Photography Tutorials & Photowalks

Flashes of Inspiration: Behind the Scenes on a Winter Photo Shoot

I can’t imagine that many sane people would decide to head outside and take pictures in near-20mph winds on a miserable grey Saturday in January but that’s exactly what two intrepid adventurers fools (namely us) decided to do on the day of this particular photo shoot.

The weather had been a total mixed bag all week leading up to the day of the photo shoot but we decided to the take a chance and see if we lucked out.  Shooting conditions were pretty vile but my main concern was damage to the equipment if any of the light stands should blow over in the strong winds (spoiler alert: they did).  Despite the weather we found a reasonably sheltered place to start shooting and got on with it in true British ‘I don’t care if its raining/freezing/a zombie apocalypse I’m having this damn BBQ’ fashion.

Having planned some of the details of the photo in advance, we knew we wanted to feature this pair of Zara heels quite prominently in the shot.  In addition to the key light, which was situated just to the left of my excellent model (is my cheque in the post yet?), I also set up a small flashgun on the floor directly in front of the shoes on a very low power.

The Photo Shoot Setup

The Photo Shoot Setup

At this point, my key light (a Nikon SB-700 with a white shoot-through umbrella) decided it had had enough of the wind and wanted to lie down for a bit (lazy git). 

Once I had straightened out the umbrella and re-set the lights, I dialled down the exposure to remove pretty much all the ambient light from the photo (meaning that the image was lit purely with the two flashguns), which created the ‘night time look’ of the finished image.  Now that we had the look that we were after it was just a case of shooting until we got an image that we were both happy with… or in this particular case, until it started pissing it down and we had to run and hide.  Luckily, we already had ‘the one’ and so after a few minutes of waiting around to see if the rain would ease off (it definitely did not) we packed up and headed to the only place worth going after a long day – the pub.


From the Photo Shoot: 1/250th @f5.6, ISO 400.<br />Flash.<br />Fujifilm X100s.

1/250th @f5.6, ISO 400.
Fujifilm X100s.

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