I had a brilliant time shooting young Jordan Barrow’s new modelling portfolio images last week, he was an excellent client, really committed to the shoot and he knew exactly what he wanted from our day. He was really pleased with the final retouched images, and found it all a little difficult cutting down his choice to only 8 images from over two hundred.
I’m always on the lookout for new and useful locations in and around my region here in Suffolk. You can throw a stick in any direction and it will land on any number of beautiful countryside scenes, rivers, woodlands to forests to great beaches and coastline areas. But I’m always keen to find something a little different. I noticed a few weeks back on a visit to a friends studio, an old abandoned disused factory near some railway sidings. I just had to take a closer look, luckily I found a part of the fence that had been broken down. These places can be a little dangerous, so you have to be careful when involving other people. I was thankful that it wasn’t too bad for us to work in, the whole place made for a great backdrop, and I knew that it would work brilliantly for a photo shoot. There’s always a danger that these sites could be blocked off at anytime, or the bulldozers would move in and tear down what’s left of the factory within days. So getting a call from Jordan to produced a new set of pictures worked out perfectly.
We discussed the kind of new images Jordan needed for his portfolio. I noticed that Jordan had more studio based images, and images that you could say were geared to a younger street style. So I suggested Jordan should wear a cool looking suit which would look a little incongruous within the scene of the disused factory backdrop. Jordan has a fine collection of cool suits, so I didn’t need the services of a wardrobe stylist this time round. Fashion stylist are worth their weight in gold if you’re wanting a more structured themed look and feel to your shoot. I’ve worked with many fashion stylists over the years in London, mainly on celebrity & fashion editorial shoots, but also on commercial jobs involving products, food, and interior shoots.
Sometimes it can be a little difficult for models, especially male models, to feel 100% comfortable with the camera, especially when there’s a photo crew and others around on set. I suggested to Jordan that we create a theme, a scenario that we could visualise himself in. So I told him imagine you’re an escaped prisoner on the run and he was being chased through this factory. It certainly did the trick and helped concentrate his mind on his role.
Shooting on location really depends a lot on the weather, it was forecasted for rain in our region on our shoot day, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. It was like a high summers day! I shot a combination of black & white and colour images. When shooting in B&W you need to look a little differently at your subject as opposed to when shooting in colour. Jordan has very strong features, I wanted to try to use the shadows and the harsh sunlight around the factory to accentuate his features. I also chose to shoot with my Nikon 800E instead of my Phase One Hasselblad because of the environment, and I wasn’t sure how long we would get at the site, so speed was of the essence. I also decided that I’d shoot with my new Elinchrom ring flash which I bought in a sale from the Flash Centre in London, over year ago! I wanted that really harsh fashion look to the colour images for Jordan.
After a bit of fiddling and getting to know the equipment I soon started to enjoy the look I was getting from my new set-up. I’ve used ring flashes before but not on location, only on studio set ups. I loved the look we were getting, the images literally popped out from the prints. The B&W images where shot on my Fujifilm X-Pro1 with a 35mm 1.4 lens which is fast becoming my favourite camera, always shooting on RAW(for both cameras)I used the cameras brilliant film simulation mode which offers five different black & white filters to choose from, all producing excellent quality images. All you want before any shoot is a successful outcome, which is exactly what we achieved.