Skip to main content

London in Spring, Whats Not to Love?

Well I know there is still a lot not to love but I'm choosing to see the great things about London at the moment. I am having a ball this year visiting London as often as I can. Which is unusual for me since I usually prefer the comfort of my own home, in rural old Leicestershire. Staying home and avoiding people has always been the easy option. But this year, possibly due to the wonderful weather we keep having, has me longing for venturing out.


Again, just like my last trip, I headed out with my good friend Panikos Hajistilly. Living in North London he finds it easy to meet up for our shoots. This time though I had more of an idea of the sights I wanted to use as the backdrops for my portraits. With it being spring I was in search of colour, preferably flowers. Admittedly. I didn't quite get what I was looking for. The white fronted terraced houses with pink magnolia trees we did not find unfortunately. But I did make it to Peggy Porchen's which was a must see on my list for this trip.


I adore the decorating of some of the London shop fronts and would really like to find more to work with. They go to such an effort not just inside but out and I find myself really drawn to them. This is inspiring me to incorporate some of this look in my own studio so I don't have to go to London every time I want some of this. We stopped here for a break too, having some beautifully decorated cake and yummy cappuccino. I would have loved to have taken the time to properly set up for our shoot, with lights, tripod, moving tables, properly posing Vickie with appropriate props for the scene and ideally shooting from across the street for a better viewpoint. But on such a busy corner, late in the day and without prior permission it just didn't feel right. So we got what we could with the available light, which was actually pretty good as it was approaching the golden hour. 


This shop front was fantastic as well, Moyses Stevens, which is just a few shops away from Peggy Porschen. Being a florist makes it really quite appropriate though, having such floral decorations. We asked their permission to shoot out front and they were lovely about it. The wonderful fragrance coming from their shop was amazing. I couldn't get enough of it. Now I'm on the hunt for a floral display of my own to use whenever I want without having to make the trek to London.

Again we had quite lovely light that we supplemented with a portable reflector. This makes it essential to have an assistant on hand and of course Panikos was happy to oblige.


The image below was created using high speed sync and the fountain of lighting knowledge that Panikos carries around with him. We took it in turns to set up our shots and hold the light for each other. This enabled us to create studio quality light on the streets of London in broad daylight. Not having studio quality light on location has always been a draw back for me. Lighting equipment is getting better all the time but it still means lugging it around and often requires an assistant to hold it. A light stand is possible but without a heavy sand bag it can easily blow over in the wind. So I've tended to steer clear of location work. Shoots like this though make me think otherwise. 


For this shoot I invited a young lady I've worked with before, Vickie Newton. Being a makeup artist with stunning looks made her a dream to work with and perfect for this shoot. With loads of walking and no time to stop and eat, she really worked hard for us. We were on the go for nearly a full day, from 1pm when we got off the train to nearly 7 when we all caught the tube to head our separate ways. 


These images were taken in the light tunnel at Kings Cross. I love it down there. Its limiting and takes a bit of work to get it right. The light is constantly changing both in colour and brightness which makes it hard to get exposure and skin tones right. But when we do get it right its a wonderful thing.



I'll confess that location shooting is still very much out of my comfort zone. I have a fear of being told I'm not allowed to photograph there, which does happen a lot in major cities, much to my annoyance. These cities have such beautiful places but for one reason or another (reasons I don't often understand) photographers (particularly those who look professional) are not allowed to take pictures. A phone snap is fine, using a small camera is often fine. But being caught using high end gear often catches the attention of a security guard who feels the need to move us along. Making the trek down, lugging heavy and expensive gear, to then be told you can't do anything with it sometimes makes it feel not worth it. 


Fortunately on this trip we did alright, getting approached once at the light tunnel at Kings Cross but being allowed to continue, then be told we couldn't continue in Kings Cross station was the only obstacle we encountered which isn't bad going. I can cope with that. To be honest it was my least favourite location anyway (the image directly above was taken there). 


