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  • Writer's pictureGareth Partington

How to create a fashion photo shoot in the local pub

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

A few years ago I was asked to work with Victory Merchants to create a photo shoot for their new range of designs. The brief was to shoot the clothing on models in a quirky pub in the Jewellery Quarter Birmingham, namely The Villa Rose Tavern.

We arrived nice and early on a Sunday morning and was lucky enough to be given access to the pub before it opened, whilst the bar staff prepared for day ahead. I went about trying to find the best locations to set up and light. One thing I learned a long time ago is that you actually don’t need that much space to photograph models and you need to make the most of the environment you are given, a well placed window or wall can really change how the location looks.

Within the pub there was a phone box, wing backed chairs, stained glass windows and a nice courtyard, these all jumped out as places to try out. I was quite spoilt but conscious of the time ticking down as the bar would soon be opening to the public.

The Villa Rose Tavern is a fantastic location as it has some great features inside and I really wanted to use these as much as I could in the photo shoot. The location really suited the company’s style/ brand and the guys of Victory Merchants did really well in picking the location.

There wasn’t much light when we first started so the trusty Nikon SB800 speed light came out for some Strobist action (lighting off camera) and the light was diffused through my Westcott Orb. (for all you photography geeks out there)

As the models were having their hair done and make up applied, I stuck my camera on a tripod and using the self timer experimented with the positioned of the light and exposure as I darted in front to act as a make shift model. Having an assistant really would have been helpful at this point but sometimes you just have to improvise until someone becomes available and luckily Kirpal Nobel wasn’t too long in getting ready for the shoot.


The male Model was Sean Southall who is also one of the owners of Victory Merchants and happily stepped up to take the place of the much needed male model.


I loved this stained glass window and we did get a few shots in front of it but thought I’d show you the cushions instead of the models for this photo.

This was a really fun photo shoot and as we were out in the courtyard an idea came to mind of using the sign for the name of the pub as a place to put the Victory Merchants logo. So a bit of clever positioning of the models and some Photoshop magic we created a nice advertisement for the company.


So this weeks post shows that even in a slightly unconventional location you can create some great shots. Let me know the strangest places you have had to create a photo shoot as I’d love to see your work.

I hope you like this short post and if you are a designer, make up artist or model and would like to collaborate then drop me an email or give me a call, I’d love to set up and create future collaborations with fellow creative folk.

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