Emily (Stranger #77/100), London Soho

Street Portait

Emily and Joe were in town from Cambridge (boooo! πŸ™‚ to celebrate his birthday, and were kind enough to interrupt a peaceful stroll around Soho and Carnaby Street to shoot a quick portrait on a nicely overcast Saturday afternoon.

It was Emily’s hat that first caught my attention; I’d been gazing wistfully at a large, looped iron gateway squeezed between the shops, and thought the various circles might work nicely together, in a smooth wash of blue.

The cloudy skies were providing a vast, pleasingly pale glow, yet I thought an extra pop of light might add some drama. I’m experimenting with bouncing flash to be more mobile. The big soft box is all well and good at home, but on trips abroad it’s not feasible! Therefore, whlist Emily held a small gold striped reflector, I gave Joe a flash (ETTL -1 comp) and a Lastolite Triflector to hold above it in a Rembrandt-esque 45* position to camera left, just a couple of metres from Emily. The result is pretty cool I think – just enough extra light to shape the scene and add some zap to go with the nicely even ambient.

I’ve got a little Photoshop to admit too. Emily took a few shots to decide whether she’d smile or go the Vogue route, deciding eventually on the more serious look. This frame, kind of caught her between smile and neutral, and was kind of the most intriguing somehow. It originally missed her shoulder, whilst having her higher in the frame than others… so I shifted her left and cut in the outside edge of the shoulder from another, then built an extra three or four inches of it using cloned sections, blended with the patch tool and clone stamp – all good fun, with a little blending in of some extra background! I love the photojournalistic roots of the 100 Strangers, but that’s not me so much. πŸ™‚

Usually I’d ask a subject to remove their bag, but the leather strap here kind of blended with the warmth of Emily’s hair and provided a little extra compliment to the hazier blues, so we kept it in.

Thanks Emily and Joe for being such good sports and taking part in my project; hope you had an incredible time in town!

This is portrait #77 of my 100 Strangers Project – check out the group page and get involved.

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