October 31, 2021
Lights, camera, spooky portrait action! Jessica Miller goes along to the biggest UK Shooters photography meet-up of the year: Halloween.
Last weekend, UK Shooters held their largest event of the year: the Halloween portraits event. A first for both myself and AP, I went along to see what a Shooters meet-up is all about.
Founded by Sony European Imaging Ambassador Mike Will in 2016, UK Shooters began as a small community on social media, hosting unique meet-ups and creative events around the UK. Now five years on, UK Shooters have grown into a popular community and a recognisable brand with photographers, videographers and content creators.
World Shooters was created earlier this year to extend this community for a global audience and now acts as the head for all Shooter communities, formed by Mike and his team worldwide.
Halloween continues to be one of the largest and most popular meetups in the UK Shooters events calendar. Over 200 attending photographers along with over 20 models and 8 make-up artists made this year’s event the largest Halloween event since the very first UK Shooters meet-up. Through mingling with other attendees I found there was both a mixture of newcomers and seasoned ‘Shooters’, everyone was welcoming and enjoyable to socialise with.
Hosted at Bunker 51 in London and sponsored by Sony Alpha and NanLite Global, attendees were in for a spooky Halloween portrait treat. The models were available within the event space to test our portraiture skills. Like attending one of these events, another thing that was completely new for me was taking portraits. So I was out of my comfort zone from the get-go.
Along with that, the location was also a testing dark space, but with thanks to NanLite’s set up and allowing photographers to use their Pavo Tubes, we were able to take control of the lighting – and the colouring. The models were great and regularly switched around to different parts of the venue, they made use of props (pumpkins of course), and atmospheric smoke.
My favourite set up was with Andrea, pictured above (@andrea_bluefitness, hair by @beatshairsalon, make-up by Emily Hillier @FatCanvasStudio). To get these shots side lighting, provided by NanLite, helped me capture and emphasise his character and facial features as the Joker. For post-production I used Photoshop, where I darkened the background and brought out highlights in the models face.
For Mike, the building of a community was one of the most important reasons for founding UK Shooters and this is carried through into the organisation and running of the event.
He said, “I’m really happy with how the Halloween event went, everyone had an awesome time and the feedback has been amazing. The photos on the #uks_halloween21 are all looking insanely good, everyone’s posting such great content so obviously that’s a big part of it!”
Photo: Jessica Miller, Model: Austeja Kasakaityte @austejaksk, MUA: Victoria Goodchild @mua_euphoria_victoria
The event was a fantastic opportunity to try something new, meet like-minded people and network with others; including other female photographers and creators I probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to cross paths with elsewhere. Being able to engage with models and make-up artists has also opened up opportunities for future collaborations in the industry. I would 100% recommend and would go again – particularly if there is a genre you’d like to try but haven’t had the opportunity to do before.
With thanks to UK Shooters, the models and MUA’s:
What to take to a photography meet
- Camera! Obviously. You could always use your phone. I used my trusty Pentax K-70, there was also opportunity at this meet to try out some of the Sony Alpha gear.
- Lenses – I stuck with my 18-135mm lens for this meet. Having not been to one before, I didn’t know what to expect, so I wanted to give myself enough range for different situations.
- Accessories – For events like this, I could see a gimbal like the DJI OM 5 coming in handy if you are a content creator or like shooting phone videos. Filters also! See more here.
- Tripod – I love long exposures, and I did take a tripod along with me – luckily my camera bag has a tripod strap otherwise that would’ve been difficult to carry across London.
- Spare SD cards – You’re there for a few hours and will probably end up taking a lot of photos. Be sure to clear your SD cards and take spares just in case.
- Props – pumpkins, costume jewellery, masks, mirrors to name a few. If your meet-up has a theme think around what would work around that!
- Lighting – If you have your own lighting, especially if its portable, then this is a great extra to have in your bag! Even the torch on your phone could come in handy.
- Portable phone charger – a must if you’re out all day and into the evening, and if you use your phone a lot!