I recently read that photography is becoming a rather attractive ‘solution’ in these financially difficult times, where redundancies continue to loom for some corporate workers. The falling cost of decent camera equipment, combined with the romantic thought of a seemingly easy creative job, is attracting more and more people. These days there seem to be a steady influx of new photographers, all vying for the ever decreasing volume of photography work. Many of these new “businesses” are also happy to charge a pittance for work of a standard that is well below what it should be.
One problem that this creates is an increase in the promotion of this low quality work, and, if this continues, I feel there is a real danger that the overall acceptable standard will be lowered and will suffer as a result. The people who will really suffer, however, are all of those brides, grooms and families out there who will be led to believe that “average” is the best they can get.
It is hugely important, therefore, that those of us who strive for good quality imagery ensure that we continue to evolve in a way that keeps us ahead of the competition – whether it be new or old. This will not only ensure that we continue to develop our own skills, but hopefully it will also allow us to bring fresh, new ideas to the market and we thereby fulfill our roles as ambassadors of this profession by raising the bar to demonstrate what should be the acceptable level.
A few years ago I attended a Brett Harkness Funky Flash training course. This was a life changing day for me, and I am not joking. This was the day that I learned about controlling off-camera flash, taking full control of my camera and started my journey into something very special. That course allowed me, over the last few years, to produce some very special shots and formed the basis for the fundamental understanding of lighting that I used this year to win my Fashion Photographer of The Year award.
Brett’s gritty style and technical approach was perfect for me two years ago – I was revved up for some real nerdy technicals. Now that some time has passed, however, I started to feel that I needed a bit of ‘realignment’ in the right direction. I wanted a similar but alternative approach to the same type of lighting, to serve as a “creative update”.
Enter another Master of the Speedlite, Damien Lovegrove. Damien’s friendly and relaxed approach to teaching is key the the success of his courses. There were only only five students in attendance so we all had ample time to shoot throughout. After starting the day with a coffee and a chat about how the sessions would develop, we headed out into the gorgeous sun and got started. Within an hour I was quite literally drooling over the images on the back of my camera. As the day unfolded, I was blown away by the simplicity of the setups and the resulting imagery – just amazing.
Damien has a relentless enthusiasm and unwavering patience. Although i’m not sure he needs too much of the latter, as his very simple explanations made it easy to understand what he was doing at all times – even the most complex of setups were easy to follow.
Our gorgeous model Natalia, from Gingersnap Models, was an absolute delight to work with – very friendly, very happy and very beautiful – so easy to photograph.
As you view the images which follow, it’s important to bear in mind that Damien set up the lighting but the poses were mostly directed by me, and expertly followed by the ever-willing Natalia.
These were taken at 10:30am in bright daylight.
This was the setup for the following shot:
A similar setup here, below, in the long grass, as the sun toyed with us:
Totally loving the ruffled hair look below:
These two following shots were taken with an on-camera Orbis Ring Flash. Very similar to the style of light used in an FHM-style shot …
This simple one-light setup uses the sun as a kick-light…
producing some utterly stunning results. The second of these shots is my absolute favourite from the day.
This shot below was lit just from behind – initially I thought that it left Natalia’s face too dark, but it looks nicely moody though..
An extra light at the front, produces this setup:
and see how her face pops with the extra light…
The final setup of the day …
and another cracker to finish off with!
Checkout Damien’s website for upcoming courses – highly recommended!