Flash photography – A little help from a friend

In my last blog post I attempted a self-portrait so I could have some images to promote myself as a musician. Not only did I receive a great response I also received an offer of help from an old Adelaide work colleague/friend Julian Savio who now lives in Melbourne (where I moved to). He has his own photography gear as well as access to some extra gear through his work. He wanted to practice flash photography and suggested we do a shoot together.

This offer was amazing and so appreciated, a great chance for me to go beyond what I could do on my own and for him to get some real world practice – WIN WIN! Last Saturday we booked in a time to head out for our first shoot together. It turned out to be the perfect day, nice and still and clear.

Julian had a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera, Canon 35mm f1.4 and 70-200 f2.8 lenses and a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT with Softbox. He picked out a spot he stumbled upon when trying (unsuccessfully) to get a short cut to the train station. It turned out to be a great location with several different shoot options just a stone’s throw from each other. We started against a wall covered in graffiti, the colour options were awesome!

Setting up the flash box ready for the shoot
Julian setting up the flash box ready for the shoot.

The thing I struggled with the most in the shoot was posing correctly for the camera. I’d have things like my legs/feet pointing at an odd angle that essentially became distracting. Perhaps I’m too self-critical but there seems to be a fine line between looking ‘kinda cool’ and looking ‘try-hard’. I tried having sunglasses on for a few shots but it felt a bit too rock star star for my shy personality. Looking back now at the shots there are definitely a few that we did with the sunnies that I’d love to re-shoot without them. We both learnt from the shoot and are very keen to get back out there soon to try again.

The last location we stumbled upon and shot as an afterthought turned out to be one of our favourites. It was a simple alley way between two buildings, one side was a simple rough concrete and the other side was brick with a bit of a rustic feel. I was feeling a bit tired at this point and I can see that in the photos. By this point we had also ran out of battery juice for the lightbox which were no longer firing so it’ll be exciting to really see what we can get out of this location.

Overall we got more than enough for my needs which is fantastic and I’m sure we’ll be able to make some improvements in the next shoot.

As for the all important music, I’m still chipping away. I believe the tracks are really finished this time for ‘Drought Breaker’. All I need to do now is re-amp the final guitar tracks when the neighbours are out 😉

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