I've got a corset and a whip, want to take my photo?

When your girlfriend say’s to you “I’ve got a corset and a whip, do you want to do a photo shoot?” It’s very hard to say “no”. We’re in the process of moving studios so I didn’t have all my lighting, backdrops, props etc so I had to use what I had – a speedlight, a softbox and stand and one reflector.

We cleared out the living room as it has a big, blank wall (after taking a picture down) and I set my camera up for the shoot. I used my Canon 5D mk II and my 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. As a side note, this lens is the cheapest lens I own but I absolutely love using it and would recommend anyone to pick one up.

I usually like to shoot portraits with at least 2 lights plus a reflector and a number of different backdrops so this was really minimal set up. It was really refreshing to shoot with such a simple set-up and both Wendy and I were happy with the finished images. Wendy was so happy with the photos she entered them in a competition about Body Positivity and won the weekly prize.

The winning image

What I realised is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to shoot portraits, all you need is an understanding of light. Of course this all makes sense as every wedding I shoot is a natural light portrait shoot!

If you want to improve your photography skills learn to work with the bare basics. If you can produce a good image with the basic gear imagine what you could achieve with the added extras.

I could pull off this shoot because I know the basics, I know my gear and knew all I had to get right was the lighting, the focusing and exposure. As I always say good gear won’t make a bad image good, but it will make a good image great.

Take Khadija Saye for example the extremely talented photographer who tragically died in the Grenfell Tower fire. She didn’t have a studio and she didn’t have masses of fancy equipment but what she did have was vision, a drive and a passion to create images that told a story. Her environment didn’t hamper her artistic vision – she learnt her craft and celebrated her culture which led to her work being shown at the 57th Venice Biennale photography exhibition.

Send me your photos taken with a minimal set-up.