“Joanna says – I’m not the only one
Joanna says – I’ll never be the one
But when she smiles there’s something in her eyes
That tells me I’m not like the other guys”
Per Gessle  ‘Joanna Says’

Last Friday I was invited to try out a brand new photography studio that has just opened in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester.  Millwood Photography Studio has risen from the remnants of a Victorian factory that has been very well restored and furnished with the latest photography equipment.  There is enough Bowens studio lighting to keep four or five groups of photographers occupied at the same time if required (all firing on separate wireless channels).

Millwood Photography Studio is built on two floors and every inch of space can be utilised for photo opportunities.  Downstairs, the main feature is ‘the white room’ featuring a large expanse of white wall and infinity cove.  Walk through a door into the next room and you can choose between a barnyard set complete with the obligatory haystacks; a Mediterranean-style house set and a washroom set.

Upstairs, there is a bedroom set suitable for boudoir / glamour photography; a living room set with leather sofa and chairs;  a stone feature wall and colorama paper backdrops.  Lots to work with and well laid out.

The management team of Jamie, Paul and Jen were all very hospitable and helpful.  They are on hand to help if needed, or happy to let the experienced photographer get on with doing his / her own thing.  I am quite at home in a studio, so had no trouble setting up and metering lights.  When I asked if I could have a honeycomb grid and barn-doors Paul got me one right away.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Millwood and I very much hope to see the studio thrive.  I definitely intend to use it again.

My model for the evening was Joanna, a Polish model with an excellent ‘look’ for fashion and beauty.  She was a real pleasure to photograph and I had a lot of fun working with her.  My favourite shots were taken upstairs, using the stone feature wall as the backdrop.  I had ideas in my head of the kind of look that I wanted for the photographs, based loosely on Sue Bryce – a photographer that I greatly admire.   If you’ve seen any of Sue’s training videos you won’t be surprised that I found myself constantly directing Joanna to bring her “chin forward and down”, to “relax her mouth” and to “smile with her eyes”.

Sue Bryce likes to work with natural light, but this was a Friday night in Manchester, so the shots were lit with three Bowens studio flash units:
Main light – large softbox
Back light – small softbox placed behind the model in line with the main light
Hair light – reflector dish with honeycomb grid on a boom above the model

I wanted the background to be out of focus so my camera settings were:
aperture – f/4.5
shutter speed – 1/125
ISO – 100

Here are a few of my favourite photographs of Joanna.  I am still working on some others, so may post those later.  Click to enlarge and feel free to comment.

Lastly, I would like to give thanks again to Jamie, Paul and Jen at Millwood Photography Studio for a fantastic night of photography and I hope to see you again soon.

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio

Joanna at Millwood Photography Studio


6 Responses so far.

  1. Phil Jones says:

    Hi Paul.
    Great set of photos. It looks like you had a great time & I’m only sorry I couldn’t make it. What’s also good is that you’ve explained your lighting set up & camera settings. Something that I’m still getting to grips with!
    Btw, hope you had a great birthday on Sunday!

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks for commenting, Phil. See you soon. 🙂

  3. Mel Barnes says:

    Hi Paul
    Great shots of Joanna. enjoyed the shoot tremendously and came away with some great shots of all three models. The studio was superb to work in, and the white room gave me the kind of shots that I’d always wanted to take. Many thanks for organising the shoot and passing on the advice from your vast experience.
    Cheers, Mel.

  4. Paul says:

    Thanks Mel. You’re very welcome. 🙂

  5. Philip Howe says:

    Paul, love the lighting, you’ve given her a real sparkle on some of these. I like the black and white as well. It can be tricky what to do with hands as well. Really good shots, as always.

  6. Paul says:

    Thanks Philip. I appreciate your kind comments. 🙂

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