How I Made That Image
IN THE BEGINNING…
When I started in this incredible industry over 10 years ago, I hunted for inspiration. I really had to go out of my way to find images that made me say “Wow! How the hell did they do that?”
In 2020, we are bombarded by information and image overload, whether we search for it or not, with all of the exponential growth of social media, Google and AI. All we have to do is mention something to someone in passing and our smart devices will be listening, only to freak us out at the first opportunity with its findings in the form of posts, pop-ups and adverts the moment we look at our screens.
HOPELESSNESS IS IRRELEVANT
How is this relevant to the topic of this article you may ask? Today we face an onslaught of outstanding and awe inspiring images on social media that can leave many photographers feeling paralyzed with fear that they’re not capable or good enough to compete in a marketplace that has never been more competitive or fierce.
That said, there really is no need to worry; help is at hand! Particularly with amazing resources like Scott Kelby’s blog, its vast reservoir of knowledge and experience; there’s really no reason to feel like you have to go it alone, or indeed feel alone period.
In this feature I want to share how some of my award-winning images were created by breaking down my thought processes on the shoot, technical settings, and lighting setups to try and provoke thought and inspire ideas for you. The key here is to understand my thought process; after all, camera settings and lighting setups replicated in isolation are as good as knowing nothing about the image at all if you don’t understand what triggered certain ideas or decisions under the pressure of the situation.
This is the essence of authenticity, of provenance; using your vision, experience, expertise and ability to cope under pressure… basically you’re extracting the best of your personality and ability as a professional and as an artist and imbuing the image with something truly unique.
This is my approach with each of these images – I use what I know about my clients, their story, my equipment and my understanding and belief in my own tastes; I know what appeals to me and what doesn’t to create a solid start point.
‘FROM LONDON WITH LOVE’
For example, this image was from the couple’s engagement shoot in London’s Hyde Park. They wanted an image that embodied their love, their cool relaxed demeanour, their style as a couple and their lifestyle which was achieved through the way I posed them alongside his car (which in this case says a lot about him) in an area of London in which they live. The emotion in this image is embodied in their pose, connection and expressions and enhanced with dramatic lighting.
I only had moments to set this image up because of the extremely tight security in London. Despite this, I used 3 lights to create this image because the impact of the concept demanded it. I used one gridded flash to camera left in front of the car set low down to illuminate the front of the Aston Martin and to provide a rim light for the bride. I used one unmodified bare bulb flash to camera right at a high angle to light the rear of the car and provide a rim-light to the groom. The third light had a quarter CTO gelled light on the couple to give them a soft, warm, comforting tone. I had to slightly underexpose for the failing light of the sky by stopping down to f/11 and setting the shutter to the cameras’ sync speed at the lowest possible ISO. The small aperture had the added effect of creating the star bursts from the light reflecting off the car in camera.(more…)