Photo Shoot and Technique: Spillers Farm B&B, Devon

Ok so before I let you in on the lighting and editing side of things I want to first of all introduce you to the actual folks I was photographing…Keith & Bridget Trayling who own and run the fabulous Spillers Farm in Devon, UK …

Lifting the text straight from their website here’s a brief background giving you the who, what, where and when:

The owners of Spillers Farm – Bridget and Keith Trayling – moved to Devon from London in 2005 seeking a simpler way of life and wanting to grow their own food and raise livestock.  Spillers had not been a working farm since the 1960’s but Keith and Bridget have literally brought new life to the farm when their sow Cassie had her first litter of six piglets in April 2008 – the first livestock to be born on the farm in forty years. They have also created a vegetable garden with four large plots which produces vegetables all year round; planted a small orchard with apple, pear and plum trees and planted a soft fruits plot which provides enough strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and loganberries to make almost a hundred pounds of homemade jam per year!

Bridget and Keith raise their animals using the principles of good animal husbandry. The pigs have a custom-built pigsty with constant access to outside space and they live as natural a life as possible.

The same principles are applied to all the other animals reared on the farm – lambs and poultry. Wanting to offer a good life to as many animals as possible, Bridget and Keith rescued two dozen battery hens in the summer of 2008. The project was so successful and fulfilling that two dozen more were rescued in the spring of 2009. All fully feathered and thriving, the birds are now completely free range.

Strange but I never imagined when I first started in photography that one day I’d be taking the portrait of a fully grown Gloucester Old Spot Pig by the name of Rodney. But, I guess if there’s one lesson I quickly learned in photography it was to always “expect the unexpected”.

I’ll never forget Keith calling out “Rodney, Rodney come on mate, up you come” in an increasingly desperate attempt to wake him from a deep sleep; geez if his own snoring wasn’t waking him up then Keith didn’t stand a chance…or so I thought. Before we knew it up he popped, front trotters on a wall and peeked over and if I didn’t know better I’d be convinced he was was ‘working the camera’ as he turned his head from side to side and struck a pose each time the flash went off:)

Lighting Set Up:
In all honesty it couldn’t have been simpler; virtually all of the shots where taken using one Nikon SB800 Speedlight and a 46″ Shoot Thru Umbrella, triggered using the Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5.

This time rather than shooting in Aperture Priority as I did in the earlier Male Model Shoot [Link] I decided to go back to using Manual and for the record, this is where I’m going to be staying. Now don’t misunderstand my reason for this because Aperture Priority works really well, but it’s just that I’m more used to shooting in Manual and don’t have to really think about what I’m doing on the technical side which leaves me to engage with whoever I’m working with. The new Pocket Wizard units work faultlessly in Manual and still allow me to sync at much higher shutter speeds which at the end of the day is all I was really intending to ask of them anyway.

Again, full control of the flash power and the mode it was in was done using the Nikon SU800 attached to the Mini TT1 ontop of the camera. This makes for such a quick way to work being able to make all the changes from shooting position albeit this set up is a little on the bulky side. Sure there’s the soon to be released AC3 Controller for Nikon which is alot more compact but do I really need it yet when this system works perfectly as it is? … I’ll keep you posted:)

Post Production
Most of the images from this shoot took just a few minutes of editing; starting off in Lightroom and then over to Photoshop to bring out some details, add contrast to the subject’s skin and adjust the colouring.

The image below is the one that took a little more time to complete. Reason for this being that I wanted to get a shot of Keith, Brigett and Meryck the dog from low down to include some of the sky but it was the middle of the day so the sky was fairly bright but also a little on the ‘flat’ side.

The side by side images above show you the ‘Before’ (out of camera) image and the ‘After’ (edited) image and to give you an idea of what editing was done in Photoshop here’s a breakdown…

So what was done?

  • Remove Shoot Thru Umbrella and branches from left side of frame
  • Remove reflection off the shoot thru umbrella and speedlight from Keith’s glasses
  • Use a sharpening technique to bring out a little more detail
  • Add contrast to skin
  • Replace sky
  • Adjust colouring (Add warmth & Desaturate)

•    •    •

So there you have it…a quick run through of a ‘Promotional’ shoot for Spillers Farm, Devon; a wonderful place to stay either in Bed & Breakfast or Holiday Cottage set amongst the Devon Countryside. Owned and run by people who truly love what they do which is clearly evident by the warm welcome and ‘home from home’ feel of the place; I can’t recommend Spillers Farm enough!

Oh and one last thing if you find yourself photographing farm animals and need a little bit of help getting them to “Work the camera Baby!” I’m sure Keith will be happy to pass on any hints and tips:)

As always if you have any questions or comments about anything in this post then please feel free to make use of the comments section below; it’s always great to ‘hear’ your thoughts.

Enjoy

Links:
www.spillersfarm.co.uk

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  • February 24, 2011 - 5:53 pm

    Larry Eiss - Thanks for an excellent post. I had wondered about the technique used in “post” to get that look. Your explanation was perfect. These are great shots that tell a strong story of two very interesting people and their farmyard animals. Well done!

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:09 pm

    Hristo Dzhendov - The pig is my favourite!

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:15 pm

    Tim Pursall - Hi Glyn!

    As you know we stayed at Spillers Farm last month. Totally endorse your comments. A lovely place to stay!

    Nice blog post. Some website stuff for them? Keith & Bridget – you are natural posers! Have a great summer.

    Cheers

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:22 pm

    Alex - Thumbs up, Glyn.
    I really like the “more dramatic” sky because in my opinion it adds depth to the image. Also the warmer tones give the picture this “welcome” feeling.
    Nice unobtrusive lighting btw.
    Keep on sharing your experience with the Pocket wizards.
    Alex

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:25 pm

    Keith Hammond - loving that pig shot, will they eat him one day, or did you just have a few slices the other week in that butty :-)
    Is this for promo material ?
    Good post as usual mate with simple explanation. You will be trawling every trade stand at Focus for the AC3 won’t you :-)

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:28 pm

    Glyn - @Larry…Very kind of you to say that; thanks :)

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:28 pm

    Glyn - @Hristo…Ah yes ‘Rodney’ … he’s quite a character :)

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:29 pm

    Glyn - @Tim…Absolutely mate. Funnily enough we spoke about you when we were down last; I mentioned you’d said about the sausages :)

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:30 pm

    Glyn - @Alex…Cheers for that and yeah I’ll keep you posted re the PW’s. It’s more than likely an AC3 will end up in my bag when I’m at Focus on Imaging next week; paid for though of course :)

  • February 24, 2011 - 6:31 pm

    Glyn - @Keith…Thanks mate. Re ‘Rodney’ … not at all. He’s got a great life ‘looking after’ a few girls if you know what I mean :)

    Re the AC3…you could be right and yeah this is all ‘promo’ material for Keith & Bridget.

  • February 24, 2011 - 7:05 pm

    David Kelly - Glyn,

    Informative post as always mate and not just for the photography :-). I’ve been wanting to go to Spillers for sometime now after hearing all the good stuff about it from you previously. The wife & I are big River Cottage fans so we’d use it as a base for spending some time down there. Now just need to get some leave from work sorted out…

    Regards,

    David

  • February 24, 2011 - 7:37 pm

    Glyn - @David…Would make a great short break for you guys, and if you’re as much fans of River Cottage as I think you are you’ll absolutely love Spillers!

    Keith and Bridget have the same high ethics when it comes to animal husbandry as River Cottage and HFW.

    Keith and Bridget have quickly become great friends and we look forward to seeing them and the gang so much each time.

    The hosts, the location, the animals, the rooms, and the breakfast…did I mention the breakfast, the home made jams, home cured bacon, home made sausages….the lot. Each time I eat it so quick in the hope that Keith won’t notice and will think I’ve not had it yet :)

  • February 24, 2011 - 7:41 pm

    Tim Skipper - I’ve taken some pictures of some “pigs” but I think you have me beat.

  • February 25, 2011 - 12:41 am

    Russell Pritchard - @Tim Skipper, you might have photographed some pigs in your time…
    I’ve went out with them !

  • February 25, 2011 - 6:48 am

    Andy - It’s really nice to see your shoots, so simple and such a great result. Keep em coming man, greatly apprecieated!

  • February 25, 2011 - 7:35 am

    Tweets that mention Photo Shoot and Technique: Spillers Farm B&B, Devon » Glyn Dewis Blog -- Topsy.com - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Greyson TipSquirrel and seanmophoto, Photoshop Nut. Photoshop Nut said: Photo Shoot and Technique: Spillers Farm B&B, Devon http://bit.ly/e8CzIB (Via @GlynDewis) [...]

  • February 25, 2011 - 9:00 am

    DaveT - Hi Glyn,

    Great post,images,and behind the scenes information. Just wonderful!

    Thanks
    Dave

  • February 25, 2011 - 9:14 am

    Glyn - @Andy…Thanks for that mate

  • February 25, 2011 - 9:15 am

    Glyn - @Dave…Very kind mate; thanks :)

  • February 25, 2011 - 12:29 pm

    Neil Glover - Great post again Glyn.

