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  • Spranklenphoto

Managing Daylight and Flash on a Fashion Photography Shoot

Images taken at Arley Hall, Cheshire. Here are a couple of first shots of the day using the natural daylight from the large bay window.

As a fashion photographer, I thought you might like an insight into one of my shoots for a fashion footwear brand where I had to consider different aspects of lighting.

Arley Hall, a country house in Cheshire, was chosen as our location as it offered a variety of interesting settings, perfect for a creative fashion photography shoot.

I was granted access to use the Great Library where, we found out later, the TV series Peaky Blinders had been filming some of their episodes so we were in good company! What attracted me to this room was the fact that this room had the potential for amazing daylight to flood through its massive bay windows.

For the first shots of the day, I used the soft natural daylight coming from this large window which was at the other end of the room. As it was a dull winter’s day the light was cool and soft with no hope of any direct sunlight.

Images taken using natural daylight in the Great Library at Arley Hall, Cheshire.

Shooting in the middle of winter meant we were running out of light at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

As the daylight began to fade we got the Elinchrom location flash heads out. I wanted to get a moody feel to these shots so I used the honeycombs grids over the lights. I used three lights on most of the shots; one key light to light the model and another to highlight the shoes with the last light as a fill in. I also incorporated a flag to control the key light as you can see in the in image below.

I really enjoyed working with natural daylight; it has very different quality to artificial light. Incorporating both light sources at the right time and place will get you some great results. And utilising various lighting techniques on this shoot enabled me to create some different feels to the photography

I decided to use electronic flash heads as the daylight faded, we got some great moody shots to finish off the day. Note that I used a flag to control the light on this image.

This image was taken as the previous photo, just without using the flag.

My camera for the day was the Nikon D610 with a 85mm 1.8 prime lens and using a soft picture profile that gave a great quality to the shots. I shot using a wide aperture and I had the camera on a tripod in the morning as the natural light was so low. To throw something different in to the mix I also took some shots on a Fuji Xpro with 35mm lens. Both cameras have their own qualities: the Nikon being a great work horse with a versatility and ease of use, and the Fuji has a quirky feel about it and does take a while to get use to but well worth it in the end.

Finally I processed the raw files in Adobe Lightroom and graded them with one of my custom made presets.

The client was thrilled when they saw the images from the shoot and overall I was really happy with the collaborative effort from everyone involved.

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