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

Where to Shoot Street Photography in London

London has long been one of my favourite places to shoot street photography. No matter the time of year the streets are always filled with opportunities to photograph people. In this post I’m going to break down my favourite spots in London.

First up: Trafalgar Square. The square is home to both the National Gallery and Nelsons Column. This provides a great space to photograph people interacting with the architecture and environment around them.
Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.04.38

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.04.53

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.04.09

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.05.20

Leicester Square/China Town

Located next to each other, Leicester Square and China Town provide plenty of colour. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of people and finding it hard to spot scenes to photograph, try and focus on shooting one thing such as dogs, the colour blue, people wearing hats etc. Whilst I was here I focused on photographing couples..

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.05.49

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.16.59

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.11

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.17.10

Leading you from Oxford street to Leicester square is Regent Street. It’s a wide road filled with shops such as Apple and Hamleys. If you get there during golden hour the light hits just right through the buildings to create some striking portrait opportunities.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.01

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.17.25

Outside of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the full spectrum of emotions from vloggers and excited tourists to stressed parents and tired children..

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.55

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.39

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.28

Street photography takes lot of patience and you have to be prepared for people to watch you taking pictures. But its a great way to see a city and when you take your shoes off after a long day walking theres nothing better than flicking through the photos you shot and coming across your new favourite photo.

More Street Photography

Camden  Prague Golden Hour  How to Use the Background in Street Photography

Dougie Wallace When the Subject Spots You  East London

Returning to Medium Format Photography

It’s been way to long since I last picked up my Yashica 635 and shot a roll of film. So long in fact the last time I shot medium format was with the Diana F+  back in February. But after flicking through one of my favourite photo books (Vivian Maier) I was inspired to go out and shoot a roll of 120mm.

Scan 2

My Yashica 635, a beautiful camera with a temperamental focus. 

For the last few years I have been focusing on street and travel photography so I thought I’d try my hand at some portraits.

I was shooting on Portra 160 film which is always my film of choice for portraits. And as the sun set we headed inside..

The film performed incredibly well considering I was shooting at ISO 160 in such limited light.  If you’ve never shot medium format photography- I highly recommend it! Although it comes at a higher cost than 35mm and on average you only get 12 shots, the detail you can capture with a good camera and the experience is well worth the extra pennies!

Portraits: How to Utilise your Location!

To take a great portrait you don’t need the latest high-tech equipment or a studio- although this can help. All you need is a camera, a model and the time to experiment.

I took all these shots within 1km of my flat using my Pentax K1000 35mm camera (around £100/$139).

Light

When shooting outdoors always look for where the sun is in the sky- light is a vital factor in creating a striking portrait. Golden hour  is a great time to shoot photography outside but if the light is strong it creates lots of interesting options..

20

7

With great light comes shadows, always be on the look out for unusual shadows to add some depth to the portrait

BUT if you live in England or somewhere similar, the chances are if you’re waiting for sun you’ll never take a single photo. So if the light is dull look for an interesting composition or location to detract from the lack of light.

 

Background

Think about your background wether it adds to the image or detracts the focus. Graffiti can be a great way to add some colour to your image. If you just want the subject to be in focus make sure they’re standing at least one step away from the background to allow some depth in your image.

 

 

Framing your subject

Use what have around you; trees, building, graffiti etc. For example, in the image below by looking up at the building it not only frames the image it makes the subject more imposing. Flowers are also a great way to add colour and fill the frame.

 

Have fun and experiment

Photography is all about enjoyment and learning from the mishaps. When shooting portraits on film I would always recommend shooting different angles of the same shot.

 

Thankfully I took two shots in this location, despite the frame counter telling me different, the first image just happened to be the first of the roll.

Street Photography in an English Winter

 

Lighting is key in photography; it can bring a subject to life, shift the viewers focus and/or help tell a story. Being a street photographer in England in the winter provides many challenges including being so cold you can’t feel your fingers to press the shutter speed. But my main issue is the light, some days the sun stays behind the clouds all day and even when it does appear its gone by 4pm. Photographing in the winter can become very temperamental which is why I have recently turned my focus to film making.

