Phil and Tom’s Portrait Shoot

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: May 27, 2009

Category: General

At the start of this week I was out in Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire on a portrait shoot with two guys, Phil Hughes & Tom Beynon. Having arrived a couple of hours earlier and scouted the area for good ‘shoot’ locations, I met up with the guys for the usual coffee and a chat through what shots I had planned.

We headed off on foot, starting with some simple ‘practice’ shots to get into the right frame of mind (pardon the pun) and then onto some other locations that I’d discovered earlier. Both Phil & Tom had brought along a few changes of clothing to give the photos a bit of variety but to be honest it was me that could have done with some. Let’s just say that next time I’m photographing in a field with long grass I’ll take extra care when I’m getting down for a low angle shot; who said that it was ‘lucky’ to step in a Dog’s Number 2????

We were out photographing for just under 2 hours, finishing off in a covered Market Place before making tracks for an urgent clothing change.


A couple of hours before the guys arrived I’d been out an a recce; the weather was dry and fairly overcast so I intended to use the Nikon Speedlight as there wasn’t that much sun coming through to overpower.

For the shots of Phil & Tom together in the field I went for a high vantage point to ‘shoot’ downwards, which in turn eliminated the sky out of the frame. Flash Power wasn’t too much of an issue in this case, so an SB800 fired into a shoot-thru umbrella, close-in was all that was needed. Tom and Phil were then positioned in such a way that there was an even spread of light hitting both of them.

For the shots of Phil on his own in the field I went for a low angle, aiming upwards towards him which ofcourse meant that sky was going to be in the shot. I needed as much power as possible out of the SB800 so opted to use it with no diffuser but a Honl Speed Grid; just that extra stop of light or so that this gave me was just enough to get the sky looking how I wanted.

Finally for the series of shots in the covered Market Place I used the SB800 but this time with the Lastolite Ezybox. This is a great piece of kit that gives a much more directed spread of light onto the subject and minimises spill onto the surrounding area. Being in a shaded area, the flash could be dialed way down which in turn gave quicker recycling times and allowed for me to take a faster series of shots with minimal delay.

Right, busy weekend fast approaching with two day long photo shoots (Friday & Saturday) so it’s time to check, check and check again that all my kit is in order.

More later ;o)

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