Urban portraits
Amateur Photographer|December 07, 2019
Urban portraits
Photographer James Paterson invites Claire Gillo to an urban portrait photoshoot and reveals what you can achieve with the Rotolight AEOS lighting kit
James Paterson

When it comes to shooting portraits on location then you’ll be pushed to find someone more capable than photographer James Paterson. His photographic style is edgy and unique, and his ability to make the most of natural light mixed with artificial is where his skills shine.

To accompany James on the shoot was Georgie Cranfield, a young aspiring model from Dartmouth in Devon. Georgie was perfect for this type of set-up as she has a great urban and youthful street look. Her outfit choices also fitted well with James’ brief and the urban setting (Dean Lane skatepark in Bristol). James had discussed with Georgie prior to the day all of these aspects, and hair and make-up were also considered and provided by Georgie.

On the photoshoot James had two AEOS lights complete with accessories. For the majority of the time James used just one light, mainly to act as a fill-in with the natural light. This in turn helped to make his portraits pop. One of the greatest advantages of the AEOS lighting systems is their flexibility on location and rechargeable battery system (the standard 95w/h battery is sold separately but recommended with the AEOS system to get the most of them).This battery can last for over three hours full pelt on the continuous setting. The AEOS lights are also easy to transport and come in an easy-grip handle, padded, protective bag that can be kept upright making it easy to access when out and about.

There are two ways you can shoot with the AEOS lights, either on a continuous setting where the LED lights are on all the time, or using the High Speed Sync Flash setting which has a zero-second recycle time. This means you can snap away fast and not miss a beat. On this shoot James used a mixture of both features in different scenarios. It’s worth noting the flash has more power than the continuous LED lights, which in brighter conditions was preferable.

To ensure we had the best chance of being undisturbed in the skatepark, James organised the shoot during term time and in school hours. That way we were guaranteed to not get too many onlookers, and we also didn’t want to get in the way of the young skaters who flock to the park before and after school. Researching your location is vital before you undertake this type of shoot but also be respectful of any public space that is available for others to use.

Warm temperature

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December 07, 2019