Thursday, 2 February 2012

Brett Harkness Winter Weddings Workshop

Back in December I booked myself onto Brett Harkness' Winter Weddings workshop to prepare myself for shooting in low light and bleak weather. I love sunshine and summer and using backlight in my photography, but I knew that winter wouldn't treat me as kindly! Having booked Emma and Gary's wedding for the 29th of December, I knew that attending a course like this one was just going to help boost my confidence in time for winter.

I'd never really got to grips with using off camera flash before, but having helped hold Katherine Ashdown's flash and Ezybox on multiple occasions whilst second shooting I was really curious to learn after seeing her results. As much as I love natural light, I realise that sometimes it's just not always an option. Also after seeing Brett's work I loved the way he has developed his style  to incorporate off camera flash in all situations.

Brett's course took place in Manchester, so I travelled up the night before so I'd be fresh for the day. We met first at his very impressive studio where he talked us through the basic use of off camera flash. then before heading out to our location to practice we did some quick shots in the studio.

Once working out the correct exposure we then experimented with changing the aperture and ISO to make some dramatic differences to the images. This was all done from the camera, and not by touching the flash output on the Ezybox at all.

When we reached Manchester, before using the nightclub location we headed outside into a alley way so Brett could demonstrate using off camera flash with the ambient light around and how you can control the effect. Which is what you can see below. the picture on the left creates a more 'night-time' effect whilst the other looks more like a 'day-time' shot. again all just by adjusting my aperture. 

When we headed in doors, we decided to use the basement for some pictures before using the nightclub's main areas. This basement was huge, and looked like tunnels! We used this area to demonstrate using flash against a wall, and how creating shadows can add some interest to the picture.

This course also opened my eyes to trying strange locations. The two pictures below were taken in the female toilets! I know in a club decor is usually amazing anyway but in any situation this could work. I guess I'll just have to trust that my clients really trust my vision!

I've included the one above to show you the set up we were using for the shot below. We had a light to the left of the model and also one flash on a stand set up behind her. Brett also found a creepy pig mask down there!!

Back upstairs in the club and we set up another flat wall and shadow shot, but this time I moved around the model to see the different effect the light was creating. It really opened my eyes to trying out different angles with exactly the same lighting to change the feel of a photograph.

To end the day Brett showed us how he set up for the first dance. The flash in the corner creates a star effect and just adds a pop to the picture.

Thank you to Brett and Kirstie for giving me the confidence to try this out. Below is a list of all of those involved.

Emma Nicole (model) 
J'nae fox (model)
Stefan Liviu (model)
Zan Atkinson (stylist)
Kate Edmondson Bridal (dresses)
The Circle Club (location)


  1. Gorgeous images Kerrie, looks like the course was really useful. I am still at the experimentation stage with my flash for sure but I am really keen to use it to its full extent and seeing the images you have created with just a basic set up has definitely empowered me!