First Photoshoot of 2023
Portraits on Fujifilm Pro 400H & Kodak Gold 200
As cliché as it sounds, 2023 really has come around so quickly. For me, 2022 was a dream of a year, both personally and professionally - maybe even my favourite year yet. I was lucky enough to travel to some beautiful cities, meet a lot of amazing people and work with clients I could have only dreamt of working with, and so, to say that I’m excited for 2023 is an understatement.
To kick off the new year, I headed to the streets of East London with Ryan, a model who you might recognise from other shoots that we’ve done over the last year or so. Ryan is one of my favourite collaborators due to his confidence in posing but also his strong sense of styling, making it easy to elevate any shoot with his choices of outfit.
Collaboration and the importance of a team is something that I really honed in on last year, in 2022. Having a team of experts, each a specialist in their chosen field or passion, is a perfect way to ensure that you get the most out of a shoot.
In terms of equipment that I used throughout the shoot, I shot a mixture of film and digital. I usually shoot digital to warm up with but also to meter the scenes, as I find this the quickest and easiest way to do so without a dedicated light meter.
In terms of my film equipment, I shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and a mixture of a 110mm 2.8 lens and a 50mm 4.5 lens (the newest in my arsenal).
Before we started, I had picked out three backdrops that were within walking distance from each other and that would all work with the same colours when it came to styling. Communicating my ideas of location and colours to Ryan was important as it would give me an idea of the type of vibe we were going for and what decisions he might need to make when it comes to costume.
We ended up with three outfits in three locations.
Location one was this really traditional building that is reminiscent of an older London. I always adore finding buildings and locations that give a nod to a past version of London and so when I saw this building I knew I wanted to shoot on it. Ryan wore a double denim outfit for this look and I mostly focused on a mixture of close-up portraits, which is something very much within my comfort zone and so felt natural to start off the shoot with, and a couple of more environmental portraits that showcased the location.
I also experimented with motion on a couple of shots, which I something that I've tried to do more of over the last 6 months or so, but my hands weren't as steady as they usually are and, since I didn't have a tripod to hand, the shots came out shakier than I had anticipated.
For this first location, I opted to shoot on Kodak Gold 200. I love the colours of this film stock and I find it the perfect stock for shooting portraits on location. It’s been a firm favourite of mine since Kodak re-released it in 120 format in the Spring of 2022.
Next up, location two.
Location two was situated within Old Spitalfields market and is the flower display of a restaurant that I’ve passed many times before and always stopped to take a photo of. I loved the pops of colour from the flowers and the location went perfectly with Ryan’s choice of more muted colours in his outfit.
For these shots, I used Fujifilm’s Pro 400H, mostly because it was the only colour film I had that had a higher ISO than 200 and it was considerably darker in this location than it was on the other locations.
I’m not always a fan of Pro 400H’s colours and in this shoot, I felt the same. After receiving my scans back, I did some pretty heavy colour and tone curve work to get the photos to a point where I liked them. I probably would have preferred the colours of Kodak Gold, Lomo 400 or 800, or Kodak Portra 400 or 800 in this location but, since I didn’t have any to hand, Fuji Pro 400H it was.
For our final location, we head back outdoors and swapped our Fuji Pro 400H for some more Kodak Gold 200. This was the first location that I ended up shooting with the 50mm lens, for some more environmental wide-angle portraits that really helped to encapsulate the location.
The location was a deteriorating painted shop front that again rang true to the idea of old-school London, but also provided a nice colour palette to contrast Ryan’s all-black look. The shots that we took at this location are arguably my favourite from throughout the shoot. We also managed to get a nice selection of environmental portraits and close-up portraits within this set, making it perhaps the most well-rounded of the three sets in terms of variety.
Let me know what you think of the photos — which set was your favourite?
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Beautiful photos! The RZ is a dream camera of mine. Stunning. Motion blur is definitely a hard skill to master and it's something I have been trying out myself. On film, it's definitely a bit of risky business since every frame has a price. On my digital camera, I have had good luck with f8 shutter speed anywhere from 1/15th or 1/30th and moving with the subject whether that's walking with the subject, panning with them, or having a moving background.
I absolutely luv your work and discussion of process. It is very difficult to choose favorite photos, 2nd and last one are appealing but all are excellent. Everything fits so well, from the structure of the model to the tone of the buildings and especially the clothing, really well done. I look forward to reading more of your work. Happy to subscribe to you.
Beautiful pictures! Hearted
Love these. I have a Hassy and have been meaning to test out the new Kodak Gold. Have you ever shot slides with Ektachrome or Provia?