Early October throws up colder weather, wet and wind but that didn’t stop me completing a quick fashion shoot on the streets of Bishopston, Bristol with male model Dave Hill-Souch.
Dave has a theatrical background and has done some modeling in the past and is looking to increase assignments with a great new website and a fresh look book. Dave’s also a big fan of graffiti art so wanted to use this as a backdrop. The A38 runs through Stoke’s Croft, Montpelier and Bishopston’s celebrated Gloucester Road and is lined with many different pieces of street art. This stretch of road is popular with devotees of the genre. With a light rain making itself known, we stuck to the Bishopston area.
I decided to take some shots using natural light and some with a studio flash head for two contrasting looks. The natural light looks more organic and, well, natural while killing the ambient light and hitting the model with flash gives a more stylised, studioesque look. One is not better than the other – they’re just different.
Dave and I found some great pieces of street art beside Bishopston’s Bristol Flyer Pub, which was once used as the Nag’s Head in a couple of episodes of Only Fools and Horses, and decided to work with these.
The light drizzle that was threatening to become worse made it possible the shoot could be short so it was important to work quickly. Flash was provided by a single Bowens Gemini 500 powered by a Bowens Travelpak. Bowens’ Gemini Range is perfect for the jobbing photographer that wants to take their studio lights outside on location. The larger monolights can be a little less stable with a standard medium-weight Bowens light stand, in comparision to a location-only pack’n’head. Still, when using big flash outside I’ll tend to have an assistant or friend hold the light in place – everything is just too cumbersome otherwise. The Bowens Geminis recycle more slowly than when powered by the mains but as I was working around f/5.6 to f/6.3 on my Canon DSLR I didn’t need to work the flash too hard giving fairly fast recycling.
Another great Bowens tool used for the shoot was the brand’s Softlite reflector. The Bowens Softlite is a parabolic reflector or ‘beauty dish’ that provides a light that is harder and crisper than, say, a large softbox but much softer than bare flash. It was perfect for the harder-edged urban look Dave and I were looking to achieve on the streets of Bishopston while still providing a flattering portrait light.
I took most set-ups with natural light and flash. For the streetwear shots I simply killed the ambient light and let the flash light the whole scene, while for the blakc suit images flash brought in more of the ambient as a fill light.
The shoot was rapid, instinctive seat-of-the-pants stuff but I think Dave has some great new images for his book. You can check out Dave’s website at http://www.shootdhs.co.uk/