Utilising Artificial Light in Night Photography

Aside from my tasks I undertake as part of my Masters degree I like to keep up with personal projects. This week I set out to photograph low light portraits both inside and out. I have found shooting personal projects keeps me motivated.

For this set of images I was shooting on my Sony A7RII and cracked the ISO up to make up for the lack of natural light..
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 13.31.08

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 13.31.21

I sat the model near the window so I could use the light coming in from the street

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 13.30.40

When I was outside I was always looking for artificial like which I could utilise such as the blue lights of the ambulance, park lights and street lamps.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 13.33.49

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 13.30.54

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 13.33.30

Also exactly two years ago today I graduated! Its been a crazy two years with lots of photography ups and downs but just scrolling through my blog I can see how my photography has developed. It’s exciting to think about what I might be creating this time next year..

unnamed-5

Portraits at the Barbican

I have now been studying for my Masters in Photography for over a month- and I can’t believe how quick its gone! So I thought I’d share with you some of the work I have produced so far, starting with the very task: portraits.

I chose the Barbican as the backdrop as its one of my favourite places in the whole of London. It was an incredibly overcast day so the lack of light made it challenging.

I had to select 5 and these were my picks..

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 18.29.47

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 18.28.35

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 18.30.07

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 18.27.51

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 18.29.20

Mixing up Your Portraits

It’s bound to happen, no matter how much you love photography you’ll hit a creative wall, a stumbling block, a rut. Sometimes the best way is to get out of it is to take break from photography- this can feel counterintuitive but it can work. OR the alternative is to keep photographing but you’ve got to mix it up and experiment.

Here, using the same model, I’ll give you a few tips and tricks I like to use when shooting portraits on location:

1.Use Depth

You should give the same amount of thought to the subjects location as much as their pose. Adding depth is a great way to make an image more interesting. My favourite way to do this is either leaving a gap between the subject and the background or by using  varied depth of field.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.05.42

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.06.00

2.Take a Step Back

Close up portraits can be a great way of capturing your subjects expression, mood and persona. But sometimes taking a step back and letting your subject get consumed by the location can result in a less-staged, more natural feeling portrait.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.05.26

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.06.22

By getting the model to stand on the middle stone it meant I could capture his full reflection in the water.

3. A Portrait Doesn’t Need to Include a Face

The aim of a portrait is often to capture the personality of the subject. You can photograph all kinds of things that reflect a persons personality, job, interests. Here I chose to photograph the models tattoo’s as they contribute to his identity.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.09.17

4.Use the Light (natural or artificial) 

If you’re ever feeling uninspired look to your nearest light source. You don’t have to use it- block it out, cast shadows or shoot night photography. But it does act as a restriction which often triggers creative ideas and solutions.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.16.46

5.Embrace a Lack of Ideas!

It never lasts for ever and some of the best ideas come after stepping back and taking a break from photography. The portrait below came from me wanting to photograph what it feels like to have a creative block…

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.32.09