Sunday, 1 March 2009

A European Location - in Sydney.

“I want to shoot on location but I want it to look European.”

No that is not an exasperating request it’s an inspiring one and it’s the sort of request I love to hear. And it’s not really surprising to hear it. I was often asked if my black and white shots from the 80s had been taken in Europe. At the time I found it an odd question as those shots had been taken at landmark Sydney locations; but that said much of the identifiable ‘Sydney’ bits had been removed by careful choice of framing and I suppose I had a something
of an informed(?) European take on photography.

1980 Black & White Fashion with a European feel. Sydney Australia

But finding the right spot can be tricky. On this occasion the client gave me a bit of a lead, however I thought it sounded a bit too Sydney and a bit too clean for Europe. I decided to take the camera out and have a look around. Using the suggested location as a conceptual starting point and my own perception of what might lend itself to being European, I made a series of shots I thought would fit the bill.

European looking Stairs, Location Test Sydney Australia

And its not just the location; it’s also the light! I love Sydney light but it can be oh-so-strong and unforgiving. I remember the French Fashion Photographer Denis Jobron remarking to me one day that the light in Sydney was like being in a microwave oven! So the European/Sydney location needs something like a Euro lighting feel as well.

Location Tests, European look, Sydney Australia

Checking light and location is all about good preparation so things go smoothly on the day. The more complex the shoot, the more preparation that may be required. What will work in post-production can also be addressed before the shoot as well. Last December I finally managed to put together a Night Fashion shoot, an Editorial Submission. It was based around an idea I had been working on for quite a while, the big problem was just how to pull it off?

Black & White Bike, Euro Location Sydney Australia

Initially I simply looked out for the shots I wanted and made location pictures on my point-and-shoot. But I also needed to know how the camera and lenses would work with a real model in situ on location. My friend Julia was kind enough to stand in(twice) for these location tests which were invaluable. A new lens was found to be required to allow for shooting at the best ISO and the all important mix of lighting was tested and put through its paces.

Night Fashion Location Sydney Australia

The preparation paid off and on the night of the shoot the team and I were able to put 10 shots in the can in just three hours, but more about that shoot when I am able to show it online.

Sydney as a European location? Why not!


  1. if the light in sydney is harsh, maybe you need to be there at the start or end of the day or maybe even an overcast day? In Europe the sun is often lower in the sky.

    1. Early and late always the best Brian. No doubt about it.