We finished our day at Vauxhall bridge in Pimlico. We had just a short while left after leaving the cake shop so we heading towards the river, not realising how far we were from it. We made it to the bridge in just enough time for a few quick shots. By that point I was done with properly setting anything up so I finished with what was essentially a planned snapshot. The light was bordering on too low but the colours in the background provided a perfect finish for the day. Panikos on the other hand did take the time to set up his tripod and prepare the light for me to hold getting a perfectly lit shot. You should check his work out too as its really quite good. 

Comments

Carson said…
Thanks for writinng this

Popular posts from this blog

I am Still Me: A Story about a Transgender Boy

  Meet Leo. Leo is 15 and currently going through an epic transformation that has momentarily turned the lives of himself and those around him upside down. A mum who once had the daughter she always longed for is now coping with the realisation that she will be living the rest of her life with a son instead. When your child is born you have certain expectations of the typical life they will lead but most of us know and accept that it won't necessarily end up the way we imagine. Not every person wants to marry, have kids or be involved with the opposite sex. Most of us have come to accept this and can adjust to whatever comes our way relatively easily. But few of us have expected to have to deal with a change in sex. Its not that we've hoped it won't happen, but just that it never occurred to us that it might. This is a new adjustment that we as a society are being presented with today, just like so many others that have come before. When I first heard that Phoebe

Family Portraits with Fine Art Flair

I have a love and hate relationship with family portraits. I love the finished piece and creating something that is truly special to the family. I love that in years to come something I made is going to be a cherished and valueable memento for this family. What I struggle with, is getting all members of the group to look their best at exactly the same moment in time. You would be surprised at how difficult this actually is, particularly when it comes to 6 children. But I always get there in the end, whether it is the luck of a moment or with the aid of Photoshop. I ensure that everyone in the portrait is looking their best, even the dog. Seeing as this family is actually made up now of two families we also did portraits in their respective groups which I chose to do in different style to their main group. I love adding a bit of style for the overall main group and what you see above is something that is proving popular with my clients. I love adding props and giving a sort of Vani

5 Reasons you Should Consider Getting a Professional Headshot

Headshots, or profile pictures are becoming a requirement of so many tools we regularly use or reference today. From Facebook to Linked In, Instagram to Twitter and often any website that represents a company for which you work or own will have a place to include a photograph that is meant to show your audience who you are. And how you present yourself there will tell your audience so much about you. 1. A profile picture is your first opportunity for your audience to see you. Its often the first impression you make and we all know you only have one chance at a first impression. A professional photographer has the skills to show you in the best, most suitable way to give a great first impression. (These headshots were created for recruitment firm  Optima UK  who asked to have their logo placed behind them. I think it makes these headshots quite eye catching and they should do their job well.) 2. Using a professional to create your headshot will convey yo

My Associate Panel

As I mentioned in my last blog, I achieved my Associateship in Portraiture with the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers).  I just thought I would share with you the panel I submitted.  Having sat through the assessment I see that there are a couple of images that I wish I hadn't chosen, more so due to not having enough variety rather than the lack of quality.  but overall I am pleased with my submission. I always thought that once I achieved my Associateship I would be done with qualifications.  Working towards a Fellowship just seems so unattainable.  I don't think I can just sit here not striving towards a goal though.  Besides, my husband has already set 5 year plan.  So I guess I've not seen the end of qualifications just yet.  But don't be expecting any news on this front for quite some time though.  A fellowship is on an entirely new level and its going to take a lot of work. 

My Fellowship in Child Portraiture, Baby Photographer of the Year and All Things Convention Related

Its been a very busy year for me.  Hence the reason I've not been keeping this blog up to date. That's about to change though.  I anticipate this coming year to be even busier but I plan on getting a lot more organised and keeping on top of things like this.  For now though I'd like to tell you all about last week. I keep trying to think of some words to describe this past week and I keep coming back to 'I had the time of my life' and breaking into song in my head.  Apart from when my daughter was born I haven't had a better time in my life. This week was spent at the Societies Convention where in excess of 14 thousand photographers from around the world meet to take part in print competitions, submit qualification panels and join in on various classes and events. The week began as one of the most stressful of my life.  I've never felt nerves like it.  I'd just spent the best part of a year planning and preparing my 20 image panel to present to 5