Portrait “Shootout” with Digital Camera Magazine

mickyates Graffiti, Leica, Lightroom, Local & Bath, Photography, Portrait, United Kingdom Leave a Comment

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A few weeks ago, I was happy to be included in a Shootout” on natural light portraiture, organised by Digital Camera Magazine.

Ed Heffer was the other photographer involved, and the event was orchestrated by the affable and very knowledgeable Ben Brain, Editor of the magazine. The resulting article has just been published in the November edition.

It was a lot of fun, and I learnt many new things. We were at the Holbourne Museum in Bath, and the adjoining Sydney Gardens. I decided to stick with one camera and one lens (Leica M-P, with Noctilux 50mm F/1.0). The Noctilux is a wonderful lens, with an amazing bokeh at wide apertures, but it is not the easiest to use. Still, I enjoyed both the challenge and the results.

We worked with two models, Holly and Claire.

With Holly, I was intent on getting softly lit portraits against a dark background. Perhaps because I was getting more into the swing of things, with Claire we then moved around a lot, and tried both close in portraits and full length shots.

Ben was there to help Ed and myself do better work, in particular experimenting with fill-in light from reflectors of different shades and sizes. That’s not something I have a lot of experience with, but it is definitely something I will do more of in future. Really helped soften those harsh, late afternoon shadows.

Of course, the magazine also needed to create an article which showed the readers some of the techniques we used. So we found ourselves being photographed rather a lot as well.

The magazine choose two of my close-in images to display and discuss. First, Holly. We used a silver reflector, though I think the effect is still very natural.


Then, Claire. A large silver reflector was used, which not only dealt with facial shadows but also nicely illuminated some detail in Claire’s coat.


There were other shots that I really was pleased with, too. Whilst I scouted the gardens for unusual spots, Claire really helped me to think through the poses. This also used a small white reflector on Claire’s face to soften shadows. Thanks, Ben, for holding it at quite a challenging angle!


And I cannot resist posting this. When I asked Claire to “Give me the finger”, There was a moment of “… really”? But the shot was worth it, especially given the graffiti background 🙂

Here’s more on the article posted in the magazine, and a sampling of the images I took.

And here’s the full Holly and the Claire set.