Shooting in Canary Wharf with @_georgiiemae
Last Monday, I went up to Canary Wharf in London to take some photos with the fabulous @_georgiiemae. This was our first time working together and hopefully not our last as we both had an amazing time, and really understood the photos we were trying to get!
When shooting with models, there are some things that are really important to me:
1. Primarily that we are on the same page for the style and images we want to shoot and that the model is comfortable with shooting that.
2. That I constantly show the model the back of the camera and tell her what I think works and doesn't work but ALSO listen to any creative input they have!
3. Work with the models creativity too. I think of all shoots as two creatives combining, rather than just me telling a model exactly what I want all the time. This forces me out of my comfort zone and often results in some of my favourite images!
4. That my model knows that they will also have a copy of all the photos I edit, and will be allowed to use them freely (provided they tag when reasonable of course!) I've found that when models know that the photos are also for them, they tend to be more happy to give their creative input, rather than worrying that they're 'changing' the photographer.
- Nikon D700
- Nikkor 85mm f/1.8
- A white reflector for some of the closer shots
For this shoot I was focusing on placing my model using symmetry to frame her, and also to get some more close up natural beauty shots.
My model brought multiple outfits, and jackets, so that we could mix and match at each location. We spoke before the shoot about the style of makeup I prefer and the style of clothing. I also told George a few key pieces I'd seen from her Instagram that I'd like to shoot with too.
It's important to note that as this was the first time I'd met George, we met in Costa for some tea and had a nice catch up before we shot! We chatted about our backgrounds, families and then on to what we both wanted from the shoot and our previous experience. We also had a look through the Pinterest mood board I had made for the shoot, and I got George's feedback on it so I knew what she was drawn to from it! I only want to shoot what my model is also creatively inspired by because its easy to tell when a model isn't enthusiastic about a shoot. By doing this it meant that when we went to shoot we were both on the same page for the style and we had less of a 'warm up' period when actually shooting.
We started shooting around Canary Wharf's underground station, starting at a bridge just opposite! This was the perfect setting, and was undercover so we could shelter from the rain. We tried a few different shots here, using the natural light, and using the length and symmetry of the tunnel to get some balanced shots. I then switched my focus to getting natural light beauty portraits, using the rain on the windows to cast interesting shadows on George and the area. Being surrounded by so many glass buildings definitely helped diffuse the bright sunlight enough for us to have lighting that wasn't too harsh. When shooting portraits I like to try each idea one by one, but also to go with the flow, so the model and I am on the same page.
Some useful prompts for close up portraits are:
- Looking off into the distance, almost Disney style
- Shifting this into a more moody, shoulders hunched modern pose
- Introducing a hand to the face or hair
- Both hands in front of the face, using them as a natural frame
It's really useful to think about what prompts run well into each other so your model doesn't have to completely change pose in between every shot. This way the pose is much more natural and less forced.
After the tunnel we shifted our focus to a new outfit, as otherwise the pictures would all have been too similar. I noticed that George's outfit had much more 80's/90's vibes then I had originally considered so we tried to use that to create new poses! I deliberately sought out some glass areas for those photos, as her orange trousers and the teal glass is a lovely colour palette to work with.
Our last full location (I always shoot as we walk) was in a restaurant, through the window! We made sure to ask the staff if it was ok (it was empty) and also had a coffee and a sit down to get some energy back! We softened the photos to match the slightly subdued energy and the classier look.
If you are planning a high energy photoshoot, make sure you keep the biggest/hardest poses toward the first half of the shoot. You can shoot portraits anytime but tired models show very easily in photos and as the photographer you can arrange to avoid this!
At the end of the shoot, (and at the end of each section of outfits/locations) I asked my model if there was anything else she wanted to try. Having a second opinion, and showing your model you care about them creatively is a great way to collaborate towards better photos. I'm so delighted with how the shoot went and I would DEFINITELY work with George again as we have similar creative styles and plans! I got a good range of photos for my portfolio, and had an awesome day out!