This is one of the most liberating and creative experiences I’ve had when shooting any kind of imagery, whether it be weddings, landscapes, family portraits, lifestyle or fashion. Nothing beats heading out with a model with no plan in particular. This shoot was all about spontaneity and creativity on the fly. And it was with my photography inspirations, top husband and wife team Jonathan Harris and Christine Ware.
Photography is something that is impossible to master. Because what is right and what is wrong? What is the perfect photograph? Everything in photography is subjective.
When it comes to weddings in particular, you have to get it right on the day. You have to nail the focus and exposure and you have to shoot fantastic imagery with no time at all to do it. So you can’t try new things and new ideas in that situation. You have to go into a wedding knowing what will work where, knowing how to manipulate a scene and knowing that you will shoot amazing stuff whatever the conditions.
So that’s why I feel it’s so important for me to shoot other things as well as weddings. Because how do you find out if your ideas will work or not if you can’t practice them on somebody’s big day?
That’s why I asked Jonathan and Christine to spend some time with Emma and I and my favourite model who’s not a model, the beautiful Ella, wandering the streets of Manchester, bouncing ideas off each other, shooting stuff in places we just happened upon and creating fantastic photographs that have inspired me to bring some of what we did into other aspects of my photography.
We started in Castlefield in the morning…
We took a break for coffee at Dukes92 early in the shoot and the place was empty…so Christine asked the manager if we could use a booth for 10 minutes – if you don’t ask you don’t get!
We headed into the city centre at lunchtime – Jonathan had suggested getting into a busier environment and giving our shots much more of a street photography feel…
I love this – we could have been in Milan!
And then it was time to get serious! We’d discussed with Ella that we wanted to give the third look of the day a much more ‘rock chick’ feel. I think she got it absolutely spot on!
Again, we got a bit cheeky with the guys at this restaurant – in fact Ella just went in herself and asked to sit in the window to have her photo taken! But what a great image, there’s a lot of story in this shot that can be interpreted in so many ways, I love it…
From the northern quarter we headed over to Salford Quays…
A little peek behind the scenes. We’d hired some portable lighting kit that we used here at The Quays and first thing in Castlefield. Jonathan had decided to make life really difficult and shot all day on his seriously bad ass Leica M9. What a piece of kit that is – but it’s manual focus! Ouch!
You can also see Emma shooting some stuff here – there’ll be a couple of her images appearing on the blog soon!
I think Ella looks like a modern day ‘Sandy’ from Grease – beautiful and with bags of attitude. It was great finally shooting Ella as ‘herself’. I’ve shot her as a bride on a number of different occasions now and I’d always hoped I’d get the chance to shoot her with not a white dress in sight! She’s fantastically professional and so good at understanding what you want from her – I constantly have to remind myself that she’s only done a few shoots before! I also love the fact that Ella isn’t afraid to make suggestions around locations and posing, it’s great that she’s constantly thinking about what looks good as well.
So there we have it, my favourites from a great day shooting with the fantastic Jonathan Harris and Christine Ware – we’re definitely going to do something similar a bit later in the year which I’m really looking forward to already!
Massive thanks to Jonathan and Christine for all their thoughts and advice over the weekend. Emma and I had a fantastic time with them and can’t wait to catch up soon!
Finally, a huge thanks to Ella for taking the day off work to come and model for us – let’s get some of this put into a book and get them out there!