It was a portrait shoot with a difference as I hit Weston to photography a client in full vintage attire.
Kitty Ribbons, a well-known caberet burlesque performer, had arranged with local scooter and mod culture enthusiast Dave Coombs to bring along his immaculate machine. The idea was to combine Kitty and scooter with an archetypal British seaside background.
Dave told me how he’d once had a collection of 15 old Vespas and Lambrettas and regularly loans out scooters for magazine and film shoots, explaining the debate between those who favour one make over the other. He was also an original mod, telling us how he’d been a bit of a rebel back in the day. Luckily we didn’t run into to any rockers during the shoot but if we had I’m sure we could have had them no problems.
Vintage aficionado Kitty had a concept in mind that would involve working through three different outfits, starting off with a masculine mod look with parka, fred perry and loafers before moving to a couple of cute vintage 60s minidresses.
The date of the shoot looked like it could suffer bad weather, but a cold grey start soon opened out into a sunny early September day. For the shoot, too-much sun was actually a challenge as I was using Bowens Gemini 500 flash head and TravelPak battery unit, which, while a powerful light, is not potent enough to overcome bright sunlight, especially has my Canon 5D MKII camera is limited to a sync-speed of 1/160 sec. Still, after keeping to shady spots this didn’t prove too much of a problem, even if it occasionally limited compositional
I often enjoy the look that a powerful studio flash has when mixed in with daylight. It tends to give a ‘hyper-real’ look. Some asked what photoshop effect I use to achieve this but it’s all done through carefully thought through real lighting. During the shoot I did fire off a few natural light images too, with a conversion to black and white in mind, while they were on offer. We decided, to borrow teen/internet lingo, the flash plus daylight, look was ‘epic’.
Weston-Super-Mare is not a place I shoot in too often but have in the past made use of the beach and famous pier in the autumn and winter months for fun hats’n’gloves family shoots. If you would like to book an autumn shoot there should still be some room in my diary to get the images back in time for Christmas.