Those of you who follow his blog will know that last week Scott Kelby paid a visit to Ole London Town to see Eric Clapton live at the Royal Albert Hall and for some quality ‘time out’ and a bit sight seeing thrown in for good measure.
Thankfully for this visit Mother Nature did us proud and came up with some cracking weather; blue skies, sunshine…and plenty of it…quite a contrast from when he was last over in October 2010 [Link]
Knowing that Scott was keeping this trip to London very ‘low key’ made it extra special that he chose to spend one of the days with my buddy Dave Clayton and myself for a catch up and to do a bit of ‘shooting’. So, on Wednesday of last week we all met up in London for a bit of lunch and then did the ‘London thing i.e. ‘hailed a black cab’ and made our way to a studio.
We headed over to Tower Bridge and the aptly named Tower Bridge Studios [Link]; a studio Dave had managed to source due to having worked with the owner James Vellacott in the past and geez what a find…5 large studios with every piece of kit you could wish for and to top it all off, they were all available, so giving us complete run of the place.
Scott had an idea to shoot in the daylight studio; something I’ve actually never used before, so that’s what we did and I must admit it made a real nice change. The light coming into this first floor studio’s frosted glass was nothing short of gorgeous and of course being natural light it meant we could shoot continuously.
In fact for the majority of the time we were shooting we used the natural/available light, a silver/white tri grip reflector and once or twice, a piece of foam core. Incidentally, an ingenious way of holding the foam core made use of metal bike racks…the kind you rest one wheel in to keep your pedal bike upright; simple, does the job and alot cheaper than any photography branded equipment I’m sure.
We had a couple of models come along, the first being a guy by the name of Reuben Kuan [Link]; an acrobatic performer whom Scott had approached the day before having watched him perform to a crowd of passersby in London’s Covent Garden; and what a fascinating character he turned out to be. Reuben was fantastic in front of the camera…not just because of how he looks but the way he could balance and the poses he could hold without so much as a strained expression; in fact I think the only ones moaning and groaning were Scott, Dave and myself as we positioned ourselves to take shots of him 🙂
Here’s a few of the ‘natural light’ shots that I took of Reuben, with the tri grip only being used on the shot of Reuben in the window. A little bit of ‘post’ was needed to bring back some extra light into Reuben’s face in the window shot but apart from adding a little glow, nothing more was done. For the shots of Reuben sat on the studio floor, these were taken with the available light and in ‘post’ a subtle ‘Bleach Bypass’ type effect was added with just a couple of steps in Photoshop…
The only time any studio lighting was used was for the last few minutes with Reuben. Scott took some fantastic shots of him against a black backdrop [Link] and I couldn’t resist finishing off taking a shot for putting a composite together.
The image below was taken using two strip lights on either side of Reuben and a Beauty Dish to the front. Normally I’d put up a grey backdrop but because we didn’t want to get all bogged down in setting up kit and wanted to keep things to a minimum, I just positioned Reuben about 10ft away from one of the white studio walls which limited the amount of light falling onto it…voilà grey wall 🙂
Our second model for the day was the very talented and delightful singer/song writer Chanel Fusco [Link]. I’ve worked with Chanel a number of times in the past, first meeting her to photograph her promotional material, and it’s been amazing to see how her confidence in front of the camera has grown to a point where she’s just not the same person that I first met [Link]
A HUGE thanks goes out to Chanel for making it over to the Studio seeing as it was very much last minute and I didn’t get hold of her until the very same morning. Chanel you’re a star and I know I speak for Scott and Dave here too when I say you were a total blast to work with 🙂
For those of you interested in the ‘technique’ side of things, all of the shots of Chanel were taken using just the light available in the studio and a Silver/White Tri Grip Reflector (only making use of the white side), Camera in Aperture Priority at F/2.8 and between 800 and 1600 iso…
I guess we must have been in the studio for a good 4 hours or so and it was a laugh a minute; great subjects to shoot, great venue and great company. Mind you I couldn’t help chuckling that the last time the three of us got together to shoot we froze our behinds off walking round a wet/grey London and this time the weather couldn’t have been better and we were shooting indoors…still by the sounds of it, we (Dave & I) may have redeemed ourselves after subjecting Scott to such weather last year 🙂
Having finished in the studio we then made our way to a nearby pub to sample some of the local ale (and diet coke) and talked about, well….just stuff and that’s what was really cool about the day…just hanging out, chatting, shooting and plenty of laughs.
We then hailed another black cab and headed across London to an Ethiopian Restaurant where we met up with Scott’s wonderful wife Kalebra, friends Alan and Marcia and (four time Guru Award winner, and Photography Teacher at a University just outside London) Ed Davis where the conversation and laughs continued until late…in fact until they were closing 🙂
I gotta say this is one day I’ll never forget because let’s face it 6 years ago I got my first ever copy of Photoshop and whilst surfing the net stumbled across an organisation called the N.A.P.P. (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) [Link] of which Scott Kelby is the President, I never would have thought that one day I’d be spending quality time in his company let alone being able to call him a friend. It doesn’t matter what age we are, we all have people we look up to and admire and for me Scott Kelby is one of them. I’ve alot to thank him for, a heck of alot because without him, his organisation and the folks he works with I wouldn’t be in the position I am now…in fact I may never have picked up a camera!
Scott, thank you for your limitless generosity and for taking time out of your ‘time out’ to catch up and spend it with Dave and myself. I know I speak for both of us when I say how proud we both are to be able to call you a friend. Thank you too, to Kalebra, Alan and Marcia…it was fantastic to meet you guys; see you at Photoshop World!
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