I was looking at adding some new examples of portrait and editorial photography to my website. I thought I would look for a local project to photograph. My local cycle shop turned out to be the perfect venue.
Eddie McGrath Cycles in Urmston, Manchester are your classic ‘old school’ high street bike shop selling everything from a puncture repair kit to a full mountain or road bike. What surprised me was that they also build and sell very trick carbon bike wheels under their brand ‘Sixth Element’. I thought the wheel building process and the shop would make an interesting faux editorial shoot.
I wanted to tackle the photography like an editorial photography commission. I aimed to show the wheel building process in a selection of reportage style photographs from small detail shots through to overall shots showing Graham, the owner, with a finished wheel. I also wanted to take some interesting environmental portraits.
Equipment – everything was shot on my canon 5D Mk3 using a 24-105 zoom lens . To light the shots I used two canon 600 flashes, using Pocket Wizards to sinc them. One flash was fired through an umbrella and the other one from floor height as a ‘fill’. I’ve been trying to reduce the equipment I take on jobs. I would much rather use a couple of lightweight flashes than portable studio lights.
If you are interested in using off camera speedlights there is a great website and resource called The Strobist/blogspot
Technique – I like to create mood in my photography by using strong sidelight from a single flash and then just a little bit of fill light to soften the shadows. My main light and working aperture were set at f8 and the fill light at f4. Small speedlights and a stand take up no room at all and were easy to position around the shop. Also, as they aren’t mains powered they can be easily moved without having to trail lights across the floor or be near to a mains socket.
Overall I was pleased with the images and it just goes to show that you don’t have to travel miles to
take interesting photographs.
There are other examples of editorial photography commissions and portrait photography on my websites gallery pages.