Halloween has come round fast again this year, so it was time to head out to Lan Kwai Fong (The party area of Central Hong Kong) to find some characters in the street to shoot portraits as has been a tradition for me to do now for a few years.
I used a simple setup of one light and a canvas background as can be seen in the Behind the Scenes photo below taken with a few of my friends whilst we were waiting for potential portrait subjects.
For the lighting I was using a single Profoto B1 Air, which I love because it's wireless light, perfect for outdoor with no cables tripping people up and high powered. I chose to use a Photek Softlighter II softbox because its a decent size (60") combined with being quite thin, so doesn't get in the way too much when shooting in this kind of environment. The backdrop I had handmade in the USA by a company called Studio Dynamics, high quality, non reflective canvas and very durable. My camera system was my trusty Phase One XF, with IQ180 back and 80mm Leaf Shutter lens. The leaf shutter lens is perfect for getting rid of all ambient light, helping to create the studio look with only flash light being captured.
I also use a model release app called 'Easy Release' on the iPad, which allows very quickly and easily for people to sign and record their email. This allows me freedom of useage of images, and also a record of peoples email address, so I can email them their portraits a few days later. I highly recommend this practice to save hassle and to ensure you give back the image, if people give you their time for a portrait, its the least you can do to send them a copy.
Whenever I do these kind of shoots I'm often drawn to the individuals that show lots of character, whether made up in costumes or not, and make sure to try and capture those people, as it can be a much stronger image in my eyes if I capture something really authentic in their expression, trying to unveil their true character.
This guy below is quite well known around Lan Kwai Fong, I'm not really sure what he does but I always see him there, and he's always the happiest guy on the block. He recognised me from before and hung around until I invited him for a portrait, great guy, full of character.
I really love it when people look away from camera too, as can be seen with this young child below and the couple who were from Korea.
There was a small group of friends passing by from Brazil, Germany and Mexico (I am pretty sure the first young lady is a full time professional model, based on her looks), so of course they wanted to jump in and share their national flags too.
The remaining portraits are from the rest of the night. I only stayed for around 3 hours, I am sure if I had been there late there would have been hundreds more characters, but sometimes at Halloween you need to pack away your gear and go for a few drinks with friends yourself ;-)
To see last years portraits please follow the link below:
I hope you have enjoyed these portraits, please check out our other galleries and the rest of the website.
F8 Photography specialises in portraiture, sports and video production work all over the world, as well as running bespoke photography training workshops in awesome locations around Asia and India. Gary spent his former years as a military photographer in the British Army, has photographed the Queen of England, President Obama of the United States and now even Elvira, mistress of the Dark!