We work with what we have

I must sound like a broken record sometimes… “skills to pay the bills”, “keep on with your CPD”, truth is the reason I keep banging on and on is this stuff is just IMPORTANT. Ask yourself are you just a “Shutter monkey” or are you reeaaally in full control? Only you know the real answer to the question.

Nothing is easy though, I’m not dumb enough to say it is and I have my testing times as well, in those times you quite literally have to make a little “something” out of “nothing”!

I’d needed a meeting with my friends at The Flash Centre to finalise a UK tour we are doing a little later in the year and our diaries heavily suggested that the best point to renvdevouze would be up in the north east on a Societies of Photographer roadshow just before I went to Sweden on a shoot, miss this and we were looking at another two weeks before we could dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s”, so off I went.

We’d suggested that we’d have another quick once over with some kit so I had a beautiful subject in tow. I had intended shooting outside but unfortunately we were overheard discussing this and things took on a course of their own!

The guys at The baby prop shop said… “Here quick, use our background and too many people flocked around to be able for us to decline and say we wanted to shoot outside.

Now in truth this is not dissimilar to all the things we face as a pro photographer, we’ve all been on a wedding or a commercial shoot where the client says “Oooh just one more thing, I know you are here to do X but could you also just do Y”… time to think on our feet then!

I needed, quick, simple, easy and effective. I raided Simon from The Flash Centre’s kit bag and opted for two of my favourite modifiers, both parabolic umbrellas, a shoot through and a silver 105cm reflective. Tell you what if I could only ever use one type of modifier this would be it, wonderful, controllable light that is easily packed and transported… what isn’t to like?

I was a little limited on the rigging front, no boom arm, so had to make do with one of the display brackets that the guys use at the show. I fixed an ELC 1000 (cause thats what was there) with a 105cm silver parabolic umbrella and “table topped” the light, that’s just a fancy way of saying it was pointing down.

My second light was an ELB 1200, both this and the ELC are excellent as they can be dialled right down from being super powerful to next to nothing and control is always the key.

I choose the 105cm shoot through parabolic for my “key” light, heavily feathered to offer a skimming, slice of light across the subject.

Like I say, control is the key and everything on set was metered the ratio was 2.5 to 1, I wanted a “direct window light” type of a look.

I shot both on my trusty Olympus OM-D EM-1 mk2 with the stalwart 12-40 f2.8 pro and the Pentax 645z. These two cameras are my tools of choice when its time to work, each chosen for their own unique abilities and style. It is very important as a pro to be able to choose the right tool for the job.

So thats it job done, I took care of the images in the best way I could, in the circumstances and with what was available… getting the image at all cost. I even had time to have fun on the shoot when my friend and very talented photographer Gary Hill decided a baby posing basket should be shanghaied into being a cool prop!

Anyway, here are a few samples of the shots made, the background really compliments the dress and the mono was done in camera.

If you feel you’d like to work a little more with light, wether it be for the very first time or you want to get yourself out of that rut we all fall into with our work keep a close eye out for the announcement on Simon and Damian’s world tour of great Britain – well some of it!

till next time



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