My journey with digital photography started when I purchased a Nikon D3200 and re-ignited an old passion. Aviation was my thing back then, and to an extent still is, but I slowly tried different genres of photography and had the chance to try portrait work. I got bitten by the portrait bug and started looking for ways to capture different types of portraits.
When it comes to kit, I don’t get drawn into the DSLR vs mirrorless debate. Low-light capabilities are what’s important to me. I use the Nikon Z6 II, and it almost always has the Nikon 28-75mm f/2.8 lens on it, which produces crisp images. For lighting, I use the Rotolight NEO 3 – its continuous LEDs allow me to be creative in the moment, with access to millions of colors in an instant.
My best shots
‘Hollywood’ is one of my latest shoots. The model, Didi, sent out a casting call for a Hollywood-style shoot, something I had seen examples of but not tried. I’ve converted my garage into a simple home studio with a small frame and a few different backdrops. I had a look in local charity shops for a few props and came across a vintage nursing chair that I thought would work well. With most shoots, creative props can make all the difference, but they don’t need to be expensive.
‘Cyberpunk’ was shot in my converted garage, and is proof that you don’t have to have a large space for a studio. Chantelle was the model for this shoot and was willing to work on a TFP (time for print) basis. This is when a model agrees to trade their time for images – usually when they’re looking for something specific to add to their portfolio. Finding TFP opportunities is a great way to build up your own portfolio without too much cost. The props in this shoot were a couple of silver emergency blankets, a pair of glasses from Amazon, and a projector to create unusual light patterns.
‘Urbex and Frill’ is about using different textures in your compositions. It was shot during a professional workshop in an abandoned building. These sessions offer a great opportunity because the setups are organized for you. The challenge is producing something different to the other photographers on the day. I try to find angles that will help my images stand out. For this shot I decided to really bring out the peeling wall to contrast against the flowing dress Ashleigh was wearing.
‘Witch in the Wood’ takes using props to another level. For me, this image helps to show how far I have come along on this photographic journey. I was asked to create a Halloween feel in the middle of summer. Erin was the perfect model, with her gothic looks. Add a purple smoke grenade and a wooded area, and we managed to create this striking vibe.
This image strips everything back down to basics, a simple one-light setup using a Rotolight NEO 3. Car parks are a favorite location to shoot, as they can be such a creative area to work. I used the parking bay as a leading line and asked Angharad to crouch down so I could frame the photo from a low viewpoint, to create something that captures the eye and is different to the normal portrait.
My portrait photography tips
- Take every opportunity to practice. Ask friends or family to stand in front of the camera. The more you practice with different people and different lighting setups the better you will become.
- Home studios don’t have to be expensive investments. A single flash and a portable frame with a cloth backdrop will get you up and running.
- Search out photography opportunities and network. There are a lot of manufacturers, such as Rotolight, who host photography walks or workshops that enable you to try new equipment and meet with like-minded people.