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  • Writer's picture Tony Brown Photography

Shooting Portrait Photography of Nick Halls-Holmsen

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

A fascinating day, with a charismatic man.

When shooting portrait photography in London, you are always looking for those characters that pop on camera. Subjects that demand your attention, and etch themselves onto film without much coaxing at all. One such portrait was Nick Halls-Holmsen. A fascinating, charming & very photographic gentleman I had the pleasure of photographing recently.

Nick Halls-Holmsen is one of those characters that was born in the wrong era, but makes this one so much more colourful. He is magnetic, charismatic and was a very enjoyable individual to spend the day with. Nick contacted me for portrait photography as he was in the middle of launching some new ventures in London, and needed fresh imagery to add to his portfolio.

A man with many strings to his bow, Nick is engaged in a variety of different artistic pursuits. Most recently, he has been restoring a 1937, series one Morris eight. With a view to using her (Annie) for weddings, bespoke vintage London tours and film work. I actually had the privilege of checking Annie out recently, and she is a work of art! Nick has done an incredible job of restoring her back to her former glory, without losing any of that vintage charm.

One of Nick's other passions is antiques. And he is now fuelling his desires with an online brocante (flea market), his other latest venture. @nick.naks.brocante is a soon-to-be launched vintage web store, selling everything from antique French beds to oak tie presses. On our portrait photography day, I really got a feel for Nick's love of nostalgia while we walked around his London home. It was a treasure trove of 'nick nacks', antiquities and decoration created or styled by Nick himself.

At the beginning of our shoot, Nick gave me a tour of his home, and we assessed the different locations to photograph in. We had a wealth of options, and could've shot anywhere in his unique home. But in the end we plumped for the bathroom. Weird choice, I know, and not the biggest space to shoot in. But I instantly fell in love with the antique bird cage/bathroom cabinet he had in there. It was made of iron, so it was strong, yet so delicate in its construction. And it was full of old-school balms, creams and scents that gave off a very gentlemanly odour. This birdcage, paired with the dark green painted wall, and the architectural photo hanging above offered the perfect background to my subject - Nick Halls-Holmsen.

Choosing the bathroom to shoot in, meant I kinda shot myself in the foot, light-wise. Because the only light source in this space, was from a small roof-light. And it did not provide nearly enough light to illuminate Nick. And so I supplemented it, by adding some flash from the left of the camera. This offered us the feel of natural light, even though we were using the flash. And I believe the finished portrait photography was a wonderful representation of this dapper gentleman, in his extraordinary London home.

Like many of us, the pandemic hit Nick pretty hard. His regular job is venue manager at Childerley Hall in Cambridge, a beautiful 19th century Long Barn that hosts events and weddings for up to 350 people. However, of course, this venue has been out of action for some time. But this hasn't dampened Nick's enthusiasm for life, and for work. And so I trust that his latest ventures will be a huge success, and I look forward to photographing him more in the future!

If you, or your company is looking for portrait photography in London, then please feel free to get in touch via my contact page. It would be a pleasure to hear your ideas.


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