How I shot this – Upside-down room

upside down portrait at Oddfellows, Chester

I first met Becky and Rob at the wedding of their friends Jane and Graeme at Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool. This photo was taken at Oddfellows in Chester City centre. It’s a pretty quirky place and has an Alice in Wonderland theme running through it. It’s definitely a place that opens up all sorts of creative opportunities for photography.

I get asked a lot about my photographs and how they were achieved. Quite often people presume that I use photoshop, but actually I love to create things in-camera, it’s a process which I enjoy as it combines the odd pairing of science and art.

oddfellows chester

About this photo

Within the hotel there’s a room on the ground floor with the table and chairs and everything else you can see above stuck to the ceiling. In the image Becky and Rob are the right way up, stood on chairs. It’s as simple as that. Well, not quite…

Technical stuff

I had to approach this image upside down. So I had to work out how hight the camera should be off the floor as if I were standing on the ceiling. To make things more difficult for myself I also held the camera upside down. It just helped me to visualize the scene a little better. I used a flash with a small brolly to light the scene. But I didn’t use a light stand as I would usually have done as I wanted the lighting to look realistic and trick the eye into thinking Becky and Rob were suspended from the ceiling. So the light was set up on the floor, pointing upwards and slightly towards the couple (see the shadow from the lamp on the left). The light was modified with a small shoot-through umbrella.

In post-processing I cloned out 2 halogen spotlights from the ceiling (you can see these in the picture on the right above). If you look closely at the woodwork on the chairs you’ll see the spill of light from them. Finally I straightened up the converging verticals, removed a couple of window latches and darkened the scene outside as there was some signage on the shops across the street.

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