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

Popular posts from this blog

Never Work With Children or Animals

Or so the saying goes. But I have to say that working with dogs has been so lovely. They have been almost entirely a dream to work with. I say almost entirely because we have had a few moments where a dog has needed to settle. And one moment where the dog had settled but one of my cats decided to have a look through the glass door which, as you can imagine, rather quickly unsettled the dog. Still, that didn't stop us from creating incredible work.

In fact it was during that shoot with the cat instance when I created two of my favourite pieces, shown below.


(It was while sitting on the couch here when he noticed the cat peering through the curtain)
I don't know if I've just been lucky or all dogs are just easy to work with. I photographed a french bull dog puppy and I thought that would be tough as he hadn't had time to be properly trained yet. But he did everything we wanted in no time at all. And this included the props we used here (below), which to me seemed somewha…

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 was transi…

Experiencing Photography in the Real World by Sophie Clarke

My name is Sophie Clarke and I am from Redmoor Academy. I spent the week doing work experience with my friend Isabelle at Christina Lauder Portraits. I chose to do my work experience with Christina as I have a very keen interest in photography and I wanted to know more about being a photographer as a career. From spending the week with Christina, I have now learnt that being a photographer isn’t just about taking photos; there is so much more behind it.
Isabelle and I testing the lighting and set up for prom

On the first day, we mainly watched Christina develop some of her images on the computer using software such as Photoshop, Lightroom and Colour Efex. This has now taught me new skills because before I didn't really have any knowledge about these, so I will now be able to use what I have learnt in my own work. The next day, in preparation for a trial prom shoot, Isabelle and I helped set up and put the props in place. Whilst Christina was photographing the client, she taught us a…

A Most Wonderful Portrait Session with 3 Lovely Ladies

This was a dream session for me. Not only did I have 3 beautiful young ladies, but they also brought with them a fantastic wardrobe and their very own hair stylist too (mum owns her own salon). So all the elements for beautiful portraits were there. And I was thrilled to get this opportunity.


Its easy to think of having portraits when you have a new baby or when you get married or have a special family occasion where you get the entire family portrait done. But its less often that people think of having their growing children photographed. After all I suppose, they are photographed at school. I even do some of those school photographs. However, those portraits are made in less than a minute per child and they are assembly line style portraits while they are wearing their school uniform. They are never going to be as special as what can be created with unlimited time and outfit changes in the comfort of a private studio.


Its in this environment that I can take the time to talk to the …

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 Vanity F…