But yesterday a miracle happened.. I woke up to sunshine with no clouds in sight! So I grabbed my camera and went on a 3 hour walk attempting to harness the light and shoot some candid street photography.

DSC03576DSC03596DSC03751DSC03695DSC03771DSC03774DSC03779DSC03786DSC03791DSC03804DSC03814

If your not already hit follow on Instagram @madisonbeachphotos I will be posting more photos from my time in Bangladesh along with a very exciting photography-related announcement.

Photographing East London Markets

One of the best things about working an evening shift on a sunday, is that on the way to work I can wind through the streets of East London filled with locals grabbing a bargain at the brilliant markets. On sunday I visited two of my favourites; Brick Lane & Columbia Road Flower Market. The markets are always filled with bright colours and vibrant characters..

DSC02813DSC02802DSC02794DSC02791DSC02782DSC02780DSC02778DSC02775DSC02773DSC02769DSC02764DSC02761

DSC02689

Not at a market but I captured this shot as I walking down Oxford Street. Sometimes Oxford Street is so busy I consider doing the same.

As next week comes closer I am slowly preparing for my move to Bangladesh. If your not already, hit follow on this blog to receive updates of my travels, a photo diary and honest posts about whats its like moving abroad for the first time at the age of 22.

Taking inspiration from Dougie Wallace’s ‘Harrodsburg’

Dougie Wallace is one of the most famous British street photographers. Although more controversial than the likes of someone like Martin Parr his images are raw and capture Britain in an unapologetic manner.

Inspired by his latest body of work ‘Harrodsburg’ which takes a look at the surreal subculture and world surrounding Harrods. I headed out to the posher areas of London to try my hand at Some Dougie Wallace inspired street photography.

Group Behaviour

Wallace often looks for groups displaying similar behaviour. Like wearing similar clothes or all have designer bags. While I was outside Harrods I was drawn to the different ways people find to carry all their purchases. I have chosen to display 3 images showing the different approaches:

DSC02417DSC02447DSC02449

Cars

© Dougie Wallace

© Dougie Wallace

A key indicator of wealth is cars. Although I have no knowledge at all when it comes to cars I know the cars parked outside Harrods didn’t come cheap. Like Wallace I aimed to photograph a selection of cars in the area:

DSC02420DSC02276DSC02321DSC02290

People

Regardless of whether the frame is filled with expensive cars or designers bags deep down Wallace’s work is about the people. I think his portraits are his strongest skill, although the way he goes about shooting them is often deemed intrusive. I decided to be less intrusive and instead concentrate on looking for characters I was interested in:

DSC02405DSC02400DSC02472DSC02475DSC02322DSC02411DSC02433DSC02434DSC02437DSC02486

I had great fun exploring the areas I don’t often visit in London, especially looking a them in a Dougie Wallace esc way. If you like Dougies work check out the BBC documentary below its a great insight into his photographic approach.

Through the photographers lens

A lot of people have asked me what it’s like photographing on the streets of London. So rather than trying to describe it I thought I would show what it’s like. I have created an experimental point-of-view video capturing what it’s like to photograph such a busy city.

 

Let me know what you think and if you would want to see any more of these kind of videos! As always you can find me on Instagram @madisonbeachphotos and over on my website.

 

 

Shooting Street Photography in London

London is one of my favourite cities in the world for street photography. It’s buzzing with people everyday-night and day.  Here are some street snaps from the past week in the best people watching (capturing) locations. These photographs include tourists, DIY instruments and of course, hiding from the British rain.

DSC00375

Outside Tate Modern

DSC00403

Regent Street

DSC00411

Regent Street

DSC00415

Soho

DSC00416

Soho

DSC00419

Soho

DSC00421

Outside the Photographers Gallery

DSC00424

Outside the Photographers Gallery

DSC00425

Oxford Street

DSC00429

Oxford Street

DSC00432

Oxford Street

DSC00441

Oxford Street

DSC00443

My favourite shot of the day, Oxford Street.

DSC00444

Oxford Street

DSC00445

Oxford Street

DSC00446

Oxford Street

DSC00451

Tottenham Court Road

DSC00453

Tottenham Court Road

DSC00464

Tottenham Court Road