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Charlotte Cottam Shoot

Charlotte Cottam Shoot

So I thought I’d start my blog off discussing one of my most inspiring shoots recently with Charlotte Cottam. Prior to this shoot I had never met Charlotte before, she posted on a facebook group looking for a photographer to help her out with her university project on mental health and the brain. With the subject close to my heart and the fascinating mood board I dropped her a message and we arranged our shoot.


0.6 second  f16

The Shoot

Before this shoot I was a little anxious, I had just started a temp job 9-5 on top of editing every night for an important deadline. I was pretty exhausted by the time the shoot came around. The other model and makeup artist had cancelled right before leaving Charlotte no time to make new arrangements. I had also never used this technique before, all I had was the little research I had time to do and my knowledge of photography in general. However, as soon as I took that first picture magic happened, Charlotte was a natural in front of the camera and the years of learning about light gave us beautiful images. Throughout the shoot Charlotte and I bounced off each other, with ideas and inspiration pouring out of us. We went around Manchester City Centre stopping at China town, Northern Quarter and Piccadilly gardens water fountain.

1.6 second f20

Technical Side

Here is some basic information on achieving this kind of effect. For this I used a portable ring flash, I used the same ring flash to capture Sleeping Beauty. For the particular image you see at the top of the page I had a 1.6 second exposure time on f number 20. When using a flash and slow shutter speed you have the option of Front Curtain Flash (flash will go off at the start of the exposure) and Rear Curtain Flash (flash will go off at the end of the exposure). Now usually Rear Curtain Flash is the popular option, creating motion and the light would appear behind the subject. However, for my piece as I was looking at mental health and the brain, I wanted the light to appear over the subject “hiding” Charlotte amongst the light. So when trying this technique you need to think carefully exactly what you are trying to achieve, do you want a cool action shot of a car with the lights trailing behind? Then you would go for Rear Curtain Flash. Or, like myself, do you want the model to be surround by the lights? Then Front Curtain Flash is the way forward!

1.6 second f20

Overall I’m so happy I stepped out of my box and tried something new, I love experimenting but its hard finding the time. This shoot made me realise that I need to actually make the time for shoots like this. This has given me some inspiration for and upcoming shoot which I can’t wait to share with you guys!

Katherine Elizabeth 

10/02/18 at 3:44PM

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