Emer Shearer

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The majority of my work is on site, in fact looking at the last year of work its all been on site. Sometimes its at client offices, sometimes its in City Hall in Belfast and sometimes it’s actually outside and properly on site. In this case, working with Emer Shearer who is a fantastic Harpist it was on the actual streets of Belfast.


Many people know I am a Belfast Photographer but always presume I shoot weddings and baby portraits. While I do delve in to family work occasionally, for the most part its corporate and commercial work. This shoot would fall in to the commercial side of my work.


Emer specifically said she wanted some proper street based photos. She wanted some of the images to clearly reflect the fact she’s based in Belfast but also some other imagery that is a little more ambiguous. We arranged to meet outside the famous Duke of York bar, right in the centre of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. This as a starter location was perfect. We would have an iconic background to shoot against and also were protected against most of the weather.


I chose to keep my lighting setup really really simple for this shoot. I would have two remote SB-900s on stands with diffuser cups fitted and they would be commanded from an on camera SB-700 with the flash power turned off. Usually I connect everything up with some Phottix transmitters but as everything would be very close together for this shoot I opted for the CLS system.


Every direction I looked from the first site Emer picked revealed more and more interesting angles but after a while I felt we needed to change, the images were getting very similar after a while. I had an idea to go to another street a couple over behind the Duke of York so we packed up and headed off to the next location. As is usually the way with on site work we found a perfect location on the way to the next location!


Emer had her harp packed up and she put her leather jacket back on at this point. I was walking just ahead and when I turned round I had to stop and set up right where we were. We hadn’t even made it one street over but everything was perfect. The new location was a very narrow street and was much darker than before. For this location I asked Emer to walk towards me several times as well as pose against a cool graffiti wall. The CLS system for the most part worked well. Some times the IR ports on the remote lights didn’t pick up the light from the commander as they were pointing the wrong way. Yes its easy to fix but why Nikon can’t put an IR port on each side blows my mind.


Lastly Emer asked to get some pictures outside St. Anne’s Cathedral. All the images so far weren’t typically┬átraditional so we had to tick that box before the shoot ended. It was pretty tricky to shoot against the Cathedral as it was so bright but after balancing the ambient and strobe light I got the sweet spot.



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