    How on earth did you get a gig shooting a farm in Devon!?

    I’ll have to check it out. Love staying in those kind of places.

    The landscape shot you have with the couple and dog pitched slightly to the left is almost surreal. The background doesn’t look real, I think its the way they pop off it. (Not meant as criticism by the way. I think it’s a testament to how the lighting has worked).

  • February 25, 2011 - 11:35 pm

    kelley - Wonderful. Love the feel of each image. Well Done!

  • February 26, 2011 - 10:59 pm

    Dean Robertson - Great post and what a small world. I thought the background looked familiar in one of the images. When I looked at the map I realised why. My wife was brought up in Musbury and we were married in Musbury church. Have driven past Spillers hundreds of times.

    Keep up the good work.

  • November 30, 2011 - 7:45 am

    Photo Shoot & Walk Through: Handyman (Spillers Farm B&B, Devon) » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] *You can check out more images from Spillers Farm taken earlier in the year here [Link] [...]

Monthly Guest: Matt Kloskowski Coming Soon!!!

I’m really excited to tell you that the next Monthly Guest is none other than Photoshop Guy, Author, Trainer and Professional Photographer Matt Kloskowski!

Literally from day 1 of using Photoshop I joined the N.A.P.P. (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) of which Matt in company with Scott Kelby and Dave Cross is one of the original Photoshop Guys.

I can’t even begin to think how much I’ve learned and continue to learn from Matt through his tutorials, books, DVD’s and sitting in some of his classes at the mind blowing Photoshop World. However, what I do know is that he’s been instrumental in helping me to develop my skill level and as a consequence, my business.

Someone I’m proud to be able to call a friend Matt’s generosity never ceases to amaze me which is why I’m incredibly grateful that he’s giving up some of his time to be a Guest here on the blog.

Now, keeping in with the tradition of previous Guest’s, Matt and I are going to be chatting through all manner of things but this time we’re going to do things just a little bit different…

If you have a question that you’d like me to ask Matt on your behalf then all you need to do is post it on twitter and attach the following tag: #AskMatt and at the end of our chat I’ll finish off by randomly choosing a few of your questions and will include them in Matt’s Guest Post when it’s posted online.

Matt and I will be chatting today at 7pm GMT (2pm EST) so you have from now until then and the time we finish to fire over any questions. Oh and if you’re not on Twitter no problem…just post your questions in the comments section below.

Enjoy:)

Facebook: www.facebook.com/The PhotoshopGuy
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mattkloskowski
Blog: www.lightroomkillertips.com

  • February 22, 2011 - 9:44 am

    DaveT - Hi Glyn,

    Wow… this is a real coup. I’m looking forward to seeing the ensuing post.

    Question for Matt – apart from being a guru in Photoshop and Lightroom, is Matt also a professional photographer? He certainly has some great images on his tutorials.

    Thanks
    Dave

  • February 22, 2011 - 10:01 am

    Pj - Surely you should be asking if you can have the new photoshop guy job that’s just been posted?

  • February 22, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    David Kelly - Glyn,

    Great coup as DaveT says. Always looking forward to the Guest blog post as always but most especially looking forward to this one!

    Regards,

    David

  • February 23, 2011 - 2:10 am

    Denver Photographer - I’m a really big fan of all his tips on lightroom and stuff.

  • February 23, 2011 - 8:07 am

    Tweets that mention Monthly Guest: Matt Kloskowski Coming Soon!!! » Glyn Dewis Blog -- Topsy.com - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dave Clayton and Scot Baston, Photoshop Nut. Photoshop Nut said: Monthly Guest: Matt Kloskowski Coming Soon!!! http://bit.ly/fbNBfx (Via @GlynDewis) [...]

  • February 24, 2011 - 9:52 am

    Glyn Dewis - Had a fantastic chat with Matt. Loads of info that I’m really looking to getting online plus a ‘Golden Nugget’ of advice from The Photoshop Guy :)

Dave Cross in the UK: Special Seminar 6th March

UPDATE: Unfortunately Dave has had to cancel this Seminar so hopefully he’ll return later in the year but due to scheduling and other arrangements he now cannot put on this event at the Hilton. Dave will be available at the Focus in Imaging show at the OnOne booth so pop by and catch his demo on all four days

•    •    •

When I first started using Photoshop I would spend hours scouring the internet looking for tutorials that would give me some idea of how best to use it. Eventually I came across a link to an organisation called the N.A.P.P. (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) and out of blind faith signed up and became a member and haven’t looked back since.

