Masquerade at the Rivoli ballroom

I love to shoot all kinds of work it helps me to keep on top of more of the features and functions of cameras, lenses and Speedlites. So the chance to shoot in a 1950s style ballroom with a number of models, make-up artists, stylists and designers was an easy one to persuade myself to join. Thanks to the great bunch of folks at London Speedlite Scene, the Rivoli ballroom in south-east London was booked for us to shoot in. To help all those involved the theme was set as a masquerade ball, think elegance and masquerade masks and you won’t go far wrong.

Fortunately we had the run of the place, unfortunately I was travelling on the tube and so was carrying a “lightweight” kit including lightstands and cameras with me. Some details of the equipment I used is listed at the end of this post.

I had a few ideas in my mind, one of which was making the Speedlite 600EX-RT work as a spotlight, zooming the head to 200mm and putting the flash up high aimed down at the floor. I especially selected the old Elinchrom light stand as it was the tallest stand I had that would fit in the light stand bag I was carrying with me on the tube. For a lot of the day the combination of soft light from the Chimera softbox and hard light from bare flash worked well for me, in some pictures I used a large parabolic umbrella to provide the fill light or accent light to counter the hard “spotlight” effect of the 200mm zoomed flash head.

Big thanks to thefolks that made these pictures possible; Darren Simon, Jessica Forth, Tanaka, Krystal Johns, Aofie O’Brien, Zeva Dee, Dionne Sakpwanya, Crystal Edwards, Natalie Eldanasory, Sue-Ellen Thompson

London Speedite Scene

What a great bunch of people; photographers, models, stylists, make-up artists and designers it was a pleasure to be part of this. Special thanks to Nate Thompson for putting this altogether with help from a cast of many. The groups has several more shoots on their event calendar and i’m planning to join some more when my schedule allows.

Go visit the LSS website for more information

Equipment used (travelling light)

  • EOS 5D Mark III
  • 2 x Speedlite 600EX-RT
  • Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT
  • EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
  • EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
  • EF 14mm f/2.8L USM – for the whole ballroom shot up top
  • EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
  • Old 3-section Elinchrom stand that goes over 2.5m high
  • Manfrotto nano stand
  • Chimera softbox – 50 x 40cm
  • Photoflex LiteDome extra small
  • 64 inch silver parabolic umbrella
  • Honl honeycomb grids 1/4 and 1/8 sizes
  • Red and blue gels

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag