I did it! Tim Simps on
Here, Manchester-based portrait and wedding photographer Tim Simpson shares his experiences of setting up his own studio. Tim offers tuition in a wide range of photographic techniques, including studio photography, at £150 per day. You can see more of Tim’s images online at www.wild-heart.photography “In our relatively small studio I have had to make every surface work. There are three-metre backgrounds on each end wall, with vintage wallpaper on one of them, while a third wall is mid-grey – this ‘magic’ background can be lit with gels to be any colour at all. The fourth ‘wall’ is actually windows, as it’s nice to have the option of shooting naturally-lit portraits indoors. I’ve found, though, that it has to be quite sunny (in Manchester!) for this to work, so I often combine natural light and flash to get a natural-looking portrait – and the less flash, the better, for me.
“If I were buying my equipment again I wouldn’t buy such powerful flash heads. It’s a struggle to get 500w heads on a low enough power to get a lovely shallow depth of field (f/1.8-2.8) when you’re limited by a 1/250 flash sync speed. I would also spend extra money on a good flash trigger. My Pocket Wizards are great; they work every single time, plus they enable me to use high-speed sync.
“If I had any advice, it would be to develop a style of your own. This may happen over time – it did with me. I looked at my images one day and realised that all my fairly recent photos had a similar feel to them. In my area there is nobody doing quirky, high-quality portraits, so that’s the path I’m going down and it seems to be working.”