I always look forward to my seasonal shoots for brilliant local designer “She by Sophie“. And there’s no better way to forget that it’s a cold February day in Birmingham than spending much of it photographing the beautiful Alex in Sophie’s swimwear collection.
With two overseas trips planned for the first half of 2017 (the FOTO-CLUB Spain photographic holiday, and a wedding in Crete), I have lots of reasons to be looking forward at the moment.
It’s been a whole year since I left the old “Fotofilia” studio at BOM in the city centre and moved back to the Jewellery Quarter and what I had thought might be a stop-gap studio but has become a long-term base. And a year on, there have been quite a few changes, not only in the way I work but also the marketplace for courses and photography in general.
So after some soul-searching and some great ideas from the membership, I decided to continue the monthly club (formerly THE CLUB and f2) that I’ve been running for a decade or so but with a few changes to the format and membership system that we’ve been using so far. No more attendance fees, just an annual membership subscription, and a wider range of content at the monthly meetings to be partly dictated by the members themselves. Despite what initially looked like limited interest, we now only have 3 spaces left for membership (although I may review this in six months time).
Here’s to the next twelve months of FOTO-CLUB.
One look at me is enough to realise that I’m not a person who voluntarily spends much time in the gym. However, when a regular client (Fighting Fit City Gym) re-brands as Henrietta Street Gym and moves to a specially-designed new premises and needs photos, I’m there.
Owner Neil Perkins had been keeping me up to date with the re-fit of this former industrial building in Brum’s Jewellery Quarter but I was still hugely impressed when I finally set foot in the gym a week or so after it’s launch. Neil and his architects have cut no corners and have managed to retain the building’s “heritage” feel while making it an inspiring and comfortably modern place to train.
Retaining and re-using some of the building’s character features (like old machinery, exposed brickwork and parts from the goods lift) and augmenting those with well-sourced suitably period furniture (like old theatre/cinema seating and historic pugilist artwork) gives the gym the feeling of a film set.
Even the changing rooms and showers have been carefully planned and laid out with exposed pipework, reclaimed ceramic sinks but state-of-the-art shower fittings.
Even I, whose motto is “no pain…” (that’s it, just “no pain”) can feel a little inspired in a gym like this. Neil and his team have created what must be the most stylish boxing gym in the Midlands (at least!).
So once the light dropped to “unacceptably-high-ISO” levels during the “Special Studio Evening” with Roseanne, we headed back indoors for the more usual Studio Evening stuff… namely, studio lighting. In the studio.
So here are a couple of shots from the indoor section of the evening…
Every few months I select a model that I’ve been wanting to work with and invite them to pose for a group at the studio under the “Special Studio Evening” series of events. On the most recent occasion, my model was the lovely Roseanne who had braved Brum traffic to drive all the way over from Cardiff at rush hour (not a feat for the faint-hearted).
And the great thing about running these shoots in what we laughingly think of as the British summer is that we can make the most of the early evening light by starting the shoot outside.
I’ve been working with the wondrous Sasha quite a bit of late, mainly shooting fashion for a clothing brand. Once the “white background” studio shots are in the can we grab a few more “natural” semi-editorial shots either inside the building (when the weather is iffy) or in the surrounding streets of Birmingham‘s Jewellery Quarter (when the weather is good). This little sample were shot using a mixture of daylight and a little splash of fill from my trusty (& cheap) Yong Nuo speedlites.
And finally, as the sun started to get lower in the sky, I chanced my arm with some contre-jour shots with the flash again popping some light into the shadows (mainly on Sasha’s face).
A few more shots from the highly productive FOTO-CLUB shoot with the beautiful Elena in which we ventured outside and into the studio’s communal spaces. This time, I’m going to show you a couple of colour images (I posted black and white last time). Just natural light and a reflector.
I’m very much looking forward to photographing the gorgeous Roseanne this Monday on the FOTO-CLUB “Special Studio Evening“. It will be the last studio evening for quite a while and I’m hoping that if the weather permits, we’ll shoot for a while outside in the yard at the back of this studio. Keep watching for images…
It’s funny what you miss. For years, many years, I’ve included a stop-off at a public phone box on Newhall Street (Birmingham) as a part of my regular Night Photo Safari circuit. On freezing cold nights, this provided a few minutes of shelter from the icy winds for the model (if not for the photographers) – providing they had a sense of smell that wasn’t too sensitive to the distinctly “toilety” whiff inside the booth.
Imagine my horror then, when we discovered on the most recent Night Photo Safari that the phone box had been removed! (probably in the interest of public hygiene).
Farewell, oh whiffy phone box. You served me well.
Since moving to Alto Studio, I’ve only once before used the building’s outside areas for a shoot (a fashion shoot with Sasha Hatton) so a FOTO-CLUB group shoot on a Sunday morning when the building is completely deserted seemed like the ideal opportunity to explore. I chose the stunning Elena Koneska as the ideal model for the shoot.
Here’s a couple of low-contrast mono shots of Elena. Don’t be fooled – despite the bright sunshine, it was a FREEZING cold morning. More to follow.