First Outing In Ages
After what seems like a year, I finally met up with my old friend and model, Andy Taylor Boocock, for a photo shoot. As usual, we debated where to go. Having photographed at most locations in Leeds so it’s never an easy one trying to work out what to do – all I did was pack my trusty Canon camera kit and GODOX AD600‘s (and an AD200) and went with an open mind.
The last we visited this bridge over the a58m road, there were many tents and homeless people living there. so we couldn’t really do a shoot, without invading their privacy. I had parked here a couple of weeks before, and due to the coronavirus, I think many of these homeless people had been given temporary accommodation so we had the place to ourselves.
The photos of this blog are in chronological order.
We started with a fairly simple Set up, with a softbox attached to a GODOX AD600 flash head lighting and the front right. Behind there was a GODOX ad200 with a blue GEL on it. You can just about see it lighting the concrete and a bit on his shoulders. To add a bit of interest, I walked behind a lot of weeds and shot through the growth with the 70-200 lens. As you can see, Andy was nice and sharp and the foliage blurred, this creates texture, quite a cool thing and adds interest to anything.
This next shot is in the same position but instead, I’d moved in closer with the 70-200 lens, and got crouched very low. The angle works really well because of the lines of the building and Bridge giving us different textures and brightness, also you get a decent view of the tattoos on Andy’s neck and chest from this angle.
These next two photos are in essentially the same position. The first was pointing towards the sun so I had to dial down the exposure to stop the background overexposing. I increased the power of the three flashes to keep andy bright. I had two GODOX AD600 heads, and an ad200
Leaving Andy in the same position I move the flashes clockwise to get this area of blue sky behind his head, using the 16 to 35 mm lens I could get a lot of background and most of Andy into the image.
Next we moved below the bridge. The following photos just used one GODOX AD600 with hard light reflector, lighting Andy in the foreground, and ad200 behind him. We ditched the 3rd light – mainly to reduce the amount of Kit we needed to move between photos, and also no not to obstruct people passing by.
So these first two, which I have toned blue in Lightroom, the front light was over my right shoulder as I photographed and the backlight was pointing directly at Andy. This gave the underside of the footpath a little splash of light which separates Andy from the background.
The next few photographs are at ground level inside the bridge, and very cinematic in style. I wanted to create some interesting light patterns by casting the Flash light through railings.
As you can see, there is a pattern on the wall and across Andy’s body. This was done by massively underexposing the ambient light and then upping the power on the GODOX AD600 to create shadow and bright lines
It was very hard to predict where the bright and the dark patches were going to occur because the light was at a strange angle, it was at around 2 o’clock, if you picture the scene as a clock face with Andy at the middle, and me at 6 p.m.
On the last one, which I’ve turned slightly magenta, I zoomed out quite a bit to get some of the road in the background, it was actually quite bright and sunny so you can see how low the ambient exposure was from this shot.
The next set has Andy at the first level of the bridge. He either sat or stood on the railings. It’s always a bit scary as if anyone gets injured, you want a nurse with vast experience on hand to mend them if they fool, not for the nurse with vast experience to be the one who falls!
With this setup I left the GODOX AD600 down below creating the same kind of ribbed light pattern. Then placed the 200 flash on the Walk way to the left of Andy, just out of sight, so that was illuminating his head and body.
From here we could quite easily get a lot of variety, just by me moving around. All the images in this section were taken with the 70-200 lens, you can see the variety you can achieve in this zoom range.
The composition is all about Lines. That is why I enjoy photographing at this bizarre concrete monstrosity. It is an over-engineered brutalist concrete structure, which is full of texture, lines, light and Shadow.
You just need to put someone somewhere in the scene and light them, the structure takes care of everything else. A little bit brave of him to stand on top of the handrail but they did make for a good shot!
These 2 are on the Bridge over the motorway, I led flat on the bridge path, right in the middle, so I could get the most interesting lead lines possible. We can use the railings, deck and buildings for this. Also, getting low makes Andy’s head high in the frame, so it is in the clear Sky – free from obstruction.
With these next two, we put the GODOX AD600 high up to camera left and the 200 behind Andy to the right. There is lots of room for me to move around with this setup, as I’m on a long foot path. That was great, but the sky just wasn’t the most exciting behind him from this position. Sure we got this dark brooding look, but there was better sky…
So to make use of the sky, where the sun was creating patterns in the Cloud, I moved Andy about 5 paces, got the two flashes setup up positioned myself in a less-roomy spot, but one where I could get the amazing Sky.
As you can probably tell, the first shot was with the 70 to 200, but in this position, I had no real room to manoeuvre with such a long zoom so swapped over to the 16 to 35 for the final four shots. The first 3 had both lights on, the final photo had the backlight switched OFF, as it would have shown in the photo.
So that was my first model photoshoot since lockdown. Working with a familiar model in a familiar place may seem a bit predictable. However, we created something totally different to when we’ve been there before.
It’s often amazing too to revisit locations, because the light is never the same twice, you will have learnt something new since the last visit and the model will usually have some new outfits which work differently in that environment.
So yes, find new locations, but do revisit old ones too… you never know!