Without question I have a heck of alot to thank the N.A.P.P for; World Class teaching in the form of Photoshop World, Seminars, Books, Videos, Online Training etc.. without which I’ve no doubt I’d still be following tutorials step by step but not really knowing or understanding what I was doing and what’s more taking far longer to do it than need be.

Dave Cross…Lead Instructor at the N.A.P.P. and one of the original Photoshop Guys, is to this day the guy I turn to when I know what I want the end result to be but just can’t figure it out; guaranteed if there’s a way to do it in Photoshop, then Dave will know it.

BIG NEWS is that Dave is coming to the UK and will be at the Focus NEC Exhibition and on the first day, Sunday 6th March he’s holding his own 3 hour workshop for a limited number of people…

 

Are you Poor ?

Admittedly an odd title for a blog post, but let me explain…

A few days ago my wife Anne told me of a conversation she’d heard on BBC Radio 2 in a regular daily slot called ‘Pause for thought’. The title of the subject was exactly that…”Are you poor” but rather than what you might at first think, the word ‘Poor’ was actually referring to: Passing Over Opportunity Repeatedly.

Maybe it’s just me but the first thing I thought of was my photography and how I’m a big believer in personal projects and doing work for free. Now don’t misunderstand me here…I’m not talking about undercutting fellow photographers or devaluing what I do but what I’m actually talking about is taking on projects / shoots that I wouldn’t maybe get commissioned for but with it in my portfolio, may well open doors in the future; does that make sense? In other words…not turning down opportunities that arise.

Heck I’ve done more ‘free’ personal project work than I can remember and will continue to do so but guaranteed, every single time it’s paid off in the end because it’s resulted in me being able to add images into my portfolio that I’ve then shown to perspective clients and ended up being hired for; images that I may never have been able to add to my portfolio if all I was doing was my ‘paid’ work.

The whole issue of working for ‘free’ has been across the web many times and always stirs up mixed emotions. In this case what I’m talking about is taking up opportunities with folks that you think would be good to photograph and then doing it, but doing it in such a way that you’re getting images that stretch you and mean you both end up with something you may never have had the opportunity to get. Everyone’s a winner!

Editorial Portrait Photographer David E. Jackson [Link] eluded to this in his recent Guest Post [Link] and went on to say that personal work and taking on the opportunities for projects is vitally important if we are to grow as photographers.

I’m no betting man (unless I’m in Las Vegas for Photoshop World of course) but I’d put money on it that every high profile photographer out there that’s photographing the kind of stuff you’d like to be has and continues to work on personal projects, so that they can both stretch themselves and produce work they wouldn’t necessarily have been hired to do because it wasn’t in their portfolio. I’d also say that doing these ‘free’ projects’ is what ultimately led to them working in the area they are today i.e. they saw an opportunity and grasped it with both hands!

So, my question to you is simply this…”Are you Poor?”

Thoughts? Comments? then as always please feel free to make use of the comments section below; I’d love to hear what you think and if you are indeed taking the time out to work on personal projects/shoots or should I say ‘opportunities’ as they present themselves.

Enjoy:)

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  • February 18, 2011 - 6:21 pm

    Ruth - Completely agree with you Glyn, it definitely helps you achieve more in the long run. I personally have been doing this and I definitely think it pays :O) x

  • February 18, 2011 - 6:34 pm

    Andy - I think this is part of a piece of the puzzle I’m trying to work through right now! I’m starting a new site and when it came to editing through my current work I found myself disgusted with it. I found a small handful of images I will use, but not enough to form a portfolio. I feel capable of producing so much better work than I have to this point, and I want my best to represent me.

    I’ve wrestled with the idea of working for free. On one hand, I don’t want to devalue the industry I want to be a part of. On the other hand, how will anyone know what I can do unless I show them?

    This post kind of helps me strike a balance between the two ideas. Thank you so much!

  • February 18, 2011 - 9:07 pm

    Tim Skipper - Glyn,

    It drives my wife crazy that I do “free shoots” I’ve never got her to understand that the free shoots prepare the way for the paid ones. Truth be told, most times I would rather show my free shoots than my paid one because I can show how I think vs. how someone wanted me to think (if that makes any sense).

    The biggest problems are finding models and budget.

  • February 18, 2011 - 11:30 pm

    kelley - Glyn, wonderful post. I totally agree with you. I have two things on my mind regarding the subject.
    1. My personal work clearly shows more passion and style of who I really am and I often use that work in my portfolio. In turn people see that and the ones that hire me are the ones who want that type of photography.
    2. Only once have I regretted any charity work and it was because I took it on knowing I previously, purposefully moved away from that type of photography. So I was doing what I hated and doing it for free. Not a good combo.

