London Urban Footwear Photography

I never used to see myself as a London urban footwear photography kind of guy.

You know, I generally just stick to shooting London and Londoners. But then I do love learning new skills as well so why not!?

So last month Adidas contacted me to shoot their latest trainers, the Ultra Boost, and it got my interest going, especially since they needed London's graffiti in the background and that's my specialist area.

You may remember, back in 2015 I had created a series of sports cinemagraphs for Adidas to coincide with the 2015 Rugby World Cup and to be used across their social media channels.

The main reason they got in touch again was of course the fact they’d worked with me before.

The second reason is that one of my strengths is photographing graffiti and street art in London. That’s actually what got me started with photography back in the mid 2000’s. And guess what!? It happens to be exactly the sort of background they were after, well lucky me!

So there I am armed with my Sony A7RII and two pairs of Ultra Boost and London as my canvas, as my backdrop.

I chose the A7RII over my Olympus Pen F for its far greater dynamic range, high resolution and a slightly superior ability to focus. Generally it’s the A7RII for client jobs, the Pen F as my everyday, smaller camera.

So, back to the job itself, the obvious destination immediately comes to mind: East London, more specifically Shoreditch between Old Street and Brick Lane, a walk I have done more times than I can remember.

When? On a Sunday morning when the rest of London is still asleep or curing that hangover and the streets are mine (mwahaha...evil laugh and all that...).

I’ve been hanging around Shoreditch since 1999, at the time the place was way different and pretty dodgy. We used to go to illegal techno parties in derelict warehouse off Shoreditch High Street! Things have indeed changed, but graffiti has always been there and still is today.

The biggest challenge I found shooting this series was the attention to detail.

Since the shoes are often photographed on the floor, you have to really pay attention to what’s around: cigarette butts, chewing gum, etc… It sounds obvious and silly but it is too easy to get carried away only focusing on the shoe and not looking at what’s around.

Another challenge is keeping the shoes clean from positioning them time after time on the floor. It helps to carry wet wipes.

Finally it’s useful if not necessary to have sheets of paper to fill the shoes and give them a good shape, but also to crumple and position under the shoe to lift it and give it a more dynamic position.

Otherwise I thought it was a very enjoyable shoot and I discovered I really enjoy footwear product photography.

So much so, I just bought a product photography booth and studio lights to explore that area even further.

Here’s a sample of what I shot that day, more can be seen in the dedicated page!


I hope you enjoyed this sample series, do check the rest of course by following this link:

Footwear Product Photography

And of course leave a comment!