I’ve finally managed to edit my images from our Downton Abbey-themed location shoot back in late March. There are too many for one post so forgive me if I run them over the next few. The location was the Victorian part of Haden Hill House in Cradley Heath, West Midlands (who were extremely hospitable – thank you!). The models were Emilie Walt and Joel Hicks – both great favourites here at Fotofilia.
Firstly, the pictures of Emilie. As usual, Emilie went the extra mile for her role, researching and creating authentic hair and make-up of the period and even making two outfits especially for the day.
More images to follow (Joel next time)…
Forgive me dear readers and Fotofiles, I have sinned. The sin of sloth mainly, or at least as regards keeping this here blog furnished with up-to-the minute musings and photographic snippage. In my defence, if it is a defence, we’ve been mightily busy re-launching the Regent Parade studio, planning for the second studio – and a bit of bunking off on holiday.
But I’m back on the case now (sort of) and here’s a few images from a recent Fotofilia group shoot at the lovely Brewsmiths cafe near Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. I called the event a “Retro Cafe Shoot” and 6 intrepid photographers came along to photograph the two models, Chris Czora and Katie-May O’Hanlon, nicely attired in early 1960’s gear (including Chris wearing my 4-button jacket and shirt).
The visual inspiration was the British films of the period such as “Saturday night and Sunday morning” or “A kind of loving” with a sprinkling of recent American TV series “Mad Men” thrown in. I think we pulled it off..?
And my personal favourite…
In case you’re interested, I’ve done a bit of de-saturation and film-grain-adding on most of my shots from this shoot to enhance the period movie feel.
BIG thanks to Brewsmiths for their hospitality (incl. coffee and cake), Chris and Katie-May for playing the parts, our lovely participants, and Samantha Davis of Rose & Rainbow Photography for assisting.
When you book a model like Emile Walt (as I did on Sunday for this month’s CLUB/f2 shoot), you can be sure of two things: she will arrive on time and ready to shoot, and you will walk away with some images you’ll be proud of.
For Sunday’s shoot I already had the venue planned – the canals of Birmingham (just a few minutes walk from my Jewellery Quarter studio). This meant that if the forecast rain arrived during the shoot, we could carry on beneath the many tunnels and railway arches.
I had asked Emilie to wear something either street/urban or vintage/retro/quirky (knowing that the latter is definitely an Emilie Walt speciality) and she did just that. Her outfit and hair instantly brought to mind the 1940’s, film noir, WWII movies, and dramas about the French Resistance such as “Secret Army”, as well as more modern spy/detective series.
I took along my Nikon DSLR and 50mm f1.4 lens as well as the ubiquitous iphone4. Here’s a shot from the early part of the shoot that I took on my iphone and then gave a slightly “Edwardian” look with the help of Snapseed and Pixlromatic apps…
Luckily, it didn’t rain, but we stayed close to where we started anyway. In fact, when we did venture a little further along the canal we found ourselves being watched/heckled by a small crowd of early-rising jakies on the bridge above. For a change, I shot much more on the Nikon than the iphone. Something about this shoot and the flat autumn morning light seemed to suit the 50mm.
And finally, another couple of colour images…
Well, I enjoyed myself, and if the feedback is anything to go by (as it usually is), then so did the rest of the group.
Regular readers will know how much I value my occasional “fun shoots” where I try out new models, new lighting, new looks, new ideas etc. A couple of weeks ago I decided to bring in a model and challenge myself to leave the camera in the bag whilst conducting the whole shoot with just my iPhone4.
I put out a casting call asking for volunteer models for an “experimental” shoot and this was answered by the intrepid Jo Walter, sculptor/artist/model – and friend from my MA course.
Without the ability to hook up to the studio flash, I was relying on the relatively low light provided by the flashes’ modelling lights only. The iPhone’s camera is notoriously pants in low light and so this was the real challenge of the shoot. In addition, the slow file saving/writing time plus the awkwardness of composing the images on the phone, meant that the shoot was a slower, more considered affair than my usual shoots. But I rather liked this way of working. It reminded me somewhat of working in medium format film.
Jo brought along a great collection of vintage – and I mean genuine vintage original outfits from the 1920’s/30’s onwards – and this inevitably inspired the way I lit the shots and the treatments I had in mind for the post-production.
After a “normal” (ie. DSLR) shoot, I might spend no more than ten minutes on any particular image. But with the bewildering choice of apps on the iPhone plus my unfamiliarity with most of them, I found that I could easily spend two hours on a single image.
The apps used were (in no particular order): Snapseed, TtV PS, Grungetastic, Squaready, Instagram, Noir, PerfectPhoto and Resize Photo… and probably more that I can’t remember.
Hopefully you’ll like the resulting images as much as I do but whether you do or not, I’m sufficiently inspired to have arranged a second iPhone-only shoot next week.
Maximum thankings to thank my trusting, patient, and fearless occasional muse, Jo Walter, for her help with this little project.