Wednesday 31 August 2016

Farm house shoot

Deciding to take advantage of the good August weather I organised a shoot with a model I hadn't work with before, but had wanted to. And what looked like an interesting location. A farm house in Essex.

In truth there wasn't the number of interesting buildings I had hoped for. But there was enough variety and Stephanie was great, very easy to get on with, and she knew the style of pictures I was after.

I planed a relaxed boho style shoot. Some of the pictures do have that, looking into the distance, or in deep thought look. But hopefully it's not over done and still natural looking. Why not leave a comment with your thoughts.

We started in the barn. It had overhead fluorescent lighting. But I don't think the different colour temp compared to the speedlight I used as a main light is apparent. I think it might had added a little more warmth to the background. The straw is an interesting material, I played around with the position of the light so I didn't get any hot spots, and the shadows were in the right place.

The lighting had to look natural, as if it was streaming in through the barn door. And pick up Stephanie's features. She has great cheekbones that I wanted to show.

The next location was the steps up to a treehouse. The area was in the shade. A good thing because the sun was still high in the sky with little cloud cover to diffuse it. We experimented with sitting and standing poses. I moved the light to see where it was at it's most natural looking.

Again I couldn't have asked for a better set of pictures. It just flowed with both of us chatting and making suggestions about posing and positioning.

Maybe we could have shot in the treehouse, but I didn't know how secure it was. And I would have needed a way to be at the same level, but some distance for it. This would have needed more pre planning and preparation. Not really possible with a location so far from home. I normally like to visit a place first. Have a plan of the interesting areas.

The last area that yielded more great shots was the farmhouse's front door. It was shielded from direct sunlight, the red walls contrasted with Stephanie's clothing and the weather beaten door just finished the look off perfectly.

A very productive two hours. I came away with pictures I really like, more ideas about posing and lighting. And someone I hope to work with again.

I think also a style that can be seen through all my shoots. Please let me know what you think.

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

Saturday 20 August 2016


I read a lot about picture copyright on forums. It got me thinking. I shoot mostly for myself. Occasionally I am asked to provide some family portraits. And then last month a model asked me to provide new pictures for her. Xandria

But I didn't think about mentioning copyright. Should I? I collaborated with Xandria. As the photographer it is presumed I own the copyright to the pictures we produced. But she contributed as much as me, so should it be shared?
If she becomes famous, could I sell the pictures? I'm guessing they would have a value. What if she made money from them; should I expect a share?

Personally, I wouldn't sell the pictures, I wouldn't give them away either. And I would expect Xandria to consult me if she had any new plans. But I wouldn't become obsessed about it.

The forums I mentioned earlier, are mostly populated by amateurs like me. The difference between some of them and me is the amount of effort they put into worrying about copyright. What is the model they worked with going to do with the pictures, are they going to alter them? Some are incredibly obsessive.

If it was a paid shoot, the digital files weren't shared with them, but the model downloaded them and is using them for promotion. That is wrong. Maybe it would be worth taking further. I'm just not sure how far though.

Don't get me wrong. Copyright is very important. Some famous brands have used pictures taken from the internet for advertising. Getty are being sued for licensing and distributing pictures given by the photographer to the Library of Congress for public use. Why should a profit be made or money saved by using someone's work for free, or selling rights to work you don't own?

If you are paid to produce a photograph you should be able to control how it's used. And paid accordingly. For advertising and editorial work certainly. The company paying you has a need and an expectation that your work will help them. They can put a monetary value on it.

I'm not so sure if you are a wedding or portrait photographer that you should be overly concerned about how the pictures are used after you hand them over, either printed, on a USB stick or allowed download from a website. You were paid to produce personal pictures. How you would enforce any restrictions you may have put on their use? If it were me I would price the packages to ensure I could make a living. Am I wrong, nieve? Please feel free leave a comment.

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

Saturday 13 August 2016


Over the years I have tried to broaden my photography. I've posted the results on this blog.

I have shown you portraits, of models, family and friends. And the head shots I did for a company website. The candids taken during my cycling. And the motor sport shots, that started this photography journey.

There is still so much to experiment with. Landscape, animal and food are some I have either not tried or have just had a few attempts at.

Food is the subject of this post.

I use to work for a publisher of, amongst others, food magazines. I would help the photographers, make sure equipment was working, show them new pieces of kit or software etc.

I could see it wasn't as easy as you'd think it was, flicking through the magazines.

I have tried it myself. The first hurdle is styling. I can cook pretty well. But it is the presentation I struggle with. By the time I have finished cooking, I'm just too hungry to give much thought to how it looks.

Food photography is as much about presentation and styling as it is about the process of photographing the food.

You really have to think about what you are trying to say about the food, what you want to focus on, if it's for a magazine where the text will go.  And how the photograph will fit on the page or pages.

For me I just wanted to produce pictures that showed off my technical ability and my cooking.

The first part of the process, the question of how to light it, the angle I should shoot it from, the composition and eventually how to process the raw file to produce a pleasing result. Was perhaps the easiest part.

The styling was harder. How to present the food. If it wasn't interesting to me, why would anyone else be drawn to my food.

The results below were from some time ago, I need to find the time to cook and photograph.

My favourite food is from the Caribbean, which means I like cooking it, but it gets eaten quickly. More discipline needed.

I would very much welcome your comments.

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

Sunday 7 August 2016

Sports photography

I sat down to watch the men's road race at the Olympics yesterday. With near perfect timing when I switched on the television it has just started. I have been watching a lot of road race cycling lately. This is the first time I have watched so much of the Olympics.

The racing was close, with the action very fluid and changing regularly. I prefer one day racing, rather than the long tours like the Tour De France. Don't get me wrong I watched as much of the Tour de France as I could. But there were long periods of tactical riding. The commentators enthused about it. I didn't so much.

The best parts of the race were the two mountain circuits. Punishing climbs and very fast descents. These descents proved to be dangerous, especially the second circuit.

The majority of the race was filmed from motorbikes, a little helicopter footage and some static cameras.

The commentators made much of the dangers faced by the racers during the descents. A few crashes served as reminders about the risks. Thankfully the injuries were, I think, light. Only a collarbone and scapula were broken. Taking into account the speed and lack of run off I call this light. And lucky.
They reached speeds close to fifty miles per hour. And it got chaotic in places with the many team and official cars, the security and press motorbikes and of course the racers. How there aren't more collisions between all of these is testament to the skill, and concentration of everyone involved.

This got me thinking about how the coverage of these events is taken a bit for granted. I think only a few times was it mentioned that the media motorbikes were taking just as big risks. They had to follow the racers, not interfere with them and allow them space to race. All the time giving us quality coverage of the action.

It was easy to forget as I watched the racers fly down the twisting hills that to get these pictures a fully loaded motorbike with two people on it; the second one standing. Was following close behind.

It's not just cycle racing that is dangerous to cover. The photographer might be in a fast moving helicopter, car or boat. Perched at the top of a tall tower or swaying cherry picker. They might be standing a little closer to the action than is completely safe. Or at the very least sitting in the burning sun, wind, rain and snow for hours on end.

So the next time you are watching a sporting event on television, spare a thought for how the picture got to you.



The women's race was marred by the crash of Annemie van Vleuten. She was in intensive care for a while. Concussion and broken bones in her lower back were the injuries. At first it did look like it could have been much worse.

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