    I was told once by a business instructor that you should post in your portfolio what you want to do more of. It’s simple and it makes sense. If you have to make more of those images in your personal time and for free than get to it. The more you post the more people who love that photography will hire you to make more of it for them.
    Thanks for the reminder and for causing me to think about this subject again.
    All the best, Kelley

  • February 19, 2011 - 7:57 am

    DaveT - Hi Glyn,

    Apart from the benefits you, and others, have already articulated. I think doing personal projects is something that can give tremendous personal satisfaction. Even if the work never makes it into your portfolio, it’s the internal pleasure of actually taking those images that is so gratifying for the soul. In my case it takes me back to my grass roots of why I started doing photography in the first place.

    Dave

  • February 20, 2011 - 6:59 am

    Ernie Atkins - Glyn,

    Another blog post that “hits the nail on the head”. My wife and I do pro-bono work for charities for multiple reasons. First we just love doing it, second we gain valuable experience and finally it builds a community presence for our business.

    By the way – David Hobby (aka Strobist) had a similar blog with the same attitude. Doing pro-bono work can be a win-win for everyone involved.

    Ernie

  • February 21, 2011 - 7:00 am

    Glyn - @Ruth…Couldn’t agree more; very beneficial to do this plus in quiet times can help to keep you focused :)

  • February 21, 2011 - 7:02 am

    Glyn - @Andy…Sounds exactly how I felt mate when you mention about your portfolio. Doing this for me was a great way to be able to show and then eventually get the kind of work I want/ed to be shooting.

    Cheers

  • February 21, 2011 - 7:15 am

    Glyn - @Tim…Totally hear you there mate :)

  • February 21, 2011 - 7:18 am

    Glyn - @Kelley…Agree with you totally there Kelley. If I hadn’t done any ‘free’ personal work then there’s no way I’d be photographing some of the stuff I get the chance to now and plan to be in the future.

    Thanks for looking in and commenting,
    All the best to you,
    Glyn

  • February 21, 2011 - 7:19 am

    Glyn - @DaveT…100% with you there mate

  • February 21, 2011 - 7:22 am

    Glyn - @Ernie…Absolutely mate; everyone’s a winner :)

  • February 21, 2011 - 11:59 am

    Lloyd Williams - Hi Glyn,

    Can’t agree more with you on this one. All photographers are looking for new ways to improve their portfolios. When I first started shooting weddings I absolutely accepted the fact that I’d have to work as an assistant for free, waiting for the opportunity to get some of my own shots to start building a portfolio of my own. The same principle applies to any kind of shoot or project. I think the problem is lots of pro’s don’t consider the doors that will open as a result of ‘free work.’
    Too many pro’s know they have to make a full time income from photography so will charge every time.
    It’s a shame because free work always benefits!

    Lloyd

  • February 22, 2011 - 10:53 am

    Paul Pride - Great post Glyn! Like @Tim my wife also hates me not getting paid for my photography (saying I’m too good to be working for free… blah, blah, blah) which has resulted in myself being reluctant to do any more free shoots. This, in turn, has had an impact recently on my photography in general.
    I have been trying to think of avenues to get paid work rather than enjoying my photography like I should be. It also doesn’t help that I dropped my flash on the floor a few weeks ago and it’s a write off (roll on the deals at Focus!)
    I will, one day, get my photography off the ground. My 1 year old daughter has eaten into a lot of my time so as she becomes less dependent I can focus more on photography.
    Thank you for yet another inspiring post. It has really helped to give me a boost again after the new year blues!
    All the best,
    Paul

  • February 22, 2011 - 10:59 am

    Paul Pride - Also, how do I get a funky little portrait picture in the comments?

  • February 22, 2011 - 11:09 am

    claudio.von.grubens - hi glyn

    nice one and i think it is much more relaxed an creative working with no commission for a social project!

    cheers

  • February 22, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    Glyn - @Paul…Cheers for commenting mate and it’s great to hear the post has helped.
    Working for free is one of those things that’s hard to explain to others but something we really need to do from time to time if we’re going to develop and put together a portfolio of what we really want to be shooting and yeah I totally relate to what you’re saying mate. Mrs D understandably couldn’t understand it at first but now sees the benefits; gut it just takes time.

    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with mate :)

    Oh and re the funky portrait pictures…check this out: http://glyndewisblog.com/2010/10/26/tuesday-bits-n-bobs/

    Cheers, Glyn

  • February 22, 2011 - 4:42 pm

    Paul Pride - Thanks Glyn!!!

  • February 22, 2011 - 5:32 pm

    Glyn - @Paul…Ah there you are…lol :)

  • February 23, 2011 - 11:40 am

    Govind Vekaria - :-)
    I did a freebie in Portugal two weeks ago. It actually cost me(flights, hotel etc) and I even bought specific gear for it :-( But the returns – not money – but photos, contacts, a life time experience, the praise, the publicity – absolutely made it worth my while (at the personal level).
    I almost didn’t take up the oppertunity.
    Would love to tell you more about (if you have time for me sometime).

Photo Shoot: Male Model Portfolio ‘On Location’

I briefly mentioned a couple of posts back about a recent a day long Male Model Portfolio Shoot where I was working both out ‘on location’ and in the studio.

Well, for this post I thought I’d cover the ‘on location’ part of the shoot to not only give you an idea of what I was working on but to mention about how I changed my ‘shooting’ style.

First off let’s talk about the shoot…

As is always the case it takes me a good 15 minutes or so of shooting before I start to feel comfortable and get ‘into the groove’ so I started off taking what I guess could be called ‘throw away shots’ that served a purpose in helping both Richard and myself settle into things…

I was working alone on this shoot so it was just Richard and myself moving from location to location. There were the obvious challenges to this when it came to kit and the odd bit of high wind but with a little improvisation which I’ll explain about in a little while, we worked through it without any hiccups.

“Simple & Clean” was the order of the day for the images and to keep the lighting subtle. With this in mind the lighting couldn’t have been any simpler…One Nikon SB800 Speedlight and a couple of modifiers namely a 46″ Shoot-Thru Umbrella and a Honl Speed Grid.

I was also using the new Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 to trigger the flash, and it’s this that I want to talk a bit more about. Those who know anything about me and my shooting style will know that I always shoot in Manual, and I do so because of the consistency in exposure that it gives from shot to shot. Now I can’t explain why this happened but for this entire shoot I changed everything and decided to shoot exclusively in Aperture Priority and TTL…

I simply chose an aperture which generally hovered around the f/4.0 and f/5.6 mark and got on with it. Changes in ambient light were made using exposure compensation on the camera and if I needed more or less light from the flash I just used the Flash Compensation on the SU800 Commander unit sat ontop of the Mini TT1.

Shooting this way was a whole new experience made possible by the new Pocket Wizard units but I have to say, hand on heart it was an extremely pleasant one. The kit worked faultlessly and being able to make all adjustments to the ambient and the flash power from camera meant I could work alot quicker and with fewer interruptions.

Being a whole new way of shooting for me, it felt odd not paying much that much attention to the shutter speed but having finished the shoot and then looked through the images in Lightroom the EXIF data was fascinating.

Shutter Speeds throughout the day varied from 1/60th of a second and  up to 1/1600th of a second; a speed before now unheard of when shooting with a DSLR and Speedlights but again, not one misfire and no unexpected exposure variances as we went from location to location.

The only downside of shooting with the Nikon SU800 in addition to the Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 ontop of the camera is the bulk, but it works really well. Needless to say though, when the Pocket Wizard AC3 unit becomes available in the next couple of weeks I’ll be adding that to the kit back to keep everything as compact and user friendly as possible.

Anyway back to the shoot…
Again, something different I hadn’t done this time was my usual visit to the area beforehand and meticulously planned locations where we would shoot; we just walked and talked and when we came across somewhere we liked we went for it, and if we felt it didn’t work we simply moved on.

Photographing in the street offers up all manner of creative possibilities, however one thing I’m paranoid about is members of the public knocking into, or worse still falling over some of my kit. With the culture of “Where there’s blame, there’s a claim” ever present I take extra care when putting down a light stand in the street and either won’t shoot until everyone has well and truly passed or if I do have an assistant with me, get them to stand right next to it.

Talking of light stands, when we were shooting on the bridge over the River Thames connecting Windsor with Eton (images below) a sudden gust of wind took hold of the shoot-thru umbrella and had it not been for the lightning speed reactions of Richard, along with a lighting stand, a Speedlight and a Flex TT5 it would have all ended up being lost at sea.

Generally I’ll carry sandbags with me to prevent such mishaps but as there was only the two of us and the shoot was very much ‘on the hoof’ I couldn’t bring them along.

Life Saving Tip #1
However all was not lost with a little improvisation using my Think Tank Airport Security Roller camera bag/case; an expensive sand bag granted but it worked a treat:)

The series of photos on the bridge saw the end of the ‘on location’ part of the shoot as we then packed up and made our way over to the studio.

