Shooting Drama on Location - part 3 of 1 2 3

by John Baikie Published 01/10/2011


This time we didn't need to worry about it being too sunny, it was dull and overcast, and threatening to rain. This was ideal, as long as we could shoot before the rain started, so it was a quick 'dress on and make-up applied' for Natalie, while I got my stuff together. I had a five minute recce and picked a few cool spots to save time. The light was very flat so this meant we could pretty much shoot anywhere on the site. I really wanted the final images to have an antique, desaturated feel so the greyness was ideal. We had permission to use the active steam train, but it was the old stuff that interested me more. We had a smoke machine so that allowed us to have a bit of our own 'steam' to add to the scenes. I'd have liked more time to set up extra lights for effect, but we will go back again and do that when there's more time. The images were all shot with either the 24-70 f2.8 or the 16-35 f2.8 lenses. I underexposed slightly again, to bring out the grey clouds, and I was happy with the final images. I then desaturated them by about 50% in Photoshop to get the effect I have here.

So basically, although these images were shot for a dress shop, they were done in similar timescales as a wedding shoot, so much the same sort of pressure to get it right. I think if you have a plan and final image in mind it's easy enough to produce some great stuff in a short time with minimal equipment. It's just down to knowing your equipment inside out so you can work fast


When I set up my images I know I have a maximum shutter speed of 1⁄250s with the Canon and Quantum combination, so I usually take a meter reading based on 1⁄60s, and then set my camera to manual. That gives me two stops of underexposure if I need it. Then it's a case of setting the Quantum to the same f-stop as the camera and just letting it do the rest.

I always look to add in some natural light images to the shoot as well as video light shooting on the location, so when it comes to choosing images for an album the clients have a range of styles and looks to choose from.

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1st Published 01/10/2011
last update 07/04/2022 09:09:57

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