Shooting Outside The Studio | Photography in Staffordshire | By Evans Cheuka
The following images were at Coombe Abbey Country Park, Coventry with a fantastic model Kamila Adam and assistant photographer Roger Baker.
We were fortunate to have a dry day with some reasonable light to enable us to get some great photos from the day. As you’ll see, sunlight is a great preference for photography. It’s natural, often very flattering to your subjects, and widely abundant (and you can’t beat the price!). Nevertheless, it does present certain disputes when it comes to control usually if you’re the ones that are used to using the studio and studio lighting—and, unless you can shoot near a window, it’s not always an option for images shot indoors. In many cases, you’ll also find that you need more precise control than you can easily exercise over natural light. That is why photographers also need to be adept at creating effective lighting setups using artificial light sources.
Since starting doing some location shoots lately I’ve noticed that you don’t need a studio to take great model photos. There’s a whole world of locations and settings right outside your door that can be amazing backdrops for interesting and astonishing images. Whilst doing this shoot I was fortunate enough to have Roger Baker my friend who came along and managed to hold the reflector towards Kamila (Model) for me. From this experience I would say it’s always best to take a friend with you to an outdoor photoshoot to help you out with tasks like holding the reflector, directing the model etc. When I did this location shoot I decided to use the time walking to the location as opportunity to chat with the model (Kamila) about my goals for the shoot and what I need from them, and from this experience I think it is very important to take a moment to establish rapport with your model.
Step 1. Finding a location:
Before we did the location shoot we decided to take some time scouting the location. We started by thinking about the shoot. We wanted the location to fit the subject. We looked for interesting locales and walked around the possible site. Roger Baker my friend snapped a few photos of the location to get a sense of how the space will photograph.
Step 2. Lighting:
Once we found the location we had to consider how we would the light would be at the scene. For outdoor photography I like to work on lightly overcast days where the thin cloud cover softens the shadows. On sunny days I use a mix of sunlight and the camera flash (or a hand held portable flash). The purpose of the flash is to soften the shadows.
Indoors where supplemental lighting is often necessary I like to try to use as little gear as possible. Often there’s no choice when I am in a situation where I don’t have control over the location. Usually that means that there is no way I can set up big studio flashes and lay electric cords all over the place.
My lighting choice for this shoot was pretty limited (DUHH) —no wires—just the reflector at the model (Kamila) – mainly with the sun behind her to prevent underexposing her.
Step 3. Naturalness
The purpose of talking to the model, choosing a location and setting up lighting is for me to produce a photograph that looks natural and un-posed. I want the viewer to feel that they had just come across this young woman trying on some clothing.
The photographs with this post is the result of this work but it is also one of several hundred images—actually over a thousand of them I shot at this location. That’s the other key to great model photography, take lots and lots of pictures. 😉