During an overcast day in the Summer just passed, we jumped in the car to take a trip to the beautiful city of Chester. The gig was to to shoot a wedding session with some lovely young people wearing clothes from a local vintage store and hair styled by nearby salon, Tommy’s Hair. The Chester side of the whole event was organised by (the very up and coming) ‘Just Another‘ events management company, whose Kylie Thompson coordinated the models, vintage wedding dress selection and suits/attire for the boys.
Video Light Experimentation
Equipment wise, I took along the D300s (with Tokina 11~16mm and Nikkor 18~200 mm glass), plus two SB900 speedlights, reflectors, umbrella modifiers and a recently acquired additional illumination source – a Lowell id-light. Normally the reserve of videographers, this hand held (or indeed stand-mountable) light is tungsten balanced, with adjustable ‘barn-doors’ to further narrow the already zoom-able light source which I wanted to integrate into shoots for some static and fade controllable light.
The first location was the churchyard of Chester’s stunning Cathedral. The models, ‘Shel’ and Alex, looked amazing with the bride’s beautiful vintage dress and Alex rockin’ threads akin to a younger (circa ‘Doctor Who’) David Tennant. We got some strange looks and gathered quite a crowd of onlookers as we had the guys posing in various ways, busting some rather unusual moves and throwing the odd bouquet too. The cloudy sky acted like a huge soft-box, so specular light needed to come from the umbrella bounced SB900 and an occasional side/rim light from the CTO gelled second one.
The second location for the day involved a trip to one of Chester’s trendiest bars, The Commercial. We sat down for something quick to eat in the restaurant there and met up with two new models for the day, Bradley and Emma. Whilst everyone relaxed over coffee, I scouted round this very interesting building for back-drops and interesting rooms. The manager of the place had given us full permission to poke around and set up where we thought best and sure enough, it was indeed a little goldmine for a photographer.
One room provided back drop for a low key, moody shot of the unique looking Brad, bringing to mind a still from a Guy Ritchie movie in the process. A ‘Terry Thomas’ mural and some ‘Marx Brothers’ wallpaper also inspired an interesting study with again, Brad and brought event organiser Kylie into the shoot as a ‘trailer-trash’ actress. But hey, what of the wedding theme?
The third location then brought us back to that as Kylie and her friends got Emma ready for her night-time vintage wedding dress shoot, with us all setting up on the balcony of [someone's] uber-cool apartment. Hair and make-up sorted, Emma appeared looking lovely and wearing a gorgeous dress so, whilst Debbie threw in a few pose suggestions, I kicked up an SB900 with a shoot through umbrella, had one of the guys hold a reflector for fill light and pointed the video light against the apartment’s back-wall.
We got some great shots of Emma’s vintage bride, including the rather dreamy, angelic fantasy image below. This, as you’ll see, was of course subjected to some intense post-processing, and though not included in the portfolio section of this site we thought you’d like to at least see it.
And that was about it – by 11pm, Debz and I were fading fast, and packed up the gear for the long drive home – tired, but very happy about a full day’s fantastic shoot. Oh, by the way, here’s a compilation video of the Chester vintage shoot collection.