I’ll cover the studio part of the shoot in another post as some of the images have had the ‘compositing’ treatment so I’ll also include some of the editing involved.

•    •    •

Having gone through this entire shoot without being in my usual comfort zone of ‘Manual’ it’s certainly given me food for thought. Now I’m certainly not thinking of changing my shooting style from this point, not at all, but what I like very much is being able to add this ‘style’ of shooting to the kit bag. Being able to use off camera flash with wide apertures and make all adjustments from the camera position was extremely handy and I’m sure contributed very much into making the shoot run as smoothly and as quickly as it did.

As usual if you do have any questions or comments or maybe just fancy leaving some feedback, then please feel free to make use of the comments section below.
Enjoy:)

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  • February 16, 2011 - 5:35 am

    Tim Skipper - Hey Glyn, the pictures look great they really do, but can the dude smile? He’s almost smiling in the second one, but otherwise he looks like he will kick your tail.

    As to weighing down your stands with a bag, thats what I always do on location. I just put my camera bag on the base of the stand. Its sure is heavy enough and saves me from having to lug extra gear.

    I told some models last year, my favorite word for photography is adapt.

  • February 16, 2011 - 7:43 am

    Glyn - lol…I promise you some smiles (kind of) from the studio part of this day shoot Tim :) On a semi serious note though this was the kind of look we wanted, going down the ‘street’ photography feel. As for ‘kicking your tail’ you should have been in my position…I really thought he was going to…lol :) Great guy though; a real gent and great to work with.

    Liking the ‘adapt’ mantra…definitely one that came in handy on this day that’s for sure; didn’t really fancy a dip in the River Thames :)

    Cheers for looking in mate.
    All the best to you,
    Glyn

  • February 16, 2011 - 8:52 am

    Tweets that mention Photo Shoot: Male Model Portfolio ‘On Location’ » Glyn Dewis Blog -- Topsy.com - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Photoshop Nut, Dominic. Dominic said: Another excellent blog post entry by @GlynDewis about a change of style on the move & how to cope without a sandbag! http://bit.ly/fbd9si [...]

  • February 16, 2011 - 8:55 am

    Nat - Hi Glyn
    Very nice shots indeed. Love the sarnie/newspaper one. Thanks for talking us through it all.

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:42 am

    Scot Baston - Hi Glyn,

    It is always good to hear more about the flex range, I shoot with Canon but I believe they also have the same kit available.. Yet another thing to put on my wish list.

    You mention that shooting Av was a pleasant surprise, but could you also detail the downsides of shooting Av in your experience?

    Cheers

    Scot

  • February 16, 2011 - 10:32 am

    Ziggy - LUSH!!!

    It’s even funnier when you see a Broncolor mobil light taking off on its stand with a shoot through umbrella acting as a sail (NOT).

    Great stuff. Love it. Can’t wait for the ‘Studio’ stuff.

  • February 16, 2011 - 10:58 am

    jewelzdezine - Glyn, great shots! And finally someone shot a male model! All kidding aside, great locations. Thanks for sharing the process with us.

    Julie

  • February 16, 2011 - 11:30 am

    Simon Jacobs - Nice pix Glyn. Working on your own is a pain sometimes. Yesterday I did 2 C-Stands, an Octa and a Strip Box and sandbags on my own!! :) Arggghhh!
    Strangely I have gone Manual —>TTL and stuck with TTl for about 7 months. Yesterday for some reason I shot Manual again and remembered how lovely and consistent everything was. TTL is very cool, but can play up in a horrendous way sometimes…Horses for courses, both good for different reasons.

  • February 16, 2011 - 12:13 pm

    claudio.von.grubens - Hi glyn,

    great moody shots! it is always hard to get your client in the right inner mood! great work!

    cheers
    cvg

  • February 16, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    Jim - How did you get to 1600th of a second using triggers av and ettl. Reason I ask is I took some shots at 200th on my 7d and had that black band coming i’n. Down to 160 was fine though .

    I’m guessing hi speed sync, but does that make the ettl go nuts. I am just trying to figure out if I have a slow camera, not enough juice i’n the triggers or need to go back to cables. Thanks Glynn, keep up the blogs males for a great reading. Cheers mate!
    Jim

  • February 16, 2011 - 1:51 pm

    Tim Skipper - Glyn

    I know what you mean about thinking he might try to kick yours. Last year I shot for a husband and wife body builder team. I kid you not his arms were bigger than my thighs.

    The whole time I’m thinking, if he doesn’t like this, he’s going to break me in half.

