City Centre Street Portraits

City Centre Street Portraits

Inspiring students in urban environments

“We might have something a little different for you coming up.” said the client.

I’ve been shooting for ForMission College, a higher education organisation in the UK, for about 3 years now and a lot of that was headshots for their faculty, capturing their facilities, and documenting the learning experience in their classrooms. It’s been good work but I’m always ready to try something new with a client.

They wanted the photoshoot to emphasise how their course equipped students for the practicalities of life; not just the theoretical but application in the real world. So we decided the location would be Birmingham city centre, just outside one of their main campuses.

I was told their aim was “to educate, envision, inspire and form practitioners and leaders.” So my goal was to “show engagement, conversations, reflective moments, joy and laughter.” These photos would supplement their more realistic documentary shots by illustrating the values and mindsets that ForMission instills in their students.

We would be working with BA & MA students from the college who had agreed to be in the shoot. None of them had previous modelling experience but were happy to help out. There would also be a director from the college who would be able to give more specific art direction & act as a tour guide as I had only visited Birmingham once or twice before.

For me there were two main highlights of the day. The first was getting to wander through a large city and discover amazing little nooks & crannies to shoot in. Walking in a large city can feel really crowded but if you are able to take the time, and with a little local knowledge, it’s possible to find a huge number of locations that all give their own unique feel to a shoot.

The second highlight was working with the students. When working with models you can have a lot of fun as you both know what you’re doing. However, there is a certain unpredictability in working with subjects that have no photographic background which means you have to draw something out of them in a way you wouldn’t always think to with a model. This can lead to a really fun shooting experience when you have subjects who are excited to be there and I think that energy really comes through in these photos.

Thanks again to ForMission College; it’s always a pleasure.