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Chris Hanley explains simple lighting for location portraits - The Horse and its Human is his latest project and here he talks ePHOTOzine through some of his techniques he uses when out shooting for this particular series.
As a photographer who specialises in location portraiture we take inspiration not only from our clients, but also where we photograph them. A body of work we have been building is "The Horse and its Human."
This is a study of the close relationship the animal has with the rider. I'm interested in capturing the love, beauty and tenderness both have for each other. A series of images which show a natural bond rather than an equine study.
The way I approach this is no different to any of our portrait work. We have a date in the diary at least a month in advance.
This gives everyone time to prepare, think about the session and look forward to it. Claire, my wife and business partner devises a shoot plan and will have spoken to the client (the human) beforehand. This will involve a "what to expect" type of conversation and advice on what to wear etc.
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The finished images are intended to be showcased in an album or as wall products. Our clients always look great, wearing something comfortable but smart and fashionable.
Arriving at the stables we normally have coffee and a look around. I introduce myself to our four legged client and assess the location and the light.
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Light! This is my main motivator. For me it's everything, not so much the quantity, but the quality. This has been instilled in me by Damien Lovegrove. Without a doubt, the most influential photographer in my career. He taught me how to find beautiful flattering daylight and how to introduce drama in my images with off camera flash.
This combination is a winning formula for portraits which will impress clients and hopefully produce profitable sales for the business.
The images for this shoot have been taken on a Nikon D300. The SB800 speedlight was off camera and the flash triggered with an on camera SU-800 commander.
There is a small amount of post production with Adobe lightroom and photoshop. I also like to aggressively crop images to produce extra images from the same file.
We always welcome feedback and questions so feel free to leave your comments or questions.
Please visit Chris Hanley's website and blog for more information about him, his team and his work.