I briefly mentioned a couple of posts back about a recent a day long Male Model Portfolio Shoot where I was working both out ‘on location’ and in the studio.
Well, for this post I thought I’d cover the ‘on location’ part of the shoot to not only give you an idea of what I was working on but to mention about how I changed my ‘shooting’ style.
First off let’s talk about the shoot…
As is always the case it takes me a good 15 minutes or so of shooting before I start to feel comfortable and get ‘into the groove’ so I started off taking what I guess could be called ‘throw away shots’ that served a purpose in helping both Richard and myself settle into things…
I was working alone on this shoot so it was just Richard and myself moving from location to location. There were the obvious challenges to this when it came to kit and the odd bit of high wind but with a little improvisation which I’ll explain about in a little while, we worked through it without any hiccups.
“Simple & Clean” was the order of the day for the images and to keep the lighting subtle. With this in mind the lighting couldn’t have been any simpler…One Nikon SB800 Speedlight and a couple of modifiers namely a 46″ Shoot-Thru Umbrella and a Honl Speed Grid.
I was also using the new Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 to trigger the flash, and it’s this that I want to talk a bit more about. Those who know anything about me and my shooting style will know that I always shoot in Manual, and I do so because of the consistency in exposure that it gives from shot to shot. Now I can’t explain why this happened but for this entire shoot I changed everything and decided to shoot exclusively in Aperture Priority and TTL…
I simply chose an aperture which generally hovered around the f/4.0 and f/5.6 mark and got on with it. Changes in ambient light were made using exposure compensation on the camera and if I needed more or less light from the flash I just used the Flash Compensation on the SU800 Commander unit sat ontop of the Mini TT1.
Shooting this way was a whole new experience made possible by the new Pocket Wizard units but I have to say, hand on heart it was an extremely pleasant one. The kit worked faultlessly and being able to make all adjustments to the ambient and the flash power from camera meant I could work alot quicker and with fewer interruptions.
Being a whole new way of shooting for me, it felt odd not paying much that much attention to the shutter speed but having finished the shoot and then looked through the images in Lightroom the EXIF data was fascinating.
Shutter Speeds throughout the day varied from 1/60th of a second and up to 1/1600th of a second; a speed before now unheard of when shooting with a DSLR and Speedlights but again, not one misfire and no unexpected exposure variances as we went from location to location.
The only downside of shooting with the Nikon SU800 in addition to the Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 ontop of the camera is the bulk, but it works really well. Needless to say though, when the Pocket Wizard AC3 unit becomes available in the next couple of weeks I’ll be adding that to the kit back to keep everything as compact and user friendly as possible.
Anyway back to the shoot…
Again, something different I hadn’t done this time was my usual visit to the area beforehand and meticulously planned locations where we would shoot; we just walked and talked and when we came across somewhere we liked we went for it, and if we felt it didn’t work we simply moved on.
Photographing in the street offers up all manner of creative possibilities, however one thing I’m paranoid about is members of the public knocking into, or worse still falling over some of my kit. With the culture of “Where there’s blame, there’s a claim” ever present I take extra care when putting down a light stand in the street and either won’t shoot until everyone has well and truly passed or if I do have an assistant with me, get them to stand right next to it.
Talking of light stands, when we were shooting on the bridge over the River Thames connecting Windsor with Eton (images below) a sudden gust of wind took hold of the shoot-thru umbrella and had it not been for the lightning speed reactions of Richard, along with a lighting stand, a Speedlight and a Flex TT5 it would have all ended up being lost at sea.
Generally I’ll carry sandbags with me to prevent such mishaps but as there was only the two of us and the shoot was very much ‘on the hoof’ I couldn’t bring them along.
Life Saving Tip #1
However all was not lost with a little improvisation using my Think Tank Airport Security Roller camera bag/case; an expensive sand bag granted but it worked a treat 🙂
The series of photos on the bridge saw the end of the ‘on location’ part of the shoot as we then packed up and made our way over to the studio.
I’ll cover the studio part of the shoot in another post as some of the images have had the ‘compositing’ treatment so I’ll also include some of the editing involved.
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Having gone through this entire shoot without being in my usual comfort zone of ‘Manual’ it’s certainly given me food for thought. Now I’m certainly not thinking of changing my shooting style from this point, not at all, but what I like very much is being able to add this ‘style’ of shooting to the kit bag. Being able to use off camera flash with wide apertures and make all adjustments from the camera position was extremely handy and I’m sure contributed very much into making the shoot run as smoothly and as quickly as it did.
As usual if you do have any questions or comments or maybe just fancy leaving some feedback, then please feel free to make use of the comments section below.