This shoot came about from wanting to shoot in a location that wasn't spectacular and exotic, but local. It's easy to get excited about the setting when you're shooting on a frozen lake in Finland, but what if you're just under a motorway bridge in East London?
I also wanted to portray exercise and fitness in an outdoor, urban setting, and working with Beccy was perfect as it also generated visual content that she could use for her blog and website.
A recce trip by bike revealed some promising spots along Regent's canal, including a very vibrant and colourful grafiti spot next to a lock
as well as a good spot under a motorway flyover, with a great raised, tiled section of floor. It was also partially undercover and shaded, so to a certain extent weatherproof.
With some location ideas in mind I booked car, Beccy and assistant, and waited for the booked date to come round. When it did, it demonstrated one of the laws of location shooting, you will inevitably pick the one grey, rainy, cold morning in a week of glorious sunny days. The location that had looked so great on my recce looked dead and flat, and without bright morning sunshine there weren't even great refections in the water. Furthermore, the grafiti I had liked so much had been painted over with some that was much less interesting.
Rather than labour over this spot when it really didn't have what I had liked so much about it before, I decided to admit defeat and move on to plan B, the covered location, which had a grittier, more urban look that didn't rely on sunshine.
It was pretty cold, but after we had set up the lights Beccy heroically stripped down to her sports bra and leggings and we got to work, shooting a range of exercise poses that would illustrate features on her website, as well as a couple of straight portraits, and close ups to illustrate topics such as 'working your glutes'.
I used two Bowens 400W Gemini heads with strip softboxes, running off Travelpak batteries. A main light to the side at the front, and a key light from the opposite side and behind. These were balanced with the daylight to give a nice, dramatic light on Beccy but still show detail in the background.
On the same day I was shooting elements for another shoot in a studio, so after wrapping up at the location we headed over and did a couple of quick shots there as well. A super side lit physique portrait
and a backlit image featuring a semi transparent Adidas windbreaker that I'd seen and loved, and wanted to shoot. Because it was so see through the light bounced around inside it, so lighting it mainly from behind created almost the effect of a softbox, lighting Beccy inside the coat.
Overall I was really pleased with the results of the shoot. I wasn't able to do the vibrant grafiti idea, but I had a backup plan and that worked out great. The British weather can never be relied on, and especially when working on personal shoots where budgets are tiny and favours have been called in it's not always possible to build in weather days or reschedule at short notice. By having multiple plans in place beforehand, plus using the studio that was booked for another project later in the day, I could maximise what I got from the shoot and go home with a nice range of shots in the bag.