  • February 16, 2011 - 6:53 pm

    Noel Hannan - Hey Glyn,
    Great shots, very atmospheric and macho, full of drama. I recongize that sandwich shop! You must give me a demo on the ttl shooting,
    Thanks for sharing,
    Noel

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:45 pm

    Glyn - @Nat…Thanks for that :)

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:49 pm

    Glyn - @Scot…The thing about shooting in AV that I don’t like is that when taking a series of shots, a slight change on focus point can produce varying exposures being produced as opposed to Manual when an exposure is set no matter what.

    That being said, I didn’t experience that this time round so I think a little more looking into AV is called for.

    Cheers,
    Glyn

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:50 pm

    Glyn - @Ziggy…Now that would have been an expensive sounding splash…lol :)

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:52 pm

    Glyn - @Julie…Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words; glad to ‘hear’ you like the results.

    All the best to you,
    Glyn

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:55 pm

    Glyn - @Simon…Absolutely mate. I guess certain shooting styles lend themselves to certain shoots as in this case it worked a treat.

    Lots more shooting to be done using this style to be 100% trustworthy so we’ll see. Of course with my big lights (Ranger) I’ll be shooting manual but with those heads that’s great fun…lol

    Cheers,
    Glyn

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:56 pm

    Glyn - @Claudio…Cheers Buddy

  • February 16, 2011 - 9:59 pm

    Glyn - @Jim…Out of the box I’m getting sync speeds of up to 1/8000sec on High Speed/Hyper Sync with full flash exposure on sensor. I’ll dive into the settings and let you know what the PW’s are at.

    Cheers,
    Glyn

  • February 16, 2011 - 10:01 pm

    Glyn - @Tim…Going by that you obviously did a cracking job mate :)

  • February 16, 2011 - 10:05 pm

    Glyn - @Noel…Ah yes the coffee shop; the very one we’ve partaken in the occasional sandwich and coffee at mate.

    Re the TTL, I’ll hopefully see you at the studio on Friday evening…we’ll geek about it then :)

    Cheers

  • February 17, 2011 - 6:26 am

    DaveT - Hi Glyn

    Nice set of shots-I too like the newspaper shot the best.

    Thanks for the tips re weighing down the stand.

    A couple more tips I heard of to weigh down your stand are

    a)Using a bungee cord and tent pegs (soft ground only)
    b)Using a strap with divers weights. The advantage here is that the weight pulls straight downwards so the stand is less likely to topple over.

    Dave

  • February 17, 2011 - 8:19 am

    Bert Stephani - Good job mate,

    I tried Av but I still feel more comfortable and faster in M. Take a look at the Manfrotto Nano stands, the legs can spread out flat on the floor. You’ll loose some hight but it’s much easier to put some improvised weight on.

  • February 17, 2011 - 9:11 am

    David Kelly - Hi Glyn,

    Really liking the cafe shoot as with others. Always good when a client can save the day for you and have lightning fast reactions ;-)

    Regards,

    David

  • February 21, 2011 - 6:57 am

    Glyn - @Dave…Nice one mate, thanks for the divers belt tip :)

  • February 21, 2011 - 6:58 am

    Glyn - @David…Absolutely mate; was like the scene from Spiderman 1 when he catches the lunch tray :)

  • February 23, 2011 - 9:36 am

    Glyn - @Bert…Thanks for that mate.
    Re the Nano Light Stands after this ‘solo’ experience I’ll definitely be putting an order in for a couple of them; especially if it means avoiding diving into the River Thames after some kit :)

    I remember seeing you using them in your Motivational Light DVD (http://www.motivationallight.com/) and yeah having the legs go flat to the floor would be ideal for placing a camera bag across for even more stability.

    Thanks again and all the best to you,
    Glyn :)

  • February 24, 2011 - 5:10 pm

    Photo Shoot and Technique: Spillers Farm B&B, Devon » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] time rather than shooting in Aperture Priority as I did in the earlier Male Model Shoot [Link] I decided to go back to using Manual and for the record, this is where I’m going to be [...]

  • April 8, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    James H - Good lord. I’m not sure why I’ve never thought to use my bag as ballast before, but that’s pretty brilliant for the days when you have to pack light. Thanks for the innovative tip!

  • April 10, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    Glyn - @James…You’re welcome mate; this saved me on more than one occasion I can tell you :)

  • November 4, 2012 - 5:49 pm

    shahzad asad - sweet2
    i like your photograph

  • April 20, 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Ramesh Awal - hi glyn, like your pose, you looks great,so handsome . but no smile makes me sad.