Enjoy Very Long Exposures With Will Cheung And MPB

My shooting plans


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
...Read More

My shooting plans

8 Feb 2021 6:41AM   Views : 405 Unique : 290


A week or so ago, I suggested that one thing we can do during lockdown is to plan the pictures we canít take for now, so that we can be efficient and purposeful when we get there. Itís still some way off for those of us in the United Kingdom, but it may be closer for others. And as thereís nothing more irritating than driving for a couple of hours to find that the church is closed, or that youíve got one battery thatís nearly flat for your camera, Iím going to suggest a basic checklist that you can go through every time you take your camera out of the house, as well as talking about the plans Iíve made for two specific lots of photographs that I have planned for the post-lockdown era.

Iím working on more detailed plans than usual for two specific outings later in the year (assuming lockdown comes to an end before I do) Ė the first is a model shoot with Black Beauty at her home, and the second is a day out with my daughter, in the town I lived in from the age of 8 to 17, Leek. Iíll leave that for another day, though, because there are very different considerations for Ďout and aboutí days.
Iíve visited Black Beauty several times before, and so I know the layout of her house and garden reasonably well. Thereís a conservatory with very high light levels on even dull days, though vertical blinds on the side windows can make for a slightly-messy background. Thereís a very long through dining-sitting room, with a long dining table near the back window, and sofas and a large area with neutral carpet and beautiful sofas at the other end.

Iíve never used a backdrop there, and so that is definitely in my plans Ė I have a large cloth backdrop that allows the colour of a modelís skin, hair and outfit to show up wonderfully. I can use this either on the floor, or maybe I can put the stands behind a sofa so that my model can lie directly on it, floating on a sea of black. The house is modern, so that the rooms arenít notably high, so there will be plenty of length of cloth available from my standard Calumet cotton square.


Thereís a door from the hall to the sitting room that I have used before Ė I used the door open, and pushed light through the panes from a low stand, giving strong shadows and dappled light. I can also try shooting through the door, sectioning Black Beauty up into six or eight rectanglesÖ

Iíve never shot using the stairs Ė again, with a soft and neutral carpet that could have been designed for photographersÖ Dave (mistere) has used this successfully in the past, and it offers interesting lighting possibilities.

Like the lounge, the bedroom is very long, and gives plenty of space for longer lenses. Itís easy to set up all kinds of lighting, though the angles may be limited Ė like many long rooms, itís also fairly narrow. Iíve photographed here with both dark and light sheets and pillows, and this time around I may enquire in advance about which will be in use. Black Beauty seems to go for photogenic bedclothes rather than pretty sets, which is a relief: many models use their bedrooms for photography but are constantly fighting against intricately patterned materialsÖ


Throughout the house, the windowsills are wide, so that they offer the possibility of being sat on and posed on, and maybe thatís something I should try. Two of the things about Black Beauty that make her special to work with are that she has long slender limbs, and that she is very flexible, allowing a lot of complex poses with arms and legs intertwined in unlikely ways. Thatís the sort of shot that is all but impossible to plan in advance, and which relies on the modelís ability at least as much as on the photographerís. It would be extremely difficult to devise and describe such an image Ė and the idea of an unbendy man in his sixties demonstrating such a pose is likely to cause laughter, and several trips to the chiropractor.

Although sheís athletic and daring, and her natural home is in explosive and erotic images, she also has a beautiful and characterful face Ė sheís not usually very keen on portraits, so Ė perversely Ė I always try to shoot a few. I hope the few with this blog show both the mischief and the gentle person within Ė and that we can push this area next time around.

And hereís the bit I promised which you may find useful, even if itís only a completeness check on what youíve already done! The basic checklist:

1 Fully-charged battery and cleared card in the camera, spares in the usual pocket of the gadget bag or coat;
2 Camera reset to default walkabout settings;
3 Any maintenance necessary complete Ė clean sensor/lenses/filters;
4 Specific lenses and accessories that you donít usually carry are checked and packed.


Recent blogs by dudler

Focus scales

If youíve been taking pictures since before autofocus arrived, youíll be very familiar with focus scales Ė they are one of the primary controls on an old-school camera, and just one more of the things that you really needed to get right. With autof...

Posted: 27 Dec 2022 7:01AM

Porcelain processing

People commented on the look in my last post and it seems like a good idea to share the secrets for Christmas. I learned the technique several years ago: a modelís boyfriend told me about it, and a website that described it in detail: I tried it, l...

Posted: 23 Dec 2022 10:47AM

You develop your own films donít you?

If you have your own darkroom, or if you use film cameras regularly, there are always a few people who mention the attic. As in ĎGrandpaís cameras are in the attic. I donít even know if they have film in them!í This leads me to ask if I can have a l...

Posted: 16 Aug 2022 11:17AM

Choose your pond

Thereís an old saying about being a big fish and a little pond. Do you want to be the most important person in a small organisation, or are you content being a relatively small cog in a big machine? Itís the same in photography. With relatively mo...

Posted: 3 Jun 2022 2:25PM

Graduated filters

This is for Hannah, and anyone else who has come across the casual way that a lot of togs talk about one or two types of filter that landscaper photographers use a lot: graduated filters and neutral density filters. A graduated filter is one that i...

Posted: 25 Apr 2022 12:18PM


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
8 Feb 2021 6:42AM
Who, what or where are you planning to take pictures when 2021 starts properly?
Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 17 1.1k 34 England
8 Feb 2021 7:25AM
I've some ideas around a friends woodland in spring ( April / May ish ) with smokebombs, already acquired some, not tried one as yet.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
8 Feb 2021 12:14PM
The stuff of which Far Forest Studios sessions are made, Chris!

So difficult to control, so hard to set up... Good luck!

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.