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Vibes of the seventies: shooting with Tony Willis

Tony is a talented photographer, Affinity convert and founder of SOTG Studio. In this article, we take a look behind the scenes of his ‘vibes of the seventies’ shoot…

In the past, Tony has expressed his appreciation for Affinity in his videos, showing how he edits portraits on iPad using a combination of Lightroom and Affinity.

We asked Tony to give us a glimpse behind the scenes of a recent photoshoot, showing us everything from his vision for the shoot to the final edit. Tony talks us through his inspiration, the shoot itself and how he edits professional shoots on the go with Affinity Photo for iPad. Here’s the result.

The Photoshoot

The task

We commissioned Tony to host a shoot that encapsulated his photography style whilst showing us his editing process in Affinity Photo for iPad. His vision was a seventies-esque styled shoot with a nod to master artists like Rembrandt and Thomas Eakin.

Planning for the shoot started weeks beforehand whilst securing a location and hiring a model for the day. A stylist was set the task to scour thrift stores for outfits that coincided with Tony’s chosen aesthetic for the project. Clearly, the process of a shoot is so much more than just rocking up to a location with a camera. Through the power of video, here Tony talks us through the process he goes through to get that final image.

Tony Willis - The process of the shoot

The equipment

This project was shot on the canon 5d Mark IV. 30.4mp Full frame camera cmos sensor. The behind the scenes camera was a Gh5 and he captured the footage in log and colour graded the final films with as much attention to detail that he had for his final photographic image.

Other equipment used included:

  • Canon 24-70mm as the primary lens
  • A set of Cactus RF60x Wireless Flash with gels
  • Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver
  • Aputure Light Storm LS 1s with battery kit
  • Lastolite Skyrapid 2x2m (used to diffuse light)
  • Lastolite Frame Skylite Large 78x78
  • Impact C-Stands x6
  • Westcott Reflector
  • 640 WS Einstein Flash Unit from Paul C buff
  • Octabox
  • iPhone Xs Max for notes and art board
  • UE Mega Boom for music

The model

The model used for this shoot was Rubi Pena.

The team

  • Tony Willis - Photographer
  • Elijah Whatley - Designer
  • Celeste Cosme - Creative Writer
  • Bryant “B. Lamar” Hamilton - Music Producer
  • Kurt Jones - Crew Member
  • David Keane - BTS Camera Man
  • Nigera Ware - Stylist

The location

The shoot took place at the Art factory studios in Paterson, New Jersey which is based in nineteenth century industrial buildings providing an effortlessly cool backdrop.

Setting the scene

Tony wanted to have a set that was filled with energy. The goal was to have a 70s themed photoshoot. He wanted bright colours, strong patterns, and a dramatic mood. Tony didn’t know too much about the 1970s since he was born in the 80s. However, one thing he does know about the decade is that it celebrated big hair, big cars and big attitudes. He wanted to capture the effervescent vibe of the times. Many of the more visually exciting outfits and patterned backgrounds gave him great images, but, as he mentioned in his previous article, he’s always drawn to the darker, moodier pieces.

“Something about sharp shadows that emphasize the fact that not all is visible and something is always hidden is very appealing to me when constructing a photo.”

Tony Willis

The edit

Once the shoot has wrapped it’s back to the studio for editing. Tony talks us through how he approaches editing on the iPad and how a job that’s usually quite lonely and isolated has now changed thanks to Affinity Photo for iPad.

Tony Willis - Editing in Affinity Photo for iPad

You can hear more from Tony in his article here where he discusses the journey to becoming a professional photographer and provides some advice along the way.

Alternatively, you can view more of Tony’s work and find out more about the face behind the camera by visting the SOTG Studio website ( and Tony’s Instagram @sotgstudio.

Artist relations

Jess is part of our artist relations team. When given the luxury of peace from an excitable toddler Jess loves nothing more than curling up with a trashy novel, a family-sized chocolate bar and a G&T.

Credits & Footnotes

All images and footage copyright of Tony Willis.