It was so nice to be out doing photography again.

Last weekend was the first time I had loaded up the car in quite a few weeks. It was exciting to be checking batteries, re-cleaning lenses, gear and sorting out what I would need for a photoshoot.

I have recently joined a local photography group on Facebook and I put out a post asking if people would be interested in a photoshoot revolving around Godox lighting. I needed a model plus an assistant and I was lucky enough to get both.

On the day of the shoot, as I loaded the car, I glanced up at the skies; drab, grey, boring, flat. If I had been shooting natural light the images would have been a struggle. With strobes, flashes and gels anything became possible.

I arrived at my location in plenty of time. It is a park in Torbay and it is one of my favourite spots. I have a pull wagon so I loaded up my gear and as I’m approaching the gates I notice they are shut. A lady was outside cleaning the signs and she explained that, for now, they are shutting on Sunday mornings for cleaning and gardening.

I had done my research, I had checked their latest news. There was no mention of closing on a Sunday anywhere… except a note on the gate.

Lesson One: Always have a backup plan!

We had two hours to kill. We all wanted to do a shoot in this park so after mulling over my options I decided to head over to the car park above the toilets at Meadfoot beach in Torquay.

Now I know what you’re thinking; car park, toilets, huh? Just bare with me 🙂

The car park overlooks thatcher rock between the trees. It is a fairly hidden spot but one I knew well.

I used my AD600 pro with a diffused 38″ deep parabolic softbox… I love this softbox!

I used a heavy duty light stand (part of a C stand), weighed down with sandbags. Behind the model Mandolyn I had an AD200 with an orange gel.

Assisting me was the totally awesome Dianna Dunn, also from the club and wanting to check out how Godox lighting may be useful to her.

The light really was dull and dreary so I went with it and kept the sky darker than normal and used a bit more flash than normal, to get this shot…

I have to be honest, I’m not that keen on photos that look like artificial light was used. With such a drab background I knew I didn’t want all the shots to look like artificial lighting has been used.

A quick look around and I found a new position. I saw a video once, I think it was Manny Ortiz, who said when looking for compositions, focus close and flick over to manual, then move your camera around, looking at the bokeh background in live view or viewfinder (mirrorless) to find the best bokeh at a location.

I had a quick scan of the scene and for this next shot, I used my very ‘un-ninja’ like position here…

Phone photo by Dianna Dunn.

To more evenly expose the lighting to achieve this shot…

I don’t mind the flash look, but I prefer this more blended photo myself.

The creamy light bokeh balls in the trees were the brickwork of the Osborne Hotel, showing through the leaves. I may well have missed that as a shot if I hadn’t scanned the scene to see what else I could use.

Time flew by and we headed back to the original park. Same two light set-up at a sun temple, I just love this spot!

So Dianna had a go with my camera and I had a go at modelling… very, very badly 😂

After these photos Dianna had to go but there was one more spot I wanted to photograph Mandolyn at. She went off to get changed and I set-up just a hundred yards away from the sun temple. The trees here have such a lovely, rich colour. With Mandolyn’s new outfit, it was perfect for this location.

This spot was very, very dark because there is a lot of foliage above.

I pulled the diffusion off the parabolic softbox because although the light would now be harsher, it was enough to really pump out all the colour and contrast from this scene. I wanted the tree to really come alive with colour and it was too dark without it.

This was my favourite shot of the day…

I love mixed lighting, I love playing and experimenting with light. This was the first time I’d been able to really mess about with my AD600 pro, simply because this wasn’t a paid shoot so I had the chance to have fun with it.

If you need some photos, headshots, portrait or full body shots and you like my style, I would love to have a chat with you, especially over a coffee 🙂

If you’d like to collab with me and model, please get in touch too.

You can see more of my portrait photography examples in the link.

Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter