When I was deciding what to post this week, it dawned on me that I haven’t really shared a lot of my fashion/portrait work yet. I grabbed a few old hard drives on my way into the studio this morning and managed to dig a few of them out. Styled portraits are something I used to do a lot of in college and continued on for a while after, but recently I’ve not planned any shoots. I’m kind of hoping that looking back on a few of these will help motivate me again to make some calls and get back on the proverbial wagon.
This series was mainly taken in Dumbarton at the abandoned Ballantine’s distillery building. This is a really great location for a shoot like this, because it has a lot of wide, open spaces coupled with an interesting dilapidated building for great background textures. You can get a wide variety of shots over a really small area. There’s also some old, rusted skips there which really bring some colour to the frame.
I’d been in touch with Nicolette McKeown and we picked a day we were both free to drive across for a few hours and take a few shots. My partner Sheila came along to help out as well, which meant I could crack out the reflector to bounce some light into the images. It wasn’t too bad a day weather wise, but it jumped between being really sunny and overcast frequently. There was also a bit of wind, which you’ll discover can be the absolute bane of my existence when it comes to hair.
For a lot of these shots, I opted to use the gold side of the reflector. Not many people use this side (certainly not people I’ve come across at least), and I usually get funny looks from other photographers when I talk about using it, but I love it. Bringing the shots into Lightroom with the warm light from the golden side of the reflector can look really natural and warm on the face, mixed with slightly cold on the background of the image. It’s not for everyone, but I really enjoy the results I can get out of it most of the time.
The above images feature the skip I told you about, I couldn’t resist getting those colours in. I tried a bit of off-camera flash on these but I just wasn’t feeling it all that much. We got a couple of good results though, although looking back I could’ve paid a bit more attention to the wind moving Nicolette’s hair. It’s one of those things that you learn by mistake and I’ve definitely learned the hard way over the years, but then again that’s why I do these shoots – to practice and know what to look for. It’s easy to think once you know how the camera works you can do anything, but it’s like anything else; you need to practice constantly or you forget about the basic things that you learn to look for.
After hanging around the distillery for a few hours, we headed to Bowling to get a few more shots just down by the train station next to the water. I was pretty much doing the same technique here and blasting the sunlight off of the gold reflector. Again, I’m really happy with the results although I wish I’d paid more attention to the hair (it was a pretty windy day!).
There’s definitely some shots in there that are portfolio worthy, and both Nicolette and Sheila were great on the day. It was a really beneficial experience to use the area we were in to create a diverse series of images. I think that it’s important to look at your work subjectively, even writing down areas where you’re happy and where you feel you can improve.
That’s it for now, I’ll get rifling through my hard drives and get back to you next week!