West Model Management

Fashion Photography in Unusual Locations: How I Shot Fashion Portraits in an Alley

Having a dedicated studio space would be incredible! But, that's not where I'm at right now. Instead, I'm working with the locations I can find and negotiating weather and timing, all while balancing clothing and models. Although I would love a dedicated space to call my own, I also find some enjoyment in the pursuit to make something great in an unusual place. This was certainly the pursuit with my recent shoot with Antavius. You may remember him from a number of other shoots

A couple weeks ago I had spent some time running around downtown Clayton in search for some simple backdrops that could take the place of a studio. I was fortunate as I ran across this gray wall, which was poured not too long ago. The fresh paint and decently smooth surface made the space perfect for the look I was chasing. I quickly sent Antavius the location information and began planning out the shots that I wanted to capture. 

As the day approached, the weather was in our favor (65 degrees in December) and the setting was still perfect. I grabbed a stool to help create the atmosphere I wanted and pulled together some lite travel gear to set up shop in this small space. As you can see from the image above, I have an old stool, which is shown slightly more closely in the below image, in addition to some of my gear. My light stand was a Manfrotto Nano stand with a Neewer square soft box, which was powered by a Neewer TT560, one of the cheapest flashes out there. The shoot took place at 3:00pm, which allowed the sun to dip into the horizon and gave off a soft light that could be over powered more easily by such a simple flash. Camera-wise, I was shooting with my Sony A7 and Zeiss 24-70 at f4. Unfortunately, I only brought a single sandbag, which was easily overthrown by the wind. To combat the wind, I threw my Seahorse 920 case on another foot; it did the trick and kept things from moving the rest of the shoot.

I wanted to avoid the lines on the wall to the left of this shot, but in hindsight, I should have moved. The orange paint on the ground made Photoshop more tedious as I had to work around the stool's legs and the model. Photoshoping everything else in the image was pretty straightforward and I hope to have a video detailing that process very soon. Additionally, as a tip going forward, I should have distanced myself from the wall a little bit more. I was trying to avoid any traffic that may come through, but it was so minimal that I could have gotten away with it. This would have further reduced the need for Photoshop efforts on the wall. 

The results really speak for themselves if you ask me. I touched up the wall in Photoshop and colored everything in Lightroom, with manual dodging and burning taking place back in Photoshop. All of the images are colored with my presets.  Check out some of my favorite images, including an extra image when an excited tenant let us onto the roof for some exclusive access. Oh, and don't forget to give Antavius a follow on Instagram. He's making some big moves these days, so it's only a matter of time before he becomes a household name.