Shoot Story: Photoshoot With Abi

A short shoot in a local park, racing against the setting sun to get the shots before it gets dark.

I knew Abi a little – she used to work as a waitress in our favourite cafe – Mad Hatter’s in Tiverton. We’d become ‘Facebook friends’ and ‘Instagram friends’ from there, but hadn’t talked in years. She’d been to university and studied drama since we’d last been in touch, and come back to Tiverton.

She always looked great, though, with a bright smile and stylish look, so I contacted her on Instagram and asked if she’d be interested in trying modelling. The acting background seemed like it might work well for modelling too – she’d know how to put a bit of expression into shots, at least. She replied, and said she’d like to, but wouldn’t have time because she was moving to China for four months.

I promised she didn’t have to do that, I would take ‘no’ for an answer, but she explained that was something she was doing anyway, not just an extreme way to get out of it. As it turned out, we managed to find time for a very brief shoot one evening. The problem was we didn’t have long between us and her being available after work, and the sun going down. With no lighting gear, I’m pretty reliant on that big glowing ball in the sky.

We started in a little bit of garden outside the Heathcoat Centre, posing on and around a bench, and against some bamboo.

We then moved around to the outside cafe seating, with a few shots against the garage door, and on the cafe seats. Her bright red coat really stood out against the grey background.

In the park, we did a few shots under a tree.

The bandstand was the final location, as the light level started to get low. It works really well – there are benches around the outside, and the bandstand itself is raised fairly high, so I could shoot down onto the bench, as well as photographing Abi sitting on the benches from the side.

Abi then climbed up onto the edge of the bandstand, holding the railings, which made for another different angle, though we had to be a bit careful with the angles with that short skirt!

Abi seemed to enjoy the shoot, and said she wants to try again when she’s back, and I’m looking forward to it. As I’d hoped, her acting meant she could portray some really different looks, going from bright and happy to sad and bored in moments, in the same location. Sometimes, the look was ‘laughing with friends’ and a moment later ‘stood up for a date and upset’.

I’m really happy with how many good shots we got in the short time we had available, and I’m really hoping to work with Abi again – I’d love to see what we could do with more time and more locations.

Gear

I’m writing this quite a long time after the shoot, but I know it was shot with my Sony Alpha 7, and I’m fairly sure I only used my Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 lens. We gave up when the light started to get low enough that I was having to push the ISO up, so even the later shots were only ISO 200.

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