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Continuing Professional Development for photographers - part 2 of 1 2 3 4

by Damian McGillicuddy Published 01/12/2016

As is the case 99.9% of the time when shooting a commercial job, we arrived at the location sight unseen. The venue was set up to give a presentation, not host a fashion shoot, so this meant that the first part of my job (as ever!) was making something out of nothing. Shooting into the corner of the room enabled me to match the tonality of the curtains with the subjectís blue suit, and integrate some of the roomís architecture into my composition.

To demonstrate that even a seemingly complex set-up could be achieved without spending the earth on expensive kit, I chose to light this with simple speed lights. There are two 30x120cm strip-boxes, both gridded and gelled with a CTB (colour temperature blue), to create dynamic accent lights that you can see running down the subjectís temple, cheeks and jaw. Then in front of the subject Iíve clamshelled another pair of 30x120cm strip-boxes, this time with the outer diffusers attached, and Iíve rotated them to distribute the light horizontally.

What this set-up is achieving for us is that clean, distinctive, 'Vogueesque' look, but with the added dynamism of colour thanks to the gels. And this is the kind of lighting thatís very handy if youíre shooting a wedding on location, as itís something you can set up in a corner somewhere to make a room look greater than the sum of its parts. I shot the image on the Olympus 45mm 1.8 lens, which is really my favourite for shooting portraiture.

I would be remiss if I didnít conclude the story by mentioning that, after the shoot, we stopped into TGI Fridays for a quick feed and we couldnít resist having a Purple Rain cocktail to drink a toast to Prince!


Although I knew I wouldnít be shooting on the pitch, I was hugely excited to shoot at Cardiff City Stadium - home of both the Cardiff and Welsh national football teams. And while the weather would have made it great fun to take some images down on the turf, we were able to use the lighting conditions to great effect in the Ricoh Suite of the Diamond Club - the stadiumís flagship hospitality space.

When I started shooting, there was a shaft of light streaking in through the windows that I knew I wanted to make part of the picture. I used the ambient light as fill, carefully balancing it with the steam of light that I wanted to use as part of my composition. So my first meter reading, to measure the ambient light in the room, was important not just for the fill but also to get the effect of the light from the windows.

Contact Damian McGillicuddy

1st Published 01/12/2016
last update 20/07/2022 13:53:41

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