With my Photography I am never happy with where I am in my journey; I always want to carry on learning. Maybe this is because I worked in education for over 10 years or maybe because of my motivation to be the best photographer that I can be. Sometimes it is easy to learn and develop. For example when you buy a new piece of equipment. You learn how to use it. But learning how it actually works and learning how to apply it to a situation are two very different things.
One of the difﬁculties in trying to learn how to apply something new to a shoot is that a lot of the time I am on a paid shoot and there is not always the time to try out something new. This can be risky if something doesn't come off or doesn't work.
The solution for me is to try out techniques and equipment and ideas outside of these paid shoots. But there is only so much that can be achieved photographing my dog in the living room.
So recently I have contacted a number of models to arrange photoshoots at different locations and in different styles. This has allowed me to experiment but at the same time there is still some pressure to create fantastic images. If I just photographed family or friends there perhaps wouldn't be that little bit a pressure that there is when working with somebody who I don't know.
I wanted to make these scenarios as close as possible to a paid shoot. Speciﬁcally I wanted to emulate the time at a wedding when I get the bride and groom alone usually after the reception to get some photos just of those two. Usually the process would be to scout a location and walk the couple around a few different settings. The aim is to be quick but effective still creating dramatic photos in each small setting whilst capturing genuine emotions and getting the couple back to their wedding as quickly as possible.
So setting up some on location model shoots where I would replicate this was the plan. I also wanted locations and settings where there would be the possibility of getting bride and grooms to go to. The images I have in this post are from a shoot this week I did with Jessica at Jesmond Dene.
I contacted Jessica and with ease made arrangements. As with a wedding shoot you can't predict the weather and just have to get on with it so it was perhaps useful that the weather wasn't ideal. Arriving half an hour before Jessica myself and my assistant for the shoot Richard Davison scouted the area and came up with a rough plan and took a few test shots to show Jessica what we had in mind.
Here is me nicely modelling next to the waterfall at Jesmond Dene. After deciding the area was waterlogged on came the big hiking boots. Maybe should have gone with the wellies.
Jessica arrived with husband Sean and we all headed to the ﬁrst shot I had planned. As I have mentioned this was also a learning experience and one point myself and Richard established was when you're near a waterfall communication becomes difﬁcult. Thankfully Richard was able to run back and forward whilst we did a few test shots. Thankfully we had a pro in Jessica and she went through a few poses seamlessly and we created probably my favourite image of the whole shoot in the ﬁrst 5 minutes.
Here are a couple from behind the scenes that show how far away I was from Jessica. These are by Richard Davison.
Here is my ﬁnished image. I am very happy with it. And I also think this would really work with a bride and groom in the same location.
Next we took a series of photos with quite a simple setup and back drop. The technique I used with the lighting was slightly different to my normal method and again I wouldn't have tested this at a wedding but having the time and seeing these very pleasing images afterwards means I know I can do this at my next wedding.
Jesmond Dene is such an amazing location. You could do all types of different genre photo shoots here and still come away with something unique. Apart from the obvious trees and general woodland type images there are areas of brick and fencing that make interesting back drops. Here are a couple of a random wall that we found.
Not far from that wall we found a small tunnel. This is what I really wanted to use to create something s bit different and complex. We started with some shots that were back lit with a purple gel. These are more dark then what would be suitable for a wedding I think but nevertheless it was a good setup to practise.
The next stage was to move Jessica further up the tunnel and use the light behind with gel or act as a hair light and for it to colour the walls. we then utilised Sean to hold a regular ﬂashgun that we used to light Jessica from the front. This is a really good effect although I don't think I would like to put a bride in a white dress in this tunnel this technique could be recreated in many different settings.
Thanks again to Jessica for modelling and Richard Davison for his assistance. if any models would like to collaborate in the future then please get in touch. If your idea beneﬁts my portfolio then happy to shoot TF.