Seeing things in a new light (Soton Part II)

This post is really part two of my Southampton journey, but is tied in to the book that I brought with me; Elizabeth Messina‘s The Luminous Portrait*.

For a long time my exposure choices have tended to be dictated by what might be called a “normal” exposure, or even slightly underexposed where this would deliver richer colours. Rarely would I consider overexposure to be a viable option (though as my recent pictures of Jenny show, I would never rule it out).

Perhaps I need to think again. I recently learned that renowned beauty photographer Sue Bryce overexposes all of her work by a full stop, and this is similar to the approach espoused by Messina, though she exposes for the shadows, which then leads to the other tones in her pictures developing a glow.


Inevitably then, I’ve been experimenting with exposure in some of my pictures, but it was with people that I really wanted to try it. Without a muse on hand I returned to street portraiture in the hope of finding what I was looking for, and initially shot Kavya, a young Indian girl, though in hindsight realised that though I’d positioned her to get the benefit of a backlight into her coloured hair, I hadn’t then taken that a step further in getting a brighter result. Contrarily I processed it in monochrome!

On my way to dinner I shot a couple of frames of Jessica, an Eastern European but then accidentally deleted the overexposed version so was forced to try and replicate it in processing which doesn’t seem to have been a great success.

I even resorted to self portraiture for a while in trying to get something more interesting, but it was so hot in my hotel room that I stripped to shorts which then felt a bit weird taking topless pics of myself!   The second has received some critical acclaim from my friend Jane though, so I’ll assume it was worth it.

So here are more Soton images, but with a little more light, and concluding with Damian who I met sitting outside one of the many bars in town that were taking advantage of the lovely weather. Inevitably he was a musician. Just as inevitably I didn’t push the exposure!


*btw – I wouldn’t recommend the book; very little content, spun out by repetition in my opinion. Maybe that’s why it didn’t make a discernible difference. 😊  Still she’s a great photographer.


She’s got it!

My first experience of studio photography was a nude workshop run by John Tisbury, and I remember him saying that one of the best pieces of advice he could give to an inexperienced photographer was to work with the best models they could afford. His advice was born out on the day by Iveta Niklova, the model he had brought with him.

I’ve worked with Iveta a couple of times, and she is incredible in her ability to flow from one pose to another, constantly changing the image that she offers the photographer; a huge boon when you wouldn’t know where to start in posing someone.

At the recent meeting of the Bananastudios Creative Talent Circle we were introduced to a new model called Jessica, for whom this was her first time in front of the camera and studio lights. By contrast she was the one needing guidance and direction from the photographers, and yet they unanimously agreed that she’d been fantastic. Sometimes just being beautiful is enough.

The male model who was there, Lee, was also pretty new. He made a pretty decent fist of it too.