Saturday 28 May 2016

One model, two sessions, two locations.

I had shot with Jemma in my early days.

It was in a house she had access to. I hadn't shot with many models at this time, so it was good that Jemma was easy to get on with and understood the style of picture I wanted. I found it very easy to plan for different rooms and moods.

The second session was in a local park. The first time I had shot in a public location. Had to keep an eye open for people walking across the back of shot. I was very self-conscious at first. But once I got started. It just didn't bother me.

For more of my work, go to my Facebook page.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Studio session. Part three

Nearly six months had passed since my last studio session. To mix it up a bit I choose a studio with a white background area but also a bar area that wasn't normally used for shoots. And I booked two models, one for the first two hours and another for the second.

This made me even more nervous, two new people, a new studio and four hours of shoot time.

I had planned ahead so I setup a set of two lights in each area to save setup time.

This was the first area. Both lights in medium sized softboxes for some subtle, soft lighting.

And the second area, the bar set. Both lights this time just had reflectors. I wanted directional light, for some atmosphere. A few of the shots used just one light. The one below is an example of this, directed straight at Chiara. 

For more of my work, go to my Facebook page.

Saturday 14 May 2016

Studio Session. Part Two.

I liked the results from my first studio session, and the challenge of working with the various sets available. I wanted to do it again. But it took some time to track down a location that was a little different.

An opportunity came up to work with Zara who had access to an old yoga school. Loads of different rooms to choose from. I would have to rely on my speedlights again. And think on my feet.

For more of my work, go to my Facebook page.

Friday 13 May 2016

Why pay a photographer?

The recent news about a couple suing their wedding photographer for what they deemed were poor photographs of their special day got me thinking.

The couple went to a student, who it seems had very little experience of wedding photography. Not necessarily a bad thing. But what other photography did they see to convince them of her skill? The pictures included in the news piece of the wedding were pretty poor.

Arriving late and taking selfies would suggest a lack of professionalism. Even if you aren't a "professional" photographer, a good work ethic and pride in yourself should be present.

I think the couple were equally to blame for the disappointment. I'm guessing they spoke to other photographers, and decided that employing an inexperienced person to save money was worth risking their wedding day pictures for. Why did they think other photographers charged more? More experience, backup equipment, insurance, it all costs.

I was speaking to someone who had just been to a wedding where a friend of the couple, "who had a good camera",  had been paid a couple of hundred pounds to take the pictures. Now it doesn't necessarily mean the result will be poor pictures if you don't pay much I know. But in this case the couple weren't completely happy. When I suggested a realistic price, I got; "why so much? You only have to burn the pictures to a CD and you're done".

And that is my point about photography now.
Everyone thinks it's easy, and having a good camera is all you need.
It is less valued, people and organisations are less inclined to pay for it. Or think it shouldn't cost much.

The world of the working photographer seems to have gotten harder. I know plenty will say it's no more difficult than it's always been. And that if you are good you will always find work. I guess that might be true. But I think it's harder if you are not established. And are trying the build a business.

A friend of mine is a journalist. Before the explosion in digital photography, when he needed pictures the magazine employed a photographer. Now he uses a point and shoot camera to take them himself. He does a pretty good job. The photographer he use to work with explained some of the technical side of what he was doing during shoots. But even he says that the pictures just aren't as good as they were. The magazine has decided they could cut costs and the reduced quality was satisfactory.

If you don't know much about the technical side of photography. Being able to review the picture immediately means you can evaluate the results quickly. If you need to retake it, you can.

Anyone is likely to produce some good pictures, if they take enough. A more experienced photographer will consistently produce more quality pictures. They will also be able to cope with difficult environments, they will be able to use the increased flexibility of professional equipment to overcome problems.

The equipment will be more robust, be protected from the elements, and have manufacturer support. All reasons professional equipment cost more. And why, if you value the occasion you should invest in a professional photographer.

For more of my work, go to my Facebook page.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Studio session. Part One.

The next challenge was working in a studio. Up until then I had used speedlights. Mounted on tripods, with wireless triggers. As I mentioned before, they have limitations.

The training course had supplied studio lighting. I wanted to use them again. So now I looked to hire a studio and model. More pressure and complexity, but I knew it was the way to go.

I didn't want just a plain white background studio, I was looking for a studio with some character and variety of sets.

I always get nervous before a shoot. But worrying about what to do with the lights made the next shoot a bit more of a test. The studio owner was great, always there when I had a question. And of course Nicky was very patient. And always ready with a suggestion when I got stuck.

For more of my work, go to my Facebook page.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Digital picture taken. Never to be viewed again.

When I started thinking about this post, it was originally going to be a piece lamenting a consequence of moving to digital.

Most pictures taken nowadays are maybe looked at once and are never viewed again. Lost forever on the computer hard drive or camera phone.

Searching for them on a computer, or smartphone meant trawling through the library or folders. This could prove difficult to do unless you catalogued or keyworded them.

Prints on the other hand can easily be passed around without having to crowd around a screen.

Because the film had to be printed it was more likely that the pictures would be framed and hung on the wall.

But hold on a minute, perhaps I'm wrong. Most prints from film were only looked at a few times, before being put in a draw.

Finding them later meant remembering which draw they were stored in. Was the envelope labeled - or is a major search and rescue on the cards?

Digital images can be quickly uploaded and viewed online via social media - or emailed to people. At home you can view them on your television and these days we all have huge screens.

Film made learning and experimenting expensive.

You had to send the film off, or take it to a shop. And wait.

I remember returned from holiday with some exposures unused. What to do? Send the roll to be developed anyway, wait for another occasion to get the camera out, or use up the last few pictures on anything?

If you did wait to use the film completely before getting it developed it was sometimes like a trip down memory lane. Such was the time between nearly using all of the film and finishing it.

Most people didn't routinely carry a film camera. The smartphone has meant less missed "kodak moments".

Going digital has led to more pictures being taken and then being shared more widely.

Being able to see the pictures instantly means I can learn from every shot.

So perhaps my initial thought - that prints were better than digital - was wrong. In fact, I would go further and say that digital offers many advantages over print.

The only disadvantage I can think of is that photography is maybe less valued. Both by the general public and the industry. That's an idea for another blog

But I still think we should print them occasionally, frame them, and hang them on a wall.

For more of my work, go to my Facebook page.