A lovely campaign called “Whoever You Want To Be” for private school Stonar that I photographed and composited together a while ago.
One of the first times I visited Kynance cove was is the early 90’s while shooting a lifestyle campaign for Clarks Shoes active sandals.
This shot was captured a decade later but not from the popular viewpoint that is most often used for postcard and book sales.
It’s sometimes hard to find a good vantage to call your own at well known locations but I see little point in replicating what’s been done countless times before.
I loved this vantage point I think it was the winding path and the stream leading down to the cove and beach cafe that made me stop and shoot from this spot.
Shooting at dawn can be extremely rewarding and peaceful but not always without it’s issues.
When shooting on location I invariably choose to head out at dawn. Not only does this mean I can capture beautiful light but it also means I avoid the crowds if I don’t wish to have people in the shots.
One of the downsides to this especially in hot countries is that I have on more than one occasion almost tripped over people sleeping in some unusual places.
Once it was an abandoned fairground near Side in Turkey where I placed my tripod within inches of a fellow asleep on a merry go round without realising until I was packing up.
Then there was the boat yard shown below also in Turkey which as well as having a guy sleeping outside in the elements also housed a couple of dogs too which thankfully ignored me !
Tomorrow I have a location lifestyle shoot planned with a couple of models so I thought I’d give a glimpse on how I prepare for some of my shoots.
It can be surprising to some people just how much pre-production can go into even the smallest shoots especially if they are on location.
My shoot tomorrow has it’s own particular added elements that need careful preparation and close attention and that is because the backgrounds have already been captured several months before.
When I travel I often will go out capturing my chosen locations before dawn or dusk for the best light (depending on what I’m after).
If I have a choice I prefer dawn not because I love to get up at 4am (in the summer) but because there is less likely to be any tourists around especially in popular city locations.
Saying that having been a retoucher for 21 years I know some clever techniques to very simply remove people from images in post without the need for any stress while on location if needed.
My models will be captured either in my studio or as is more often the case outside in natural daylight and supplemented with lighting if required.
So for this shoot to be captured and be successfully blended realistically in post-production there are many things that need careful attention. Here are just a few of the basics.
The light quality
The surrounding elements and their colour
Camera angle (perspective)
Lens focal length (this can be tweaked a little)
As I said these are just a few things that I’m carefully looking at.
To help me with this I create a markup image for quick reference (shown below).
Here are a few samples from a previous shoot.
As you will see in the second picture in the bottom row if possible I’ll always take a snap of myself in the scene.
You have probably already guessed that this gives me a great reference when I shoot my models to how the light in the scene should be interacting on them even if it’s not a pretty picture!
So one question you may ask is why go to so much trouble why not shoot the models in situ like many photographers?
Well, I first should add I’m definitely not against doing it all in camera and often do however there is a multitude of reasons why it might not always be possible.
The main one is simply the logistics of getting models, stylist, makeup artist and the many other people that make up a production crew to a particular location at a certain time.
For me, it’s partly the above plus, of course, the substantial costs involved as some of these images are purely self-funded portfolio pieces so budgets can be naturally tight.
The other more personal reason is it enables me the luxury of more time to concentrate on capturing the changing light and various angles the locations has to offer with more flexibility.
It was interesting to read that Lord Litchfield towards the latter end of his career shot in a similar way.
As far as the post-production is concerned there is, of course, some work (and cost involved) pulling all the elements together but then how often these days does an image not have some retouching applied before being published? If planned and executed correctly the image can often come together remarkably quickly.
As I said above I’m quite happy working and doing it all in camera and have done so many times but for me working this way provides a flexible alternative providing it’s planned accordingly.
I’ve mentioned before that for 10 years I was fortunate enough to have a holiday home in Turkey. On one trip shooting at dawn I captured this chap Asur Teber who was a security guard at one of the beachfront hotels in Gumbet.
He was more than willing for me to capture his picture in fact I eventually had to make my excuses to get back for my breakfast !.
He asked for me to send him a print and I always believe if people have given me their time and ask for a copy of the image it’s the very least I can do and always deliver on that.
I’m not sure if I mislaid his details but I decided to deliver the print the following year to the hotel. Unfortunately he apparently lived in northern Turkey and no longer worked at the hotel.
I left the print anyway in the hope it might one day find it’s way to him.
In this day and age we are told it’s all about “The Brand” and being known as a specialist in a particular area.
I’m no different my strength and biggest passion are definitely in capturing people on location .
Does this mean I’ve never been able to shoot anything else ? of course not in fact I used to photograph cars for many years. On the back of this I also got involved very early on into HDR
image based lighting for the rendering of Computer Generated Images for the automotive industry.
I’ve also had clients ask me to captured things that I definitely would not consider my strongest areas or ever promote to be a specialist in such as food.
Obviously I always explain this to the client and if they still want me to do the job and I’m happy I can do a good job I’ll do it. I’m only capable of this because I’ve been around a bit and confident in my craft and knowledge of lighting etc.
Interiors are another genre I have done for many years and still do.
I’ve resisted putting this work on my main website until now due to the concern that it might dilute my specialist areas of Travel & Corporate Lifestyle.
However it’s an area I get asked to shoot a lot and enjoy plus it does have some crossover into the Travel market so I’ve added some of this work as a gallery Luxurious Interiors.
St Marks Square Venice at some ungodly hour where it was just me, street sweepers and a few pigeons for company just how I like it !