Gangsters at Teneriffe - Film Noir, Woolstore Style

The boyz at Creative Photo Workshops arranged a funky Film Noir shoot in Brisbane last night, which provided a dramatic contrast between the wedding workshop earlier in the day. From romantic, intimate couple shots, we moved into the dark and moody world of gangsters, guns and scorned lovers.

The historic Mactaggarts Woolstore at Teneriffe provided the perfect scene for a multitude of sins and crimes - and that was just Shelton's singing!

Even though it was a "fun shoot", there was oodles to learn. Like how to effectively use available light such as down lights and street lights. I've walked past this particular pole in the complex hundreds of times, but I'd never have envisaged sticking a guy with a trenchcoat, fedora and gun under it, and shooting in monochrome with the contrast bumped up (in camera). No flash, just an average shutter speed and a bit of attitude.

The boys bought a portable smoke machine, which is one of the most fun props on the planet. They also bought an arsenal of lights which provided extra contrast and awesome rim lighting opportunities - all techniques that I see could be used in other shooting situations. Of course, our awesome models, Rob, Emma and Felicity made the shots, by keeping in costume and character, during what must have been some long and uncomfortable poses.

As I'd learnt in the wedding workshop, you can create some pretty awesome images that do not depend on having an awesome location. The shot below was taken in a courtyard I walk past every day, but with some contrast and shadow, smoke and strong characters, you'd never know where it was being shot.

The Film Noir workshop gave me yet more things to think about in terms of photography. I loved it, because I love black and white photos, but it also provided yet another lesson about the importance of light, and posing people for the light. Ultimately, it was also a really fun night - and that's what it's all about.

My mind is on overload with the possibilities of what I'm learning at the moment. In the mean time, I'm off to buy a smoke machine.


  1. Great post Melanie, summed up the evening really well. Was nice to meet you and look forward to our next shoot together. Great shots too by the way.

  2. Thanks Allan - it was a great night eh! Look forward to catching up again with the cameras soon.


  3. Great blog Mel, totally awesome night and I even learned something that i can use next time i get my camera out. Great to meet you =)

  4. Thanks Emma! Was such a fun night. Great to meet you too :)

  5. You have some great work there, Mel! Well done. And thank you for the comment about my singing! Hmmmm..You forgot to mention my awful Humphrey Bogart impersonations!

    Thank you for attending our events, Mel. It is always lovely to have you along.

  6. Thanks Shelton. It was a fantastic shoot! I really do love your singing, and your workshops. Looking forward to the next time you're in Brisvegas :)