Celebrity profiles from Up North

Martin kemp

The location was Manchester city centre and the event, Grimm Up North 2011. A few days ago I was asked by Festival Director, Simeon Halligan to photograph celebrity guests attending the event. I was generally given a 10 -15 minute time-slot to get the shots, which meant there was no time for error. Since time was a limiting factor, there was little scope for creativity and I therefore decided to keep things simple. I wanted to create images that were more than press-style snapshots and was determined to gain a clear edge over the other photographers attending.

Yvette Fielding

The shoot took place in a back room at the 235 Casino in Manchester, which offered a cluttered backdrop of vibrant coloured walls, a typical casino environment. Luckily, I found a black curtain to use as a backdrop and hastily set up a mini studio in the corner of the room. For the first session, I rigged an ‘off-camera’ lighting set up using two Nikon SB900 Speedlights positioned on separate lighting stands. Both flashes were triggered by a nikon SU800 from the camera. The key light source was fired through a small soft box that was gaffa taped on to the flashgun itself. The rear light source was a ‘straight’ SB900, softened by a standard clip-on diffuser. I knew that by creating this set up I would not only have a unique look to my images in terms of lighting, but with a professional-looking studio I would stand out as the official photographer. This all helps with being taken seriously, especially in such a competitive market.

Billy Murray

On the second night I brought along an Elinchrom studio lighting kit, only to find a fellow photographer had already set up his own studio in the position I used the night before. Rather than set up two sets of lights and get in each other’s way, I suggested to the other photographer that we should share his lighting and help each other out. He was fine with this and as a result we worked together as a team. We both benefited from doing this.

Robin Hardy – Director of The Wicker Man

Celebrity shoots are always tricky, as you have to be fully prepared to shoot within tight time constraints and unpredictable environments. In terms of developing a rapport with your sitter, it’s often a case of having a 10 minute chat and then straight to shooting. With so much competition from other photographers, the key is to try to engage with your sitter, develop trust and then ‘shoot different’ in an effort to achieve results that stand out from the crowd.

Jonathan Sothcott – movie producer

Charlie Bond – Actress

Camera – Nikon D700, Lens – Nikon 28 -300 vr.

All images are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any way.






2 Responses to “Celebrity profiles from Up North”

  1. Gerry Walden says:

    Three really nice portraits. Thank God there is still someone out there who knows how to get only one catchlight in the eyes. Martin Kemp has piercing blue eyes that I had never noticed before, they are very powerful.

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