Manchester Urban Portrait Shoot

zoe blog headerWith a brief Manchester urban portrait shoot in the pipeline I began by unburdening my camera bag of its bulk.  Leaving the large Canon 1D series bodies, prime lenses and numerous flash guns at home.  Preferring instead to rely on the small but beautifully formed inconspicuous Fuji XPro-1, two lenses (18 and 35mm) and the Calumet GF400 bare bulb flash kit.  It felt strangely liberating being free from my usual baggage.  Yet still having enough power and pop to create useable portrait images.

Meeting up with model Zoe at the Night and Day Cafe to discuss the shoot route.
Castlefields proved a perfect setting with its canal basin, geometric doors, railings and stair wells set against an urban skyline.

Sometimes making the most of a two or three metre area to frame up the shots.

Manchester Urban Portrait ShootManchester Urban Portrait ShootManchester Urban Portrait ShootWhilst at other times incorporating the wider panoramic scenery and urban skyline into the image.  Sometimes balancing the available ambient light with the flash and at other times, killing the ambient light by under exposing by up to 2 stops and lighting the image using the GF400 with fitted diffuser.  This technique allowed for a day time shot to be given a night time look.  Atmospheric dark contrasty shots being the order of the day whilst high key shots were definitely banished.
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We ended the session by making our way back to Deansgate.  To the late victorian neo-gothic, John Rylands library which dominates the streetscape.  The dramatic setting proving perfect to create some film noir type shots, incorporating the shadows and harsh light to sculpt the images.  With it’s cloistered corridors and large opulent stone steps flagged by lighted piers and stained glass windows providing a rich tapestry for ideas and backdrops.

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All too quickly our time came to an end but suffice to say the two hours spent shooting with minimal kit yielded publishable results. Many thanks to Zoe without whose natural pose ability and patience the session would not have been either as enjoyable or provided such excellent results.

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