Allyson Martin

Lighting for Portraits on location

The Pandemic certainly impacted my work, although I have always worked across many genre, since 2010 the majority of my work has been portrait based, with personal projects such as the ‘In the American West Midlands’ and ‘A day at the Races’ the personal work then informs the commercial commissions with Brand campaigns such as Marsh & Parsons as well as editorial portraits.

Not able to work in studios and location while lockdowns were in place, was OK as somehow product and food projects came in and I enjoyed the opportunity to work with subjects that did not have limited time or were reluctant to be in front of a camera, able to work from home with a small still life studio was a new approach that I enjoyed, but I did miss my portrait work.

Now the situation has changed and work is getting back to normal I am able to return to my portrait based work, a new direction with some of what I call environmental portraits has come about with a new approach to lighting, as I have invested in new technology that allows much lighter and more nimble rigging, my old lighting was either mains run or had heavy batteries but now as new technology allows, for the same output I have the ability to set up and break a set faster and have a ‘different’ light quality.

I shall still continue to use mains studio lights and when needed I shall employ the heavy location packs for larger production, but for more ‘editorial’ lifestyle portraits I now have a third option and it was lockdown that gave me the opportunity to acquire and test the new kit. I have now used it on a few projects, some still under embargo, but here is an environmental portrait of Allyson Martin a very talented florist, photographed at her Bloomery studio in the Cotswolds. Shot with the new lighter light kit. The image would possibly have been the same with my previous lighting rig, I would have certainly used the same camera with shift / tilt lens, but it would have taken an extra hour to set up and my back and legs would certainly ached more!

I have now added more continuous lights to my basic kit as the clients want the option to shoot video as well as stills has increased - and as they