicester for just £75, which includes a framed 5″x7″ picture of your choice from the shoot. Images from the shoot can be viewed and selected online. Fantastic looking albums, frames, acrylic and box frames are all available at low prices to show off your images. Visit Paul Hurst Photography now or call 07810 693231 to book your Leicester family